Celebrating Christmas with Edel Martin from Barleyfields, Taggart Homes

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What does Christmas mean to you? Presents. Family. Days off work. Boxing Day Sale dramas. For some of us, the decorations are part and parcel of the festivities – we take out the tree and baubles then return them to storage after a month, as decoration is tradition. But for interior design enthusiasts like Edel Martin of Barleyfields, Derry/Londonderry, the process of styling up their home for Christmas takes on a different level of significance. It is a time to creatively express her appreciation of beauty and love of life through twines of soft shimmering glow and the many flickering candle flames. Stepping into Edel’s home at Barleyfields is like entering a winter wonderland which one might think possible only through the vicarious experience of a home and country magazine or glances into department store dressing windows. But here at Edel’s the magic is real and tangible, and takes on a life of its own.

Edel and her family moved to Barleyfields – a Taggart Home – in July; by then they had already been looking for a year. Edel has set her mind on older houses with history and original features and wasn’t considering a new build. But one day she and her partner passed by Barleyfields. “Gary noticed the show house sign and wanted to go in for a look. I thought, what’s the point? There is no chance I would live in a new build,” recalled Edel. Well, they were in for a pleasant surprise.

“I fell in love with the house straight away! We had seen new builds previously but nothing like these. The finish was unreal and the attention to detail was something I have never come across before in previous house viewings. The warm beige colour palette was especially inviting and cosy! After that visit I was convinced that nothing else was going to compare to this, and the rest is history.”

Edel is in her element during Christmas time; this is the annual opportunity to let her passion for interior design run free. It typically takes Edel between ten days to a fortnight to decorate her home in her favourite nostalgic, ye olde Christmas style. Focus and coherence is key: Decide on a theme or colour scheme and stick to it. “Sometimes less is more; don’t overdo it with the decorations. I like my tree to be the main focus in the room and arrange other decorative elements to evolve around it. In darker areas such as the hallway, I add lamps and candles and hang big mirrors to reflect natural light.” Artificial trees are steadily gaining popularity due to their low maintenance, but Edel insists on real trees for tradition and the festive scent. Every year the family shops and chooses the tree together. Handmade craft is her other passion; the annual Christmas craft fair at the guildhall is her go-to place for local handmade decorations, and Edel has plans to make wreaths herself. It will be a great way not only to relax and create, but also to follow the time-honoured tradition of an authentic, personal, back-to-basics Christmas celebration.

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