- EXCLUSIVE: Sophie Paterson, 33, is an interior designer to the stars and lives in Surrey with her young family
- She opened the doors to her Surrey mansion for FEMAIL to showcase her impressive decorations
- Sophie also shared her top tips for ensuring your home looks chic this December – even on a budget
- Somewhat surprisingly, all four of Sophie’s dazzling Christmas trees are artificial and came ready lit
She’s tasked with decorating the homes of the rich and famous so it’s little surprise that interior designer Sophie Paterson’s abode looks fabulously festive at Christmas time.
The 33-year-old opened the doors to her Surrey mansion exclusively for FEMAIL to showcase her envy-inducing decorations – and there’s not a scrap of tinsel in sight.
Sophie, who recently welcomed a baby daughter, reveals how she’s styled her open plan country-style kitchen, her luxurious dining room, and her husband’s gentleman’s club-inspired study in time for the holiday season.
The interior designer, whose home features no less than four dazzling Christmas trees, used Scottish-inspired decorations in homage to her husband and some very chic wreaths, and has shared her extensive decor tips so you can make your own home look as luxurious as hers – whatever your budget.
Perhaps her most surprising tip is opting for fake over real trees – all four of Sophie’s are artificial and pre-lit – to avoid needle drop and get a head-start on decorations – not to mention swerving any wasted time spent detangling last year’s knotted fairy lights.
Sophie Paterson, 33, from Surrey, pictured with baby Ava, has opened the doors to her mansion for FEMAIL and revealed how she makes her plush home look so chic at Christmas. Sophie has four trees in her house and says she likes to match the decorations and general theme to the interiors of the room (something she is very well-versed in thanks to her job)
Sophie explains that in her formal sitting room, she has gone for a ‘glamorous theme’ with decorations in a palette of white, gold and silver, with plenty of coral and roses to add to the ambiance (and there’s not a piece of tinsel in sight)
In the dining room, where Sophie hosts her guests on December 25, the colour palette is deep red with plenty of gold. Sophie maintains that tinsel is never coming back in fashion so advises ‘chucking it in the bin’
Sophie says a more affordable way of decorating your home, which she believes looks ‘really understated and elegant’, is to put some real ivy draped over the mantlepiece and some foliage from your garden combined with twigs in a vase. ‘Mix in some plain baubles to make sure it looks christmassy rather than just fresh’, she said
Sophie says she puts her trees up early as she uses fake trees so she doesn’t need to worry about them dropping. She said: ‘This year I put my trees up in mid-November, which is even early by my standards! I always go for pre-lit trees as even though I want it to look like I’ve made lots of effort, I can’t be bothered with untangling lights and then having to wrap them round four trees!’
In her husband’s study, Sophie says she’s gone for a more traditional look to complement the gentlemen’s club feel of the room with decorations in red, blue silver and gold with lots of references to Scotland as he is Scottish (embroidered and beaded pipers, saltire flags and Scottie dogs) and then also London – as that’s where she is from – with mini Big Ben decorations, Beefeaters and some rocking horses for Ava
Sophie says her favourite place to buy Christmas decorations is John Lewis because, she says, they have a great selection this year with some very special decorations at the top end, as well as more affordable multi-pack options
Sophie’s top tips for hosting? ‘Dim the lights, light a beautiful scented candle, put the fire on, serve some champagne and delicious nibbles on a silver platter, and make sure you invite some interesting guests!’
Sharing her staple decorations for the Christmas tree, Sophie says you have to have lights – and she favours plain lights because they make the decorations sparkle
Sophie is the founder of Sophie Paterson Interiors – a brand she established in 2008 at the age of 23 – and now has countless famous clients
Sharing her top tips for decorating the Christmas tree, Sophie says: ‘Work out where you are putting the tree first. If it’s in a corner, don’t waste your decorations round the back, also make sure you move around whilst decorating the tree to ensure the pieces are evenly spaced’
Sophie says you should never forget some Christmassy music to get into the festive mood, citing Michael Buble’s album as a good choice to have playing on repeat
SOPHIE’S TOP TIPS FOR EMULATING HER LUXURIOUS CHRISTMAS DECOR IN YOUR OWN HOME
– I like to use a lot of decorations on my trees. I like them cascading with baubles and ribbons so they look beautifully styled and luxurious.
– Because I use a lot of decorations I normally buy some more affordable multi packs of plain baubles in gold or silver depending on the theme that can be space fillers.
– Each year I try to buy a decoration that relates to that year, whether it has the year on it, or our names. For Ava’s first Christmas last year I bought some decorations on Etsy that said ‘Ava’s first Christmas’. It’s so nice each year when you unpack them to look back and reminisce about the different decorations and the memories that are attached to them.
– Always use white lights for a more elegant look rather than coloured.
– Tinsel is never coming back in fashion so chuck it in the bin.
– I don’t like anything at the top of my tree, I think it looks more elegant to just decorate the branches and leave the top bare
– Each year buy a couple of special decorations that you can put at eye level to add interest, I’ve been buying mine for over 10 years and so have built up enough of a collection to dress four trees.
