Decking the halls... with care

When Malcolm and Vivienne Tuddenham prepare their beautiful period townhouse for Christmas, they choose their decorations with care, displaying items that set off the look of the property as a whole.

When Malcolm and Vivienne Tuddenham prepare their beautiful period townhouse for Christmas, they choose their decorations with care, displaying items that set off the look of the property as a whole.

The couple have been through their Norfolk home from top to bottom over the last 10 years, redecorating each room, using soft subtle colours that work well with the Georgian property.

“We are both very keen on Victorian and Georgian styles and furniture,” said Malcolm, who bought the house in 1979, when it was in need of complete restoration.

“The pieces we choose for the house and the colours reflect that.”


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Malcolm and Vivienne run Acle Interior Designs and also source antiques. Their rooms are traditional in style but are also fresh, light and understated.

The large sitting room, which would once have been two rooms, has now been decorated in shades of creamy gold.

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The furniture features gentle greens and reds - and as Vivienne points out, this all works beautifully at Christmas.

“It does look good,” she said. “The colours of the room blend well with the decorations.”

Vivienne is the one largely responsible for setting up and arranging the Christmas decorations in each room - and it is a task she enjoys greatly.

“I do like Christmas decorations to be subtle,” she said. “I'm not one for streamers and balloons!”

In the dining room, candles have been carefully positioned to set off particular corners of the room.

The mahogany table has been laid with Mason's Mandalay china, Edinburgh Crystal and Arthur Price Sheffield cutlery.

Vivienne has chosen to make a central dressing using one large candle, set into a ring and decorated with leaves and baubles.

Also in the room are silver angels, arranged on the mantelpiece, from Thursford.

Hanging outside the dining room is a tiny Christmas decoration made by Vivienne careful hand. This is a minute stump work angel created with delicate stitches and miniscule pieces of fabric.

The sitting room, with its focal fireplace, comes into its own during the winter months and in the run-up to Christmas.

At one end, the couple have placed their Christmas tree. On the top of it is a doll, chosen by Vivienne's daughter from her toy box 35 years ago to be transformed into an angel.

Once again, candles glow in alcoves and corners in the room, lighting up some of the couple's ornaments and creating a festive ambience.

Other decorations in the room include an entire Nativity scene, which was been knitted by Vivienne's mother, and a Father Christmas, beautifully embroidered by Vivienne herself.

The couple prefer not to clutter the room up with cards, choosing to display them elsewhere in the house instead.

“The last thing I always bring into the room is the holly,” said Vivienne.

“I don't like fresh flowers at Christmas - as I don't think they work well with the decorations and do each other justice.

“But I always like lots of fresh holly, which looks wonderful.”

t Malcolm and Vivienne stock a range of candles at Acle Interior Designs, for more information call (01493) 750131

t A large candle, adorned with Christmas leaves and baubles makes an effective central table dressing

t Candles have been positioned to light up corners of the rooms

t Vivienne chooses to use fresh holly rather than flowers at Christmas

t Many of the decorations are hand-stitched by Vivienne

t Furniture by Acle Interior Designs, for more information, see above

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