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The Alternative Blog

Lady Gaga got a white pony for Christmas and it was rumoured that the Queen received a shower cap from Prince Harry. We say just be alternative. Here’s our guide to the more surprising gifts that some of our creative collaborators and Rug Stars wish to give and get this festive season.

Emily Murray, founder of award-winning blog The Pink House

What was your most alternative festive gift ever?

I’d say that was the present I gave to myself and the family last Christmas – the gift of not have to having a traditional Christmas dinner at home and heading to a hotel for Christmas Day instead! I’m not the most enthusiastic of cooks, so when I realised we could simply head to one of my favourite hotels – the beautiful Kit Kemp – designed Ham Yard in Soho – and have someone else cook delicious food and then wash the dishes while we enjoyed a spot of bowling in their basement bowling alley, it was literally like all my Christmasses had come at once! It was such a hit with The Pink House Husband and the kids that we’re planning to make it a tradition and go back this Christmas Day too.

Ham Yard Hotel, The Croc Bowling Alley photography by Simon Brown 

What are you hoping Santa will bring you? 

A newly-renovated ground floor of my house, complete with Crittall windows, larger hallway, loads of storage and a new bathroom extension. Though I suspect I may have to wait until summer 2019 for that – it’s a bit large for Santa’s sack and the glass could prove problematic for the reindeers.

Head over to Emily’s Instagram to see her ‘ombre rainbow’ Christmas tree dressed in pink at the top, fading through blue to green at the bottom.

The Pink House Christmas Tree, @pinkhouseliving

Keith & Mark, aka Mini Moderns

Living room at Dungeness. Photo by Andrew Boyd.

What was your most alternative festive gift ever?

Keith: About 10 years ago, Mark bought me a complete set of Kidrobot Red Edition Gorillaz dolls, then, continuing the theme, a few years later, a limited-edition Barbie doll of Joan from Mad Men, who is remarkably life-like but never leaves her box.

Mark: Keith surprised me one year by finding a newly released Cocteau Twins compilation – Lullabies to Violaine. It was a limited-edition box set, packaged in an amazingly textured paper called Curious Touch Soft Milk – which sounds like the name of a Cocteau Twins track – and inspired us to use the same paper for a cosmetics packaging project we were working on at the time.

What are you hoping Santa will bring you?

We’d like a joint present please! A new sofa for our Dungeness beach house. Ideally, we’d like a Mogensen 2333 sofa in tan leather, but we’re not sure it will fit through the door, let alone down the chimney!

Lucy Gough, interior stylist

What was your most alternative festive gift ever?

Kristina and I decided to buy each other a wood burning stove for Christmas! We literally need nothing – our house was already stuffed full of lovely things – but we needed a wood burner so we made that our gift to each other. We bought a Squirrel stove from Morso and it’s absolutely beautiful to sit in front of on those long, cold winters nights!

What am I hoping Santa will bring me?

I hope Santa will deliver the new autobiography by Michelle Obama – she seems so down to earth for being one of the most influential women alive today and I want to read about all the events that lead to her being the First Lady. I would also like one of these beautiful Sissinghurst Castle plates from Anthropologie to hang on the wall of my sitting room – I love the pattern!

Becoming Michelle Obama, published by Penguin Random House

Lastly, do we know if Santa has a budget? Because if he happened to throw in an airline ticket to Sydney to see my family next year, I would be forever grateful!

What does your son Arthur want from Santa?

Arthur is desperate for a pink monster truck… Do you think I can find one anywhere? I may have to spray paint one pink! He also wants a gold fish (thanks to Peppa Pig’s pet gold fish) I hope he doesn’t kill it with kindness. I may have to hide the food from Arthur’s little hands or the fish won’t live past a week!

Kate Watson-Smyth, interior journalist Mad About The House

Kate Watson-Smyth will no doubt spoil her feline friend Enid.  Who is getting a ‘new bed from which they are very kindly sending to her and which she will ignore…’

Enid the cat Enid lounging on Kate’s Wool Pebble Stade rug, Mad About The House

But we’d all like a copy of her new Mad About The House book this Christmas. And Kate would like ‘an endless book voucher and the time to read them all…. ‘

Mad about the House: How to decorate your home with style by Kate Watson-Smyth

Sophie Robinson, interior designer and TV interiors expert

What was your most alternative festive gift ever?

When we moved to our house in the woods two Christmases ago I got my husband an axe. Didn’t think I’d ever be giving something like that as a Christmas gift. And turns out he would have preferred a chainsaw!

What are you hoping Santa will bring you?  

Peace on earth and good will to all men. And a cashmere jumper.

Lucy, Sophie’s mini English Bull Terrier on Quirky B Flowers of Thorpe Summer Garden rug. Photography by Alun Callender

What are what are you getting your lovely hound Lucy?

She is very food orientated my dog, so it’ll be a big juicy raw bone for her. And lots of crumbs on the dining room floor she’ll be scoffing up too I’m sure.

Lorna Haigh, Alternative Flooring’s Creative and Marketing Director thinks that a new book Weaving: Contemporary Makers on the Loom by Katie Treggiden may just fit into her Christmas stocking.

Weaving: Contemporary Makers on the Loom by Katie Treggiden, Published by Ludion


Meanwhile our wonderful weaving collaborator Margo Selby is hoping that Santa will find her a good builder to build her new house in the New Year.

Well we can wish, after all Santa presented little Susan a dream home in the film Miracle on 34thStreet.

Merry Christmas to all fellow alternatives out there!

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The Edit - home style by Alternative