A tranquil calm pervades this serene and elegant family home in a fashionable part of East London. The decorations are up, fires are lit and the mulled wine is bubbling on the stove. The scene is set, then delightfully disrupted when two little boys tumble joyously into the living room and a proper family Christmas begins. ‘This year will be a smaller affair as we’ll have a newborn,’ says Emma Grant, who was days away from giving birth to her youngest at our photo shoot. ‘But it’s sure to be action-packed knowing them, full of cars, tractors, helicopters and anything transport-related buzzing around!’
But while this is a modern home for a young family, it won't be filled with color for Christmas. Instead, Emma has focussed on a Scandi palette and gone with it abundantly, creating a space that feels both minimalist yet warm. I'm a sucker for a neutral.... probably beige and white together,' Emma says. 'It may sound boring but I love it.'
And this is how to make that color combo feel like festive Christmas decorating.
The truth about gold is that really, it's beige with added sparkle. Which means that if you're committed to the Scandinavian design palette of neutrals then it's the perfect accent metallic to decorate with.
And when it came to her Christmas living room decor, Emma used gold to her advantage. Her furniture was all white - including a travertine coffee table which, Emma says, 'I fall in love with it again everyday when I sit here in the mornings to catch up on work emails or have meetings.' and so burnished gold was the ideal neutral to pair with it.
‘All the original fireplaces had been stripped out, but we found a great local source of period pieces that we used as substitutes. They certainly add character,’ Emma says.
52 Pack of gold and white Christmas ornaments, Amazon (opens in new tab)
The ideal starter set of tree decorations for a Scandi Christmas look, this pack features a mix of gold and white. The finial-shapes of some of the drop baubles is particularly enchanting.
'This space is the hub of our home, where we sit as a family for every meal,' Emma says of her dining room. 'There is a long window seat and it’s amazing how many people we can squeeze in for dinner or drinks!’
The space carries on the minimalist color scheme as seen in the living room, and is again enriched with gold tones for Christmas. The trick to a Scandinavian Christmas decor is to not overcrowd the space - here, a single star hangs a the window, large enough to create a feeling of cheer but not big enough it doesn't leave a lot of room.
The joy of using a minimalist color scheme is that even when you do add more ornaments in than normal for the holidays it still feels relatively calm. On the bookshelves in the corners of the dining room Emma focussed on white candles which only add to the general sense of twinkliness, rather than seeming cluttered.
‘Originally this space was planned as the dining area but now it provides a little oasis of calm before you reach the kitchen where all family life unfurls,’ Emma says. In fact, it's a reminder that even home office areas can be dressed a little for Christmas, making those days before the holidays feel slightly more joyful.
‘We wanted to create a space that is a bit surprising with a mix of vintage and modern, and a fusion of materials,’ Emma says of her modern kitchen. By keeping to a general palette of white, the result is no less calming than anywhere else in the house, but lifted by the blend of whitewashed oak floor next to marble counters.
For Christmas, the garland in the center of the family table is an easy addition and a reminder that a little festive sparkle can truly go a long way.
A legendary houses editor, Mary Weaver held the job of Homes Editor on Livingetc for over a decade. She set the aesthetic for which the brand has become known. She is now a freelance stylist, art director and writer, regularly contributing to Livingetc and overseeing the brand's successful House Tours franchises of live and webinar events.
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