Recently, on Remodelista, I wrote about Maria Le Mesurier’s minimalist home in West Sussex, UK. Despite a raucous family life with five kids ranging in age from 4 to 18, the designer and her furniture maker husband, Paul, have been able to create (and maintain) a calm, neutral-toned, palette-cleansing home. (See
A Design Couple’s Child-Friendly, Clutter-Free Home.) Their holiday decorations are similarly minimalist, naturalistic, and refreshing.
“Other than the Christmas trees and lights, I never ever buy decorations as I do not see the point, when I can find everything I need on the ground in the woods,” says Maria.
Below, Maria walks us through how she decorates every room of their home for the holiday season with foliage, most of it found (and free!) on her property.
Maria Le Mesurier. Front Door Above: Crabapple tree branches surround the festive front door. “They’re from the trees that were planted at the place where my older brother died, so they are very special to me. Crabapples are associated with love,” shares Maria. “I particularly like them in the winter time as the branches are covered with lichen.” Entryway Above: Greeting visitors is a floating and full garland of “my beloved Thuga,” says Maria. “Thuga is the tree of life and provides a time of healing.” Above: The family has two Christmas trees in the house. One that the children decorate, “packed with everything they love and I do not,” says Maria. “Multicolored lights, multicolored decorations, bright, busy lengths of tinsel.” The other one is for the adults: a Norwegian spruce, in the entryway, that Maria has dressed with a simple string of warm white lights. Living Room Above: “I absolutely promise you that it took me less than half an hour to create this Thuga arrangement on the mantelpiece, because the way it falls is naturally so beautiful. Each branch has a very definite way it wishes to fall, and I work with that. It looks effortless, because it really is.” Above: “These are huge silver birch branches that I have in the house a lot as they are beautiful when they dry (as here), and therefore last for months and months. They hold special qualities of new beginnings and protection,” says Maria. “I love living alongside nature not only for the beautiful way it looks, but importantly for its healing qualities.” Dining Room Above: A branch of silver birch hangs upside down from a corner of the dining room. The dining set is from WoodEdit, the furniture company Maria and her husband started a few years ago. Kitchen Above: Hanging in a bunch on the wall and placed in ceramic vessels on a wall shelf is “a type of eucalyptus that I found in the woods nearby. It smells delicious and also dries beautifully. In fact, it last for months. The leaves are very purifying for the home.” Bathroom Above: Tall branches of Scottish spruce lean against a wall in the bathroom. “I let it dry naturally and keep it inside until the needles begin to drop. It looks just as pretty when it’s dry.” Bedroom Above: “Keep it very, very simple. Do not overthink it. Nature is utterly beautiful, you do not need to fiddle around with it. It is perfect in its simplicity,” says Maria.
For more on natural holiday decorations, see: