Never before have I been so prepared for Christmas so early!

Cards were sent last week, presents are bought and wrapped and the house is decorated for the festivities. There’s nothing quite like a deadline to focus the mind. So when the lovely people over at Direct Blinds asked me to write a post for their blog about how my own home looks at Christmas how could I say no?

It was a challenge too. The first Christmas in our new home needed a slightly different look. Some old favorites came out of the box in the garage but some new purchases were required too.

But you will have to pop over to the Direct Blinds blog to see more photographs and read the details.

See you there!

Christmas at Home with Dear Designer's Blog


Artificial Vancouver spruce from Balsam Hill UK.

A White Christmas

December 18th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Christmas - (1 Comments)

We’re all dreaming of one aren’t we? A white Christmas that is. Now that I’m living in the country it has a whole new meaning. No more wet, slushy pavements. Now it will be rolling hillsides clad in a blanket of hushed silence. Picturesque cottages that have donned a new hat, and long forest walks with each crunchy step revealing another photoshot.

I’ve turned into a romantic.

The other thing that gets me going is the thought of that perfect Georgian house, painted completely white, and decorated with everything from The White Company.


Glitter Stripe Bauble – £8 Glitter Stripe Bauble Small (Set of 3) – £12 Glass Spiral Bauble- £8 Glitter Onion Decoration – £8 Glitter Heart Decoration – £5 White Matt Bauble – £6 Porcelain Decorations s/6 – £12 Porcelain Bell Decoration – £6 Hanging Paper House s/3- £ 15 Concertina Balls s/3- £15 Beaded Star – £5 Porcelain Bird Dec – £6 Large Mercury Bauble – £10 Mini Geometric Mercury Decorations (pack of 6) – £12 Pinecone Bauble Fairy Lights – £35.


Madison Arched Mirror – £195 Henry Dean Candle Holders – Small (80) Large (180) Portofino Glass Candle – £30 Henry Dean Bowl – £225 Frosted Pinecone and Fir Garland – £70 Kubu Planter £25 Nesting Baskets Set of 2 – £80 Snowflake Paper Decorations Set of 3 – £12 Silver Concertina Balls Set of 3 – £15.


Stoneware Rectangular Platter – £20 Small Stoneware Storage Jar – £25 Stoneware Mug – £10 Stoneware Heart Oven Dish -£40 Stoneware Cake Plate – £35 Stoneware Heart Oven Dish (Small) – £20 Fine Stoneware Dinner Plate – £12 Artisan Stoneware Dinner Plate – £12 Hanging Paper House (Set of 3) – £15 Heart Plate Small – £8 Pasta Bowls – £15 Stoneware Teapot – £45 Mini Faux English Pine Tree – £25.


Champagne Trug – £150 Linen Napkin with Silver Cord Set of 4 – £40 Art Deco Mirrored Charger – £35 Stanton 16 piece cutlery set – £95 Wine Glass (Set of 2) – £30 Glitter Scatter Stars – £10 Artisan Stoneware Cereal Bowl – £10 Artisan Stoneware Dinner Plate – £12 Mercury Placecard Holder set of 6 – £20 Luxury Christmas Crackers Set of 6 – £35.

Dream on.

I’ve always been a big fan of Deborah Bowness wallpapers. In fact when I looked back into my archives there are no fewer than three posts there showing wonderful diversity of design.

I do think however that to do the creations justice you really do need high ceilings, or at the very least large expanses of unadorned walls. Like great art, they need room to breath. Sadly, neither of these requirements exist in my modest sized townhouse. So I thought that was it. I’ll follow from afar, admire at trade shows, file in my ‘one day’ file.

But no. Deborah Bowness designs now come in miniature form. No less beautiful. Just as atmospheric.

Deborah Bowness Miniatures [2]

These beautiful prints are exact replicas of the Artists Collection of wallpapers and are one fifth of the size at 12 cms x 60 cms. They combine machine printing with hand silk screen printing and are mounted on greyboard ready to prop or hang on the wall. At £29 they would make lovely gifts.

Deborah Bowness Miniatures [1]

Deborah Bowness Miniatures [4]

Deborah Bowness Miniatures [3]

The special edition ‘Tree for Life’ miniature is £39.

Deborah Bowness Miniatures [5]

You might also like:

Paper Swags by Deborah Bowness

The Standards Collection by Deborah Bowness

New Wallpapers by Deborah Bowness


A Toasty Christmas

December 15th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Christmas - (1 Comments)

I had a sneaky peek at the Toast Christmas look-book at the weekend and was immediately drawn into the intense moody feel.

Inky hues, casual comfy clothes, the glow of real flames and a real homely feel. Like being holed up for the holidays in a remote highland cottage with nothing to do but lounge around drinking hot toddies and taking country walks.

Wouldn’t it be bliss?

Toast Christmas Lookbook 2014 [2]

Toast Christmas Lookbook 2014 [3]

Toast Christmas Lookbook 2014 [1]

Toast Christmas Lookbook 2014 [4]

Maybe next year?

Christmas Gift Guide from Next Home

December 11th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Christmas - (0 Comments)

More of a wish list than a gift list.

From Next Home, one of my favourite stores.

Christmas Gift Ideas from Next Home

1. Set of 3 Buddha tealight holders, £18.

2. Black metalwork lantern, £15.

3. Mercury effect candlestick, £14.

4. Set of 2 capped foil floral canvases (only one shown), £120.

5. Set of 4 etched pattern frames, £38.

6. Charcoal and jute striped knitted pod, £70-£110.

7. Copper mirror shelf, £55.

8. Malmo table lamp, £40.


I’ve written about Maryam Montague before here, and also her beautiful home and luxury guest house, Peacock Pavilions here. Fellow bloggers will know her as the author of the award winning blog My Marrakesh. What many people do not know about Maryam however is that when she started her blog she was running a prisoner rights programme as her ‘day’ job. She was travelling on assignments to Mali, Egypt, South Africa, Cambodia and Afghanistan; helping people, organizations, and movements because she believed in it.  Her father also had been an international humanitarian aid worker and she had followed in his footsteps.


The readers of her blog were mostly unaware of this. All they saw was the other part of Maryam that loved design, culture and hospitality.  There was her hotel Peacock Pavilions, there was her souk shop, there was her design book Marrakesh by Design. Had they known they would probably have thought ‘does this woman ever sleep?’


Well, no she doesn’t. Much. I’ve gotten to know Maryam and now count her as one of my oldest blog friends. She was the first to ever comment on this blog (which was a big,big thing for me!), I’ve stayed with her and had a wonderful time in Marrakesh, and caught up with her again in London last year. And I wasn’t in the least bit surprised when she launched Project Soar two years ago. A social experiment in doing good that invests its energy in underprivileged girls.  Girls whose futures aren’t all that bright and would very likely involve becoming girl brides. They work with nearly 60 underprivileged girls and their mothers.  They provide creative and sports activities weekly as well as health education.  They also do work in the community where they live to make it a nicer place to be.


But Maryam is still the most stylish woman I know with an unerring eye for sourcing handmade ethnic goods, thoughtfully curated from tribal communities around the world .  Everything pictured here is available from her online shop. And everything would make a beautiful and unusual Christmas gift.



You can buy me any one of them.

This holiday season, Maryam will be providing an increased donation to Project Soar from every product sold: $5 from bowls, $10 from hooks, $20 from cushions & $30 from blankets.

Lovers of Monsoon are going to love this recent collaboration with Multiyork.

15 iconic patterns in 71 colourways from Monsoon’s archive prints have been handpicked and re-worked to translate beautifully as upholstery on Multiyork’s extensive range of sofas, chairs, footstools and cushions.

These are some of my favourites.

Monsoon Home Collection by Multiyork - Image B

(left) Venice Chair in Calista Pale Pink, H84 x W77 x D89, £829. (right)Greenwich Chair in Sherwood Cardinal, H89 x W82 x D94cm, £739 with 20” Bolster Cushion in Alcindo Abstract Blue ,£39.

Monsoon Home Collection by Multiyork - Image L

Atlas Medium Sofa in Chiante Blush, H88 x W170 x D97, £1,359; Universal Large Rectangular Footstool in Calista Cardinal,
H40 x W97 x D51cm, £299.

Monsoon Home Collection by Multiyork - Image A

Greenwich Chair in Sherwood Denim, H89 x W82 x D94cm, £739
with 19” Scatter Cushion in Calista Blue/Multi, £59.

Monsoon Home Collection by Multiyork - Image F

From Top to Bottom:
19” Scatter Cushion in Calista Cardinal, £59 19” Scatter Cushion in Calista Pale Pink, £59 19” Scatter Cushion in Calista Pale Pink, £59.

If you are really stuck for a gift idea for someone special, why not consider a personalised print? I’ve bought them in the past for anniversaries or milestone birthdays and they are always appreciated. It shows that you have put some thought into it I think, typography prints are always popular and they can be quite humorous too, which always goes down well.

This one was a gift to me from Oakdene Designs and I love it!

Destination Sign Canvas from Oakdene Designs [1]

When I was asked what I’d like to go on it, I knew immediately. I now have a constant reminder of just some of the countries I have visited ‘solo’ and it’s going to make me smile every time I look at it.

Destination Sign Canvas from Oakdene Designs [2]

The strong white on black print, reminiscent of bus signs, will also make a great style statement and I can guarantee it’s not going to go unnoticed. So yes I know you can’t catch a bus to Venezuela but I don’t care.

Oakdene Designs

Just a few more offerings from Oakdene Designs.

The super festive December issue of Heart Home mag is out now my lovelies!

Heart Home magazine December 2014

And it’s packed full of inspiration for decorating the house, buying gifts, wrapping, and of course baking. In fact, everything you need to get you organised for Christmas.

Heart Home mag - December 2014 - Christmas decorating

Our decorating feature takes it’s inspiration from Scandinavia but with a little bit of an edge. It’s pared back, simple, super easy to achieve at home and we absolutely love it.

Styled by Caroline Davis and photographed by James Balston.

Heart Home mag - December 2014 - Home tour

Our home tour this month is the very cool house of talented blogger Helen Powell of the Design Hunter blog.

Photographed by Oliver Gordon.

Heart Home mag - December 2014 - Recipe

And of course we have a mouthwatering recipe, pages and pages of shopping ideas, plus our usual features.


Heart Home magazine.

And today it is Christmas gift ideas for the glamour puss.

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Glamour Puss

Where to buy: 1. Broadway Star Wall Light, £125, Graham and Green 2. Sparkling Champagne Fragrance Diffuser, £22, Debenhams 3. Diva Washing Up Sponge, £5.99, Rockett St George 4. Framed Audrey Hepburn Image, £45, Next 5. Peacock Chair, £750, Graham and Green 6. Red Shoes Print, £10, Bloomsbury 7. Little Lip Hip Flask, £9.99, Rockett St George 8. Maisie Tray, £69, An Angel at my Table

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