– Pick a theme that matches with your decor whether that is the colours, or the feel or location of your room.
– Even if you want to make a rustic tree you still need some sparkle and metallic decorations to ensure your tree twinkles when the lights are turned on and doesn’t look bare.
– A little bit of bling is OK on a tree, remember what can look tacky (crystal drops) off a tree, looks majestic once on the tree, so embrace a little bit of tackiness, its the one time of the year its allowed.
– I like to keep the rest of my decorations simple and pared back so in my kitchen, sitting room and TV room I’ve put vases of foliage I cut from the garden combined with some bare twigs, and put in some plain baubles in colours that match the main tree to spread the Christmas decor around the rest of the room.
– If you don’t have the budget or space or time to decorate a Christmas tree, a vase of branches and foliage with some small baubles instantly makes your room feel more festive.
– I love candles but with a toddler I now avoid them and use faux candles instead, which still give a lovely festive glow and can work on timers.
– I use ribbons in my trees to bulk them out; buy extra wide ribbon with wire in it so that you can shape it. Ribbon is great for filling out any sparse areas on the tree and – if it’s fake – hiding the central column.
– My favourite place to buy Christmas decorations is John Lewis- they have a great selection this year with some very special decorations at the top end and some more affordable multi-packs. I like finding unusual decorations and they have some really unique ones like the clear baubles with feathers inside, or the embroidered fabric ones by Tinker Tailor that are handmade.
– Etsy is great for finding personalised baubles like ones with you name on or for a special occasion like the birth of a baby.
– I use wicker skirts for the base of the tree to hide the stand. Again, I match these to the decor so in my rooms where I have lighter woods I’ve used a light grey wicker, and in the study I’ve used a mahogony brown.
– For a traditional tree, pheasant feathers poked in look really effective.
– Bowls filled with Christmas baubles are a quick and easy way of adding more festive cheer to a room.
– A more affordable way of decorating your home, which looks really understated and elegant, is to put some real ivy draped over the mantlepiece and some foliage from your garden combined with twigs in a vase. Mix in some plain baubles to make sure it looks christmassy, rather than just fresh.
SOPHIE PATERSON’S STORY
If you’ve got a board filled with interior snaps on Pinterest, there is a good chance it contains the work of Sophie Paterson.
Sophie is the founder of Sophie Paterson Interiors – a brand she established in 2008 at the age of 23
Sophie is the founder of Sophie Paterson Interiors – a brand she established in 2008 at the age of 23. Fast-forward a few years and her company has become one of the UK’s most successful interior design studios, with a plethora of celebrities enlisting Sophie to transform their homes.
‘I always loved interiors from a young age but I didn’t initially pursue this as a career and instead opted to study business and Spanish at Bath University,’ Sophie told FEMAIL.
‘I made the transition from my previous career in events management for a restaurant group after a developer, who my husband and I consulted about reconfiguring the layout of our then mews house in London, liked the way I had decorated our home and asked me to help him with the interiors of his latest development project – a 4,000 square foot townhouse with a basement extension in South Kensington.
‘This was an amazing opportunity that, with my husband’s encouragement, I seized with both hands. I worked on his project free of charge, keen to see if my passion could translate into a job and continued with my other job initially for six months.
‘Then, when I could see it had potential to work, I quit my job and set up my company, initially just working with this developer- I was only 23 and had no real idea of what lay ahead or was required to set up a successful company but I think that was a blessing!’
One day Sophie may be designing a villa in Spain, or sourcing furnishings in Paris, the next she’s dealing with finance and accounting and looking at spreadsheets. She wakes at 7am and has breakfast with her husband.
‘It’s the calmest part of the day and we both love it,’ she said.
Sophie tries to work out with a trainer three times a week, which she hails a great way to manage stress.
Sophie also credits her husband for motivating her to stay on track, hailing him ‘hugely encouraging and supportive’.
‘My husband Kevin runs his own tech company and so is very understanding of the demands of running your own business and the long hours that can occasionally require.’
Sophie also feels blessed to work in an industry where there’s gender equality, explaining: ‘I’m aware that isn’t the case for all industries. I believe the interior design industry has an equal amount of both female and male leaders and I employ exactly 50:50 men and women, all purely based on ability.
‘I feel very lucky that I’ve never experienced discrimination based on my gender – it means I’m able to focus on doing the best possible job I can without worrying about how I am perceived.’
So does Sophie think women can have it all? ‘In my experience I feel like it’s a constant balancing act; some weeks I feel like I have a great work/life balance and other weeks it definitely doesn’t work as smoothly.
‘I don’t think you can do it by yourself and I wouldn’t like to pretend otherwise. I have a great team of designers to support me at work, a supportive and encouraging husband and a housekeeper at home. I don’t think there’s any shame in having help but I do know how fortunate I am to be in this position where it’s possible.’
Sharing her golden piece of advice for women looking to follow in her footsteps, Sophie said: ‘I always have several things in the pipeline when it comes to work – that way if one thing doesn’t work out you don’t waste time focusing on that but move onto the other things you have lined up.
‘When you run your own business you can’t take rejection personally and this approach really helps me look forward and not waste time worrying.’
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online