Life & Style

Tobias Vernon

The interior designer and founder of London gallery 8 Holland Street shares the stylish details - from scents and sculptures to velvet slippers - that will enrich his Christmas.

christmaswith-tobias-portrait

Christmas cooking...

I’ll be preparing an Indian feast for my family to set off the festivities on Christmas Eve. On the menu is a warming coconut curry with spinach, fish gurnard, homemade bajji and chutneys. I love cooking but have never ever owned a decent knife, so I’ve asked my parents for a santoku knife as my Christmas present. I’ll be drinking anything from the Au Bon Climat’s, Californian vineyard - all their wines are totally scrumptious.

Decorating the table...

Good lighting and candles are everything. I’ve just bought this table lamp by Vico Magistretti in festive red which has a rotating plastic shade so it’s perfect for dramatically lighting a dark corner. I have a sculptural candlestick by Claudia Rankin and use vintage ceramics and sculptures, surrounded by lots of eucalyptus, to decorate the table. The best crackers are by the wonderful Florence Saumarez of Bath-based company Inq.

I'll be listening to...

Often I rely on Spotify playlists to orchestrate the background noise to my day. An artist I heard recently who is brightening wintery days for me is Katy J Pearson and her new album Return. Her track 'Tonight' sets me up for a good day in the office.

My festive tradition...

My cottage is in the middle of cider-country in Somerset and I have heard a lot about wassail and the folkloric traditions behind the making of it. A hearty village wassail is supposed to beckon a good apple harvest the following year. It's not a tradition I have taken part in yet, but I am very tempted by it, and will certainly be making up a batch at home this year - beckoning in a better 2021!

I'll be wearing...

My new go-to are ViBi Venezia’s handmade velvet slippers, which take me back to happy travels and weekends in Venice. I love this finely striped mohair jumper by Saint Laurent for a bit of indulgence and a lazy afternoon by the fire.

My Christmas treat...

I have an exhaustive number of trainers. They were something I would never hold back from buying. These days, though, I'm far better and the lead up to Christmas gives me time to pick a favourite pair to indulge in. This year's choice is definitely a bold pair I've seen from Stella McCartney, I love them.

My Christmas smells like...

I love to be surrounded by the very simple scents of Christmas, and Candle No.4 Orange Blossom from A.P.C. takes me back to Christingles, carol services and helping with the dried orange slices on the wreath. A.P.C. have a brilliant selection of candles, but this one is particularly festive.

How I'll give back

I'm incredibly fortunate to be celebrating Christmas with family, but I think we are all conscious - this year especially - of how many won't be so lucky, particularly children. The BookTrust Christmas appeal is a really great initiative that gives the gift of books to children who are vulnerable and may not be looking forward to the festivities as much as some of us.