Welcome to our Christmas newsletter, providing you with the latest events and courses, trend forecasts, new sources, and answers to your interior design problems.
Hot News...

We are no.2 in the Home Section of The Sunday Telegraph’s 150 incredibly useful websites. The newspaper calls it the ‘guide to the links that will change your life’. Who are we to disagree?

To see the online article, go to www.telegraph.co.uk

Tips & Trends

‘At Christmas I like to add a little extra twinkle at home to help liven up the long dark evenings and create some festive cheer. Fairy lights are always a favourite and we like to drape them over mirrors, along the mantelpiece or around the dresser. But this year, inspired by my husband's new antler collecting fad, we are going to hang lots of simple jam jar lanterns from vintage deer horns. They look so pretty and brighten up a dark corner beautifully.’ Atlanta Bartlett

Deer horns, jam jar lanterns and lots of other twinkly tea light holders are available from Atlanta’s new online boutique, Pale & Interesting. It sells furniture, accessories, jewellery and books, chosen or designed by her and her husband, Dave Coote. Their philosophy is all about mixing old with new, and celebrating practical, every day things. For more ideas on creating this look, see also her new book Easy Elegance (£16.99, Ryland, Peters & Small).

(photo by Simon Brown)

This month don't miss

Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

The Finch’s 12 Days of Christmas (3-12 Dec), Hector Finch Lighting, 90 Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6. Hand-made goodies and comestibles will be sold to help raise money for Shropshire-based charities Air Ambulance and Orleton Primary School. There’s a a special charity event on Thursday 3 December, 6 - 8.30pm. www.hectorfinch.com

East London Design Fair (3-6 Dec), Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1. An annual event that brings together the best of the UK's independent designers of furniture, accessories and jewellery. www.eastlondondesignshow.co.uk

Hallidays Christmas 50th Selling Exhibition (4-6 Dec), Queen Street, Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire. Traditional and decorative antiques, fine art, rugs and carpets, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and decorative items will be on sale in their 4000 sq ft showrooms. For times and map, log on to www.hallidays.com

Potterton Books (4-24 Dec), Lower Sloane St, SW1. Illustrator Mark Hearld’s countryside prints, collages and paintings and Horatio Blood’s Victorian-style wooden toy theatres. www.pottertonbookslondon.co.uk

All I want for Xmas (until 20 Dec, Thurs-Sun), Truman Brewery, E1. The first floor of the vast T1 space will be taken over by gift markets, exhibitions, designer sales, independent shops and even a pop-up emporium. A good place to buy one-off and hand-made goods. www.trumanbrewery.com

Cologne Christmas Market (until 23 Dec), Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1. A German Christmas market without an expensive hike on Eurostar. Wooden chalets are selling hand-crafted gifts and seasonal delicacies. www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays (2,9,16,23 Dec). The small independent shops on Columbia Rd and Ezra St (normally only open on Sundays for the flower market) will open on Wed evenings (5-9pm). English and Italian delis, furniture and vintage shops, terracotta pots, festive food and live music. www.columbiaroad.info

‘Christmas Past’ : 400 Years Of Seasonal Traditions In English Homes (until 3 Jan 2010), Geffrye Museum, London E2. Each year the museum’s period rooms are decorated in appropriate festive style. To complement the museum’s special Eco Home exhibition, this year’s programme of related events will embrace ‘make do and mend’ and all things home-made. www.geffrye-museum.org.uk

Dazzle (until 9 Jan), London National Theatre, Olivier Foyers, South Bank, London SE1 9PX. A contemporary jewellery showcase, with dazzling work by over 80 leading designer-makers from all over the world. Also exhibiting will be three Scottish-based printmakers. Everything is for sale.  www.dazzle-exhibitions.co.uk

The V&A’s Medieval & Renaissance Galleries (opening 2 Dec), Cromwell Road, SW7. An embarrassment of riches beckons in the ten new connecting galleries in the southeast wing. There are some 1800 exhibits, spanning from 300-1600 AD, from earthenware pots to entire chapels and altarpieces. www.vam.ac.uk

And for Christmas food markets, tree dressing events, Christmas pudding races, all over the country, visit: www.foodloversbritain.com

Sources of the Month

Clifton Nurseries
is a one-stop shop for Christmas: they’ve always had a terrific selection of Christmas wreaths and trees (from 3ft to 14ft, or even larger to order) but this year they also have a vast selection of decorations and gifts, including a new range of vintage gardenalia. Open until 8pm every Wednesday before Christmas. www.clifton.co.uk

You can, of course, do ALL your Christmas shopping on our website ! www.thehousedirectory.com

If we had to be ruthlessly selective, and choose five Christmassy things from our members, we would plump for:

The pretty make-your-own wreath kit from www.sarahraven.co.uk; the mini vintage cake mould decorations from www.paleandinteresting.com; the handmade wooden printing blocks(perfect for printing your own cards or wrapping paper) from www.henandhammock.co.uk; the simple zinc star garland from www.gardenboutique.co.uk; and finally, the starry glass tealight holders from www.nordichouse.co.uk (their white porcelain ones have just been supplied to Nobu, Park Lane !)

Members' News

Volga Linen have just opened a new shop in Suffolk – it’s at 4a High St, Saxmundham. Tel: 01728 605 775 and is open Mon-Sat 10 - 5 www.volgalinen.co.uk

Drummonds Architectural showroom is moving to Dorset from their current location in Hindhead, Surrey and are offering 10% - 50% off the entire stock of architectural antiques including baths, fireplaces, garden antiques, furniture, reclaimed tiles…and more! Tel: 01428 609444 www.drummonds-arch.co.uk And in spring 2010, they will be opening new bathroom showroom in Hindhead (in place of the architectural salvage showroom), where they will showcase their splendid period style bathroomware.

At Alfie’s Antiques Market dealer Ian Broughton has opened a new shop with original abstract fabrics, 1950s china, glass sets, lighting and 1950s-60s record players. It's only here for the festive period, so go soon! www.alfiesantiques.com 0207 723 6066

Ask the Experts

Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. I am looking for an eco-friendly stove to heat our country kitchen.

A. DunsleyHeat have been manufacturing wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves for over 50 years. Their Yorkshire range can burn wood, coke, anthracite bituminous coal briquettes - also brown coal and softwoods - even in smoke controlled areas. The Yorkshire stoves are the only multi-fuel stoves to ever have met all the UK clean burning tests, providing up to 12KW of heat. There is also the Enviro-Burn-5 for burning wood in smoke-controlled areas, and the Highlander range offering a cleaner burn, high-efficiency airwash system. www.dunsleyheat.co.uk

Have a look too at Chesney’s new range of woodburning stoves designed in association with The National Trust. They have employed the very latest technology to create a range of stoves that combine efficient use of fuel with minimal emissions. www.chesneys.co.uk