A WHITE Christmas
Using a pale colour scheme and antique fair nds, Clare Teed has turned a 19th-century Cornish farmhouse into a peaceful retreat that, at Christmas, has added sparkle
For Clare Teed and her family, Christmas Day in their Cornish holiday home is a traditional a !air, following a much-loved routine that begins with stockings and ends with watching a "lm or playing a game. ‘ We love it. The "res make it all so cosy, and the house accommodates lots of family without feeling we are on top of each other.’ It’s a far cry from their "rst Christmas in the house, when they camped out in draughty rooms and cooked lunch on an ancient Aga that kept going out. It was 2007, and Clare and her husband David had just bought the Grade II-listed former farmhouse in a village on the north Cornwall coast. ‘ We didn’t even look at any other properties. We loved the house and its layout, the generous size of the rooms and the fact that it’s in the heart of the village yet feels secluded,’ says Clare.
The fact it’s a holiday home meant Clare felt she had much more freedom when decorating. With a backdrop of so#, light colours, she has cleverly combined antique and modern pieces, all of them quite minimal in form and many of them elegantly functional. ‘I really didn’t want to be precious,’ says Clare. ‘ If you keep colours simple
you can bring beautiful textures in, and it means that mixing old and new can really work.’ To keep costs down, she hunted for furniture at Sunbury and Ardingly antiques fairs. ‘ I’ve always enjoyed creating unique interiors, and using antique and vintage furnishings that aren’t available on the high street makes this so much easier. Rather than choosing a particular period, I have always been drawn to more rustic and utilitarian pieces. I love the idea that things have been used before, and I prefer the eclectic look to everything matching.’
Clare added other ! nds from salvage yards and sales, as well as ex- display pieces and old French linens, washed and tumble- dried ‘so they’re nice and "oppy, and won’t shrink when I wash them again’. These she had made into slip covers, curtains and cushion covers. There are touches of colour around, but on the whole the effect is one of pared- down simplicity and understated comfort. ‘I like white and think that di #erent tones of it look so interesting together. My father was a cabinetmaker so I’ve always loved wood – the mix of calm and pale pieces with wooden "oors is so appealing.’
At Christmas, Clare puts together a careful choice of decorations that she has collected over the years, with the occasional twinkle of fairy lights and some sculptural "ower arrangements. The theme is simple and natural,
with lots of greenery from the garden, willow and moss, supplemented by candles that provide a gentle glow in almost every room. ‘ The front door wreath is always homemade, and every year I try and get a couple of vintage things from a shop called A ic in Hampton Hill,’ says Clare.
This down-to- earth a itude is evident throughout, where the thoughtful renovation has resulted in a calm and beautiful home. ‘I wanted somewhere that could cope with lots of guests, with sand from the beach, with wet, wintry days, as well as sunny summer days,’ says Clare. ‘A holiday home has to be a place to refresh and recharge all year round. In winter we can go for long walks in the fresh air and then come back to warm rooms and sofas we can sink into. Being here makes Christmas really special. It’s a wonderful place and we love it.’
THIS PAGE FROM TOP Festive decorations and brass add colour to Clare’s predominantly white display; she designed the wood kitchen with limestone surfaces and had it built by local furniture makers. LEFT The pendants are Eastern European factory lights. The dresser is from Sunbury Antiques Market.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Clare uses pale colours as a backdrop to highlight textures and patterns. She made the cushions from antique lace and an old blanket. The wall light is from Hector Finch; Clare lays the table in the open-plan dining area; a chic, slate-tiled en suite bathroom.