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Six ideas for simple festive finishes Opposite, clockwise from top left Table decorations are thoughtful and detailed, and each guest is presented with a linen napkin dressed with foliage and wrapped in twine. Present wrapping is equally pared-back, using brown parcel paper and twine. Tapered candles in clear wine bottles create a striking centrepiece on the table. Pillar candles wrapped in gold craft wire add interest to an old chest of drawers – a family heirloom

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1 Fill glass bottles with boiled or distilled water i(to stop the fluid from clouding) and place sprigs of fynbos, heather or herbs inside. Use these as candleholders and display them in clusters.

2 Source sculptural plants to create wreaths and garlands. Bind them using gold and copper craft wire, or black leather cord for contrast.

3 Paint natural finds (such as seed pods and dried flowers) in antique gold and copper for an understated glow. Alternatively, paint plants black for an edgy twist on this idea.

4 Gift wrap should be simple and rustic. Crinkle brown parcel paper or plain newsprint into tight balls and then spread out for use – you will be left with an organic, imperfect look. Give each present its own unique treatment: experiment with white and brown twine and use greenery.

5 Hang strings of fairy lights around the house. Place them tangled up in vases, or draped over the fireplace and around door frames.

6 Layer and add texture to your table setting. Choose shades of chalk, grey, charcoal and bone. Anchor the scheme with a beautiful linen tablecloth and set places with vintage silver-plated cutlery alongside linen napkins tied with hemp string. y referencing historical forms we strive to bring a richness and comfort to modern interiors that can otherwise be lacking in personality,’ says architect Tania Handelsmann, who runs Australian practice Handelsmann + Khaw with interior designer Gillian Khaw. This statement sums up the duo’s design for this home in Hunters Hill, a leafy suburb on the north shore of Sydney Harbour dominated by old houses.

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