Gold is a Neutral goes glam rock for Christmas with Amara
It's happening...Christmas is a coming and I'm not ashamed to admit that I am ready to welcome the festivities with open arms. And I am not talking about the bit where I venture onto Oxford Street with two small children at peak Christmas hysteria to go and pick up some posh handwash, a cashmere jumper and a pair of sheepskin slippers. When will I learn? Probably never.
For me, that's not the essence of Christmas anyway. No, perhaps predictably, Christmas begins at home, and it doesn't really start until the decorations go up in our house. And this year Christmas came especially early to the Gold is a Neutral house thanks to luxury interiors brand Amara. Local trick or treaters have definitely logged us as the weird house with the orange door after peeking through the shutters on Halloween night only to be greeted by a twinkling Christmas tree and bauble scattered mantelpiece, rather than the expected skeletons and sugar skull garlands.
Newly acquired Christmas obsessed weirdo status aside, I was super excited when Amara invited me to be a part of their Christmas styling campaign alongside Emily from The Pink House, the 2 Lovely Gays Russell and Jordan and Victoria from Apartment Number 4. This year Amara has four collections showcasing four different Christmas home styles. They asked me to style Midnight Jewel which is all about shimmering metallics, oil slick effects, sparkling sequins, preening peacock feathers and rich indulgent jewel tones. A good fit? Have you seen my living room? This was the perfect match and I couldn't wait to get cracking.
So if you're ready, come in and take a look at what I've done with the place...
This peacock feather wreath is one of my favourite pieces and I thought it was only right that I show it off in all it's peacocking glory against my front door, newly painted in Farrow & Ball's Charlotte's Locks.
And what better way to ring in the festive season and get the party started at Christmas and New Year than greet your guests with this doormat, which I feel was made for me. But what are you loitering on my doorstep for? Come inside....
As soon as I saw the Midnight Jewel collection I knew exactly how I wanted to style it all. Sure, I wanted it to be all gorgeous and sultry and luxurious, but I also wanted to throw in a touch of rock 'n' roll as well. I like to think Santa will be a very happy chappy when he tumbles down this chimney and is greeted by an ice cold bottle of Moet, ready to be sipped from these crystal Waterford Champagne Flutes rather than the usual stale mince pies and warm milk. I know which I'd rather have!
When it comes to Christmas styling, one of the areas I really like to show some festive love is the fireplace. It's the place where the whole family usually gathers around at Christmas, and it's the perfect opportunity to give your room a real wow factor.
The ivy, myrtle and bay was foraged from my parents' and friends' gardens and I layered it up across the mantelpiece. Then I laid two of the glittery hanging stems facing in opposite directions and let them fall down either side so they look like glistening icicles. Or so I like to think anyway.
Next, I nestled some of the beautiful bejewelled baubles in amongst the foliage. These gold bead encrusted baubles are next level in terms of detail and deserve to be shown off in their own right.
Candles, tealights and fairylights are an absolutely essential element of creating a festive scene. I added some hurricane lamps to the hearth, and nestled fairylights in amongst some logs for extra twinkle as I don't have a working fire. The beautifully simple Tom Dixon candlestick added height and asymmetry to the mantel display, as I don't like things to be too matchy matchy. This candlestick, which is part of the same collection as the Stone pendant lights that hang on either side of our bed, can also be turned on its head and stood with the marble base at the bottom, which is rather clever. It's on my Christmas list.
I'll be honest, there is nothing about the sexy little scene above that I don't love. The plush Normann Copenhagen lounge chair, with the bronze Notre Monde side table, the glistening brass Skultana ice bucket and the A by Amara iridescent oil slick nut bowl combo is pure indulgence. I like beautiful things and I fell pretty hard for every one of these pieces. It's also a metallic mash-up and that's what gives it that rock 'n' roll edge.
With the dark and moody festive fireplace finished, it was time to tackle what most people think of as the main event, the Christmas tree. When it comes to tree decorating, I'm most definitely in the go hard or go home camp. As exhibited here...
It's not for the faint hearted but I love the gloriously over the top collision of my Jonathan Adler gold Drip wallpaper with Amara's gorgeously glamorous decorations. And if you can't go over the top at Christmas, when can you?
I always struggle to find tree toppers that I actually like because I'm not really a fan of the standard fairy. But this Georg Jenson Star Tree Topper is a real winner. It's beautifully made and something I can imagine being passed down through the family for years to come.
Now, I have to admit that since owning our own house, we have never had a real tree. Yes, they smell nice, and nature is wonderful and all that. But the inevitable battle between me, my hoover and the forever dropping pine needles would spoil any potential enjoyment I might get from a real tree for me. So it's artificial all the way in our household. This one from Amara was extra thick and fluffy, which is just what you need. No one wants to see sad and scraggly tree branches, whether real or fake.
I used two of these Glitter leaf garlands to weave around the tree to give it extra texture and ramp up the glamour. And below is the purple version of that bejewelled Faberge style egg. I really believe more is more when it comes to your tree. No matter what your style or colour scheme, make sure you use lots of decorations and don't leave big gaps.
FYI I will add a full list of all the baubles, decorations and furniture I used, with links, at the end of this piece.
And I couldn't move on to the next section of the big Christmas reveal without making a nod to this handsome fella. Doesn't he look noble up there on my Basalt walls overseeing the Christmas craziness around him?
Next up on my big Christmas reveal is the hallway. But not before raving about how hardworking this Gold Leaf Garland (seen above the door here) is as a decoration.
I love it draped around the door here to provide a link between the decorations in the hallway and the living room. I simply fixed it to the wall with strong decorators tape and then folded the leaves over the tape so you couldn't see it. The stem is sturdy but you can shape it to wherever you want it to fit. It would also work well around a mirror, or draped across a sideboard. The leaves are wired so can be spread out and folded out a little to give them more movement and stop them looking flat. This also comes as a wreath which I put at the bottom of the stairs to provide another point of interest whether you're at the front door, at the top of the stairs or entering from the living room/kitchen.
In the hallway I used another of the Gold Leaf Garlands to ramp up the ivy and flowers which I had swagged along the length of the staircase. Well, I say I...I was very grateful to have the help of my friend Joce to create this stunning stair swag. She's very clever but having said that, I promise you this is not a difficult look to achieve yourself with a bit of carefully applied floristry wire. Again, most of this was foraged from my mum and dad's garden with a few flowers popped in to lift it. I also wove another one of the Glitter Leaf Garlands in and out of the ivy around the front of the display for added glitz.
This, by the way, is the hallway and entrance that underwent a pretty dramatic makeover, especially for this shoot. I'm talking ripped up carpets, painted stairs/staircase, doors, walls...the lot. It's not finished so don't judge the floors just yet, but I'm delighted with it so far.
I hung a selection of the more dark and dramatic baubles along the length of the spindles. I like the contrast against the more romantic ivy and roses. This dark oil drop decoration really floats my boat, as does this peacock feather one, and this green sequin topped decoration which reminds me of the beautiful dress my friend wore to her 40th birthday extravaganza in Ibiza earlier this year...and that's never a bad thing.
That's it folks! What do you think? I have to say I absolutely loved getting stuck into this project and styling the uber glam Midnight Jewel collection up in my own way. It was a big deal for me to be selected alongside those other amazing bloggers and I really wanted to do a good job. I hope I've managed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments section if you get a minute.
I have to say a huge thank you to photographer Jane Looker who swooped in in my hour of need and captured my version of Christmas cheer in all its glory. It's all very well styling everything to perfection, but photographing a staircase festooned with ivy, fairylights and Christmas decorations in a dimly lit hallway is not a job for an amateur. So thank you Jane you absolute star! And to Joce for giving up your time and expertise to help me pimp up my staircase. Payment in houseplants coming your way ;-)
I've listed and linked out to all the products I was lucky enough to select for this shoot below.
Merry Christmas!!! J x
Peter Hurricane Lamp - sml and lrg