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Extreme Christmas decor tips from interior designer to royalty

High-end designer Tim Gosling has an over-the-top approach to Christmas when it comes to styling his own home

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Tim Gosling, designer to the rich and famous, creator of superyacht interiors, moulder and shaper of libraries, dining rooms apartments and stately homes is known for his clean-lined style, meticulous attention to detail and, above all, restraint. His services have been employed by a sprinkling of royalty plus giants of industry and history, from Lord Browne to Sir Elton John, and across the world from Beijing to the Hamptons. So who better to advise on how the high-end global home might be decked out this Christmas?

Gosling’s large 18th-century home in Clapham Old Town, south London, is difficult to identify from a distance because it is screened from the street by trees and a large, gawping crowd. Draw closer, though, and the reason for the gawping becomes clear. The house is dripping with Christmas lights, illuminated Merry Christmas signs, Santas, gnomes, reindeers, bambis and ribbons in a display which may explain why the UK’s National Grid is struggling.

Then there are the life-size polar bears lurking on the stucco portico.

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Gosling materialises at the top of his steps. He is wearing a Father Christmas outfit. Whenever he appears in the FT’s How to Spend It magazine he dresses in tweeds, brogues and linen. I struggle to understand his sartorial cultural shift, but before I can broach the subject Gosling invites me on to his three-ton cherry picker. This is a first. As we ascend, he explains that the cherry picker is an essential tool for his annual decorative outrage.

About 20ft up, the platform judders to a halt and the cherry picker’s alarm sounds loudly and repeatedly, attracting an even bigger crowd. We are stuck. I am not good with heights. Gosling is reassuring and calm for at least 90 seconds before he decides on a more pragmatic, if less masterful, approach and starts shouting “Help! Help” at the fire station across the road. A ladder arrives and soon the cherry picker is working once more.


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