A wonderfully comforting Christmas interior that speaks of a simpler time on the Devonshire coast
Internationally renowned interior designer Katharine Pooley will be celebrating this Christmas in her cottage The Weatherstone House located on the windswept Devonshire coast. For Katharine, December by the sea means bracing beach walks, fortifying dips in the sea, tobogganing on the dunes, a hot bath by candlelight, cosy chats by the fire and a charming, informal and thoughtful Christmas lunch with the family.
For this Christmas, Katharine has created a wonderfully comforting Christmas interior that speaks of a simpler life. The cottage is beautifully decorated and full of candles, natural garlands of ivy, pine and festive greenery from the grounds of her home in Oxfordshire, children’s toys and stones and shells from the surrounding beaches.
It is both relaxing and stylishly simple. Luxurious and original elements abound reflecting Katharine’s renowned design sensibilities with a pervading sense of peace and comfort as the main objectives.
The cottage’s entrance is framed with an archway of seasonal foliage, while the deep blue front door is festooned with a simple loose wreath. Boots line the hall ready for a dog walk; mistletoe hangs in readiness upon heavy winter coats and foliage falls from each wall light.
In the living room, the light blue interior is warmed by a candlelit mantelpiece, roaring fire, and softly twinkling lights upon the Christmas tree. Early white daffodils add their fresh blooms and delicate scent to the coffee table. Paper chains from The Shop Floor Project, plates of gingerbread men and presents wrapped in beautiful marble papers from Payhembury Marbled Papers tied together with velvet ribbons add whimsical and charming detail.
Decorating the tree is a joy to be shared with Katharine’s two sons. Baubles new and old combine with the soft patina of natural starfish, a recurring theme in the decorations throughout, while marbled orbs from Cox and Cox are a standout feature.
As Christmas lunch by the sea is an intimate and informal occasion, the dining table is strewn with foliage, oranges, and handmade tapered candles set in Katharine’s antique brass candlesticks. Details include handmade brown paper crackers tied with raffia and linen & velvet ribbons while wicker placemats from ‘William Yeoward’ sit below the elegant blue plates.
Linen napkins with a raw edge detail are perfectly partnered with the rough natural beauty of the Oyster shells Katharine uses to hold salt and pepper. Cockleshells collected by the boys are scattered across the ivory linen tablecloth. A final detail: Name places are marked with simple initials in ink on brown paper held in place on each napkin with a bright white starfish.
In the hallway, a quiet corner by the stairway is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and a mince pie! Armfuls of foliage follows the rising treads of the staircase above – this time studded with subtle white starfish and clusters of pinecones. “My favourite detail is the glass lamp base and shade from ‘Fermoie’ with its delicate gathered shade,” says Katharine.
Katharine has worked foliage between the rails of the bunk beds to create a magical Christmas grotto effect. Details include the boys Steiff Bears with tartan and velvet ribbons, fun hand block printed cotton quilts from ‘Wicklewood’, Soldier Cushions from ‘Chelsea Textiles’, and most importantly the boys’ unusual hand knitted stockings which await Father Christmas’s arrival.
A miniature tree on the windowsill is decorated with tiny Victorian glass miniature baubles from Katharine’s collection and is surrounded by small presents with contrast velvet ribbons. Toy soldiers add to the fun while paper stars hang prettily above.
Finally, the master bathroom is designed to become a calming retreat and place of recovery after freezing cold swims in the sea. A loose arrangement of branches and leaves hangs above the blue roll cast iron bath, the timber stool to one side perfectly positioned for reading a good book by candlelight.
The Weatherstone House is available to rent at weatherstonehouse.co.uk.