At Home Beautiful we love the festive spirit so we sat down with five of our favourite interior designers, stylists and experts to watch as they deck the halls with a wide range of decorations. Stylist Alexandra Brownlow shares how she mixes organic elements with dashes of pink and green for a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Stylist Alexandra Brownlow from Brownlow Interior Design is known for her unique approach to design and decorating, mixing elements from a variety of periods and styles in a way that’s effortless. Her own home is no exception, and this relaxed approach extends to Christmas decorating. The look changes every year, but Alexandra first picks a colour theme and goes from there. This year, a priority for Alexandra is being mindful about not adding to landfill and she’s opted for painted pine cones on her natural pine tree, with presents wrapped in green paper and pink ribbon.
We spoke to Alexandra about her decorating philosophy, signature gift-wrapping style and go-to Secret Santa gift.
How do you like to decorate your Christmas tree?
“I always begin with a colour theme and keep the look restrained. This year, I used a natural pine tree decorated with pine cones collected from our grazing property in East Gippsland. I chose fluoro pink which is a nod to artist Joan Ross, who uses fluoro yellow paint to raise awareness of environmental and political issues through her art practice. The shocking pink colour makes you stop and realise the go-to tinsel and bauble look is actually so harmful for our planet, adding to landfill and filling our oceans with microplastics.”
Is your Christmas celebration formal or no-fuss?
“Usually we are at the seaside, so we aim for relaxed and effortless but, as you can imagine, that plan can often go awry. Running out of gas for the barbecue, one ingredient is missing, prawns in a back fridge which has been turned off, or we leave the roast potatoes in the oven and forget them altogether.”
What’s on the Christmas menu?
“Sydney rock oysters with local Gippsland Lakes prawns with homemade cocktail sauce, a lovely old-fashioned treat, followed by Barb’s famous glazed ham and traditional Christmas pudding with brandy butter, or hard sauce as we like to call it.”
Your signature Christmas gift-wrap style?
“Years ago, I learnt a fab wrapping technique while working with Ross Madden. Part origami, you only need a piece of double-sided tape and the gift appears to be secured by a ribbon, re-usable of course!”
“Natural decorations win every time.”Alexandra
What is your go-to for a Secret Santa gift?
“I love to give small decorative bowls or plates, so useful for party snacks like nuts and olives. I have a huge collection of plates, I get them out regularly and they create a great mini tablescape for spontaneous gatherings.”