Seeking out festive antiques inspiration in Surrey
- Credit: Archant
Every month, our expert Ali Heath, brings us all the latest – from the best fairs to where to bag a bargain or hunt out vintage gems
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2014
With Christmas nearly upon us, I’m sure that many of you, like me, will be searching out unique treasures, as gifts for family and friends or to use as decorations for your home.
Getting the house ready for Christmas has become a ritual that I start to think about from the end of October; gathering ideas and planning in my head how I will decorate each room.
I have a huge collection of decorations broken into colour themes that can be used in different rooms – everything from simple mercurised glass, natural wood and raffia to Nordic red and white pieces and highly colourful creations that the children adore.
Over recent years though, our home seems to have become more pared back in colour and, for me, this year will definitely be about creating a simple French inspired look.
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If you are inspired by a similar love of Continental interiors, I hope the ideas below will help you to create this look too.
1 Use mercurised baubles along with soft shades of white, cream, silver and grey. You can happily mix old and new and the soft patina of aged pieces will create a lovely nostalgic appeal.
2 Mercurised, silver or glass candle-sticks grouped together with other white or pewter candle-holders and ceramics will look magical once lit and create a very festive glow. Add a few sprigs of greenery into large tea lights (fir, eucalyptus or holly) and you will have an instant Christmas display.
3 Chandeliers have the magical ability to transform any room scheme, adding glamour and drama to the surroundings, and creating a bold focal point – especially when hung low. If you don’t have a chandelier already, create a special Christmas one using mercurised baubles and chandelier drops tied to a circular wire with an eclectic collection of velvet trims and silk ribbons. The chandelier pictured is by Guildford-based Sassy Hardwick and can be commissioned to order. For antique chandeliers, try Memories Antiques in Bramley.
4 Madonna figurines, rosaries, crosses and other religious motifs are all gaining in popularity in the antiques world. It is a look that whether overtly religious or not is certainly seeing an increased presence within many homes and magazines. The addition of a few well-selected pieces to a mantelpiece can add a simple nod to Christmas. Add some greenery and the look will be full of seasonal appeal.
5 Don’t be afraid to add in a few touches of wood and zinc throughout your home. Old apple crates make excellent display cases for contained Christmas collections. Also, old glass cake-stands can look great piled high with sparkling baubles.
6 Think laterally about what you use for Christmas displays. Often, pieces around your home will transform magically with the addition of candlelight and a few delicate festive ornaments. Silver trays, glass dishes, cheese bells, glass cloches and zinc-topped glass jars are all great holders for festive displays.
7 Monogrammed sheets and hemp sacks make fabulous tablecloths and Christmas sacks – yet their appeal also lasts all year round.
8 Don’t forget to fill your home with ample greenery, such as pine, eucalyptus and holly. The smell itself will evoke images of Christmas as friends enter your home and the simple rustic style will complement all of the above. Oxenford Farm in Elstead is a great source for all your Christmas tree and foliage needs, and a wonderful festive experience too with reindeer and farmyard animals in the courtyard of these historic buildings.
9 Lastly, don’t forget the exterior of your home too. Garden trugs, grey French dolly tubs and wire baskets, filled with outdoor greenery and mistletoe, will create additional display opportunities and add a festive touch to your garden space.
Enjoy seeking out unique items in our suggested antique shops, fairs and markets below and they will add a personal, nostalgic feel to your home. I hope you find inspiration preparing for this festive season and wish you all a very special Christmas. Ali x
• Farnham Maltings, Farnham: farnhammaltings.com • Haus Interiors, Haslemere: haus-interiors.co.uk
• Hill and Co Home, Grayshott: hillandcohome.co.uk
• Maltings Market in Farnham: farnhammaltings.com
• Memories Antiques, Bramley: memoriesantiques.co.uk
• Nest Home and Café, Ripley: nest-home.com
• Oxenford Farm, Elstead: oxenfordfarm.com
• Petersham Nurseries, Richmond: petershamnurseries.com
• Sassy Hardwick, Guildford: sassyhardwick.co.uk
• Sunbury Antiques Market, Sunbury: sunburyantiques.com
• The Antiques Warehouse, Runfold: theantiqueswarehouse.com
Ali Heath is the owner of Plum (see plumlifestyle.com / blog.plumlifestyle.com). To contact Ali about styling and writing commissions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org