As Christmas approaches, Lucy Marsh loves to embellish her home in swathes of foraged foliage and rustic ornaments
Rustic decorations and foraged foliage adorn this Hampshire period property as the owners turn to the great outdoors for their Christmas decorations
Embracing the festive season comes easy to Lucy Marsh, so when December rolls around, she can be found adorning her family home with foraged foliage, twinkling lights and rustic decorations. ‘I like to use natural elements – pine cones, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks, which I display in storm lanterns,’ she says. ‘I also love wrapping candles in birch bark for a Nordic feel.’
Originally a parsonage, this enchanting property dates from the 1800s and includes decorative Arts and Crafts features. Now it is home to Lucy, her husband Jim, their two sons, Alfie, eight, Barney, seven, and their dog, Ember.
When the couple first viewed the property, they fell in love with it, despite its dilapidated condition. Ancient electrics and plumbing, rotten floors and a collapsed ceiling rendered it unsafe for them to move in. Luckily, they were able to rent locally during the renovation. ‘ We had just six months to complete the work, as we had a short rental contract,’ recalls Lucy. ‘To encourage my contractor to work faster, I’d bring him home-made brownies along with the paint schedules.’
The property’s Grade ll listing meant the couple had to ensure the renovation met with regulations. ‘It was only when I showed that I was able to push a pen through the rotten window frames, that the planners allowed me to replace them,’ says Lucy, who managed the renovation project herself. The new windows had to be hand made, using traditional methods and materials. ‘Luckily, being an interior designer, I have a network of trusted
FAVOURITE ROOM ‘I love the dining room as I feel this particular part of a house always benefits from having a bold colour or dramatic statement wallpaper’
craftsmen who were able to take on the work,’ says Lucy. Her team fitted new insulation, plumbing and electrics to meet with modern standards, while meticulously preserving the building’s original features.
When designing the room schemes, Lucy treated her family as she would a client, presenting them with sketches and sample boards. ‘I wanted it to be their house, not a showpiece for my work,’ she says.
Lucy used soft neutral shades on the walls, ceilings and woodwork to create a unified feel throughout the property. Her favourite wallpaper in the dining room, a homage to her husband’s love of Oriental design, is teamed with family heirlooms and silk curtains to create a sense of drama. ‘This is the perfect space for hosting our family lunch on Christmas Eve,’ she says. ‘I fill it with elegant glassware, chargers and storm lanterns filled with-mirrored decorations. I also bring in some festive fragrance using scented candles and oil diffusers.’
Upstairs, Lucy has added more visual interest with eye-catching wallpapers and textiles. ‘I love it when a door is open and you catch a glimpse of pattern,’ she says. The decor also reflects the house’s rural setting as it features wood and stone flooring softened by traditional floral-print textiles and whimsical wallpapers, which complement the property’s historical roots.
‘I find the house becomes enticingly magical at this time of year,’ says Lucy. ‘After such a huge renovation process, to be able to enjoy hosting a family Christmas here is especially wonderful.’
LESSON LEARNT ‘Spend your money wisely; most of our renovation budget was spent on fundamentals such as electrics, plumbing and flooring’
Dining Room ‘i dress the festive table with sprigs of holly, eucalyptus and silver-sprayed twigs,’ says Lucy. Herons wallpaper, £85 a roll, GP& J Baker. Belleville chandelier, £2,790, Vaughan. Union mirror, £507, Robert Langford. Curtains made in Lucerne silk, £55m, Colefax and Fowler
sitting Room ‘i love to hang glass baubles, beaded stars and knitted figures on the tree – all in a traditional palette of white, gold, silver and red,’ says Lucy. Signature footstool, from £1,940, George Smith. Runes mirror, £1,716, Porta Romana
Kitchen the neutral scheme lets the wood beams become a focal point. Bespoke units in Cashmir, price on request, Anthony Downes. Curved top stool in Charcoal, £195, Cox & Cox. Blind made in Tregony Indigo, £139m, GP& J Baker
exterior A pretty wreath on the door adds a rural touch and gives a festive welcome. Bespoke wreath, from a selection, Susie Babington
main Bedroom embroidered silks with floral and oriental prints bring a luxurious feel to this elegant, restful space. Narbonne wall light, £648, Vaughan. headboard in Keros, £60m, Sanderson. bedside tables, £750 each, Christopher Clark. bespoke throw in Persian garden, £166m, osborne & Little
en suite ‘i used a romantic wallpaper in the lobby outside to add character,’ says Lucy. oriental tree wallpaper, £98 a roll, gp& J baker. blind made in Sari silk, £86.40m, Pierre Frey
Barney’ s Bedroom The simple red, white and blue colour scheme creates a clean, classic look and can easily be updated as Barney gets older. Charterhouse bunk bed in Prussian blue, £799, Aspace. bi-plane wall shelf, £68; union Jack rug, £175, both great Little trading Company. Coloured bunting, from a selection, Notonthehighstreet. com. the birch tree pendant shade, £30, Lampshade Parade, has a similar look to this