Harrogate home styled for Christmas

Floral designer Lucy MacNicoll has used festive greenery to give her home a calm, contemporary look for Christmas. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Gary Longbottom.

It’s just nine weeks since Lucy MacNicoll moved into her Harrogate home and she’s part way through a major makeover. The builders are installing two new bathrooms upstairs while Lucy efficiently multi-tasks. A busy mum, she is project managing the work on the house while running her eponymous floral design shop at one of the busiest times of the year.

Remarkably, she has managed to create a sense of calm thanks to Scandi-inspired decor with Christmas decorations to match. Visitors are greeted by the scent of eucalyptus, spruce and juniper mixed with the fragrance of her favourite Neom candles.

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The ground floor is filled with festive greenery and twinkling lights set against a colour scheme that is subtle and relaxing.

Lucy in the kitchen. She refreshed the units by painting them Pavilion Grey. The flowers, left, reflect her garden-gathered style.

“I like Scandinavian style because it’s modern but not too cold and clinical,” says Lucy, who subscribes to the idea of hygge, the Danish art of cosiness, comfort and conviviality.

Trimming up begins with a wreath on her glossy front door, which is freshly painted in Little Greene’s Basalt. She and her team make them to sell and also hold wreath-making workshops. A fresh green garland and a string of fairy lights winds up the staircase and beneath the contemporary fire in the sitting room is a row of oasis bricks packed with a mix of eucalyptus, ferns, juniper and mimosa.

Lined up in front is a row of electric candles, so much safer than the real thing in a home with two children and a dog.

The fireplace in the living kitchen has the same treatment but with more greenery on the mantelpiece, where real candles are allowed to burn out of harm’s way. The dining table is from Oka with legs painted grey by Lucy, who opted for a slim runner of seasonal foliage with a contemporary candelabra from Marks & Spencer in the centre. The window sill behind is home to a trio of miniature trees wrapped with wire lights.

The dining table from Oka has had its legs painted grey by Lucy who used a runner of fresh greenery on top with a candelabra from Marks and Spencer as a centrepiece. The mini trees are sold at Lucy's shop in Harrogate

The kitchen has been decorated with flowers and brass wreath rings from Rowen and Wren, which sport sprigs of eucalyptus.

“I love festive foliage but I prefer toned down colours. I always use eucalyptus and mimosa for their softer tones,” says Lucy, whose home is full of houseplants and fresh flowers all year round.

There is everything from sculptural cacti and succulents to a huge leafy palm in the sitting room, which has just made way for the Christmas tree. The tree is abundant with baubles and decorations by Bloomingville, a brand that Lucy stocks in her town centre shop.

“If it was up to me then I’d just have a big green tree with white lights wrapped round it but my sons wouldn’t allow it,” she says.

The wreath on the front door, which is painted in Little Green's Basalt. The wreaths are available from Lucy's shop, where she also runs wreath making workshops.

Lucy’s love of a more natural look is at the heart of her business and helped her win Wedding Florist of the Year 2016 at the National Wedding Industry Awards. The flowers she uses are mainly British from growers in and around Yorkshire.

“They look amazing and they also last longer as they’re picked either the day before or on the day they are delivered to us, unlike imported flowers, which are refrigerated and travel long distances,” says Lucy, who worked in fashion PR and as a stylist before discovering a talent for floral design.

She trained as a florist and honed her skills in a shop in Dulwich village in London before setting up her own company. When she and her husband, Gary, decided to head back to her native Yorkshire with their sons, Finlay, now 10, and Fraser, eight, she specialised in wedding flowers from a workshop at home in Knaresborough.

As word spread about her natural, garden-gathered style, she expanded and opened her own floral boutique and flower school in Harrogate.

The tree with lights and Bloomingville baubles from Lucy MacNicoll Floral Design in Harrogate

The recent house move was aimed at bringing her within walking distance of work. The period property in the popular Duchy area had been modernised but, says Lucy: “It wasn’t my style, which is why we decided to make changes.”

The walls and ceilings are now all uniform in brilliant white. On the ground floor, the stone fireplace in the sitting room was replaced with a modern inset gas fire from Robert Aagaard and the flooring is now a fashionable herringbone parquet. The sofas are from Barker & Stonehouse with cushions from John Lewis, a marble coffee table from Oliver Bonas and statement pendant lights from Heal’s.

The taupe kitchen units were repainted in Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray and the handles replaced with brass knobs from Rowen & Wren. Upstairs two rooms were knocked into one to make a master suite and the new bathrooms should be complete by Christmas.

“The next project will probably be extending the kitchen area,” says Lucy, who is looking forward to spending time with her family when the closed sign goes up on the shop on Christmas Day.

“I’m usually shattered by then as Christmas is a really busy time for the shop but I’m looking forward to January and February, as they are the quietest time for florists. It’s the lull before it’s full on again for wedding season.”

Lucy MacNicoll Floral Design and flower school with wreath-making workshops is at 47 Tower Street, Harrogate, lucymacnicoll-flowers.com

Lucy's shop on Tower Street, Harrogate
The fireplace in the open plan living kitchen with fresh festive foliage and candles.
The sitting room with new fire from Robert Aagaard, sofas from Barker and Stonehouse and marble table from Oliver Bonas. The flowers are by Lucy.
Lucy in the kitchen. She refreshed the units by painting them Pavilion Grey. The flowers, left, reflect her garden-gathered style.
The dining table from Oka has had its legs painted grey by Lucy who used a runner of fresh greenery on top with a candelabra from Marks and Spencer as a centrepiece. The mini trees are sold at Lucy's shop in Harrogate
The wreath on the front door, which is painted in Little Green's Basalt. The wreaths are available from Lucy's shop, where she also runs wreath making workshops.
The tree with lights and Bloomingville baubles from Lucy MacNicoll Floral Design in Harrogate
Lucy's shop on Tower Street, Harrogate
The fireplace in the open plan living kitchen with fresh festive foliage and candles.
The sitting room with new fire from Robert Aagaard, sofas from Barker and Stonehouse and marble table from Oliver Bonas. The flowers are by Lucy.