Keeping it Vintage

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Less rock, more glam,” Pearl Lowe says of her current approach to Christmas. “Definitely tasteful glam, though. I love dark colours and bold florals, so I painted the living-room walls navy and the floors black, but the kids were scared to go in. In the end, I went back to basics and chose Pointing, a soft white by Farrow & Ball, which has changed how I decorate for Christmas. In a dark room, bold colours are fabulous, but in a pale space they can be garish, which is why I’ve gone for a prettier look.”

It’s nine years since the singer-turned-fashion and textile designer ditched her rock’n’roll lifestyle and relocated from Camden, setting up home with her husband, the Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey, and their children, Alfie, 17, Frankie, 14, and Betty, 8, in deepest Somerset. “I grew up in the city, but always craved the countryside, so it’s great that my kids get to live here.” Their part-Tudor, part-Georgian rectory is also home to two dogs and six wriggling puppies. “They’re cavachons — half cavalier king charles spaniel, half bichon frise — all named after famous TV chefs. We’ve got Nigella, Mary, Delia, Gordon and Keith, and there was Heston, too, but he was so tiny, his name was changed to Little Chef.”

Above left: The fresh way to do a Christmas table: simple posies in jars and vintage-style glassware take centre stage. Flowers and jars, £8 each; brambleandwild.com. Votives, £10 each, by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture; houseoffraser.co.uk. Alba wineglasses, champagne flutes and tumblers, £28 for six, and Nadia candelabra, £49; brissi.com. Crackers, £35 for six; daylesford.com. Lace runner, Pearl Lowe’s own. Heart wreaths, £19.50 each; marksandspencer.com. Above right: Sprayed faux-fir garlands, grouped candles and vintage patchwork stockings give a traditional vibe. With Madeline jars, from £30 each, and Prague candle holders, £12 each; brissi.com. Large candle, £185; annickgoutal.com. Garlands, £29.50 each;marksandspencer.com. Wreath, £35, and baubles, £3.50 each; johnlewis.com. Stockings, Pearl Lowe’s own

At Christmas, Lowe’s interiors become a treasure trove of all things twinkly, including a chic white tree hung with pink vintage-style decorations that she and her daughter Daisy, 24, who now lives in London, splashed out on when Betty was born. Candles flicker from every corner. “They really are my Christmas must-have,” she says. “The great thing is that they don’t have to be posh ones. Just pile them up everywhere — on the mantelpiece and in the hearth, on the dining table. Candles are brilliant when you mix them up with lots of glass, and that doesn’t have to be expensive. Charity shops are full of second-hand crystal, or use mirrored votives or even jam jars as vases. And remember, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t all match.”

Lowe is also a fan of really good artificial foliage (“We weave garlands up the stairs and drape one over the mantel — it lasts for the whole Christmas period”) and of dried oranges, cloves and cinnamon sticks, which she stashes around the house to create a Christmassy smell. Presents are homemade or bought from local shops. “Daisy, in particular, is hard to buy for, as she has everything she wants, so vintage is ideal for her,” she says. “And I’ve always wrapped gifts with brown paper, which I tie with lace or string, and decorate with dried flowers. It’s cheap, easy and really effective.”

The Goffey-Lowe Christmas feast is a traditional affair, with turkey, mulled wine and “lots of really stinky cheese”. But it’s post-lunch that things get competitive. “Obviously there’s a big music theme in our house, so we have our own unplugged sessions. Everyone has to sing — preferably a song of their own — or play the guitar. Alfie plays every instrument under the sun, and Danny’s brother has a ukulele. That’s when the competition really heats up. So I guess, in a way, we’re still a little bit rock’n’roll after all.”

Above left: serving festive food on glass stands and silver plates is tasteful, not twee. Glass domes, £12 each; marksandspencer.com. Cake stands, £19 each, and silver butter dish, £49; brissi.com. Christmas pudding, cheddar and stollen, from £7;daylesford.com. Silver hearts on leather, £26 each, by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture. Above right: pale pink ribbons and florals are a welcome change from classic Christmas colours. Gold Lace plates, from £22.50 each, by Vera Wang for Wedgwood. Napkins, £11 each, corsage, £16 each, and cutlery, £29 for a set, by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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