Christmas house: a Scandi new build dressed up for the festive season

Take a tour of this monochrome, Nordic-inspired home for ideas on cosying up this festive season

Grey sofa with wooden panelled fireplace, Christmas tree, brown weave rug and black shelving with 'Noel' letter decorations and a pine cone wreath
(Image credit: Katie Lee)

We all have wildly different tastes, but the most interesting thing about how we decorate our homes is the way we tailor it to our space. For JT and Max, their new-build house was the perfect opportunity for JT to flex his creative muscles and embrace Scandi style. At Christmas, their warm yet minimalist space is full of fairy lights, candles and artfully placed paper decorations.

Tour JT and Max's home below, then check out more real home transformations packed with inspiration. Love Scandi style? Check out our Scandi style Christmas decorating ideas.

JT plays with dog Rocco in the grey living room with wood panelled fireplace and white and grey decorated Christmas tree

JT created the wood-clad fireplace by screwing standard planks to the wall. Wall painted in Manor House Grey, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab). Fireplace, Biofires (opens in new tab). Oak flooring, Direct Wood Flooring (opens in new tab). Tree and wreath, Strikes Garden Centre (opens in new tab). Ceiling light, Cult Furniture (opens in new tab). Tree decorations, Next (opens in new tab) and House of Fraser (opens in new tab). Rug, sofa and shelving, Ikea (opens in new tab). Large framed print, Chelsea Prints (opens in new tab). End table, Ferm Living (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)
Project notes

The owners: JT Collings, a biomedical sciences student, and his partner Cosmo Max (known as Max), a law student, live here with their dog Rocco

The property: A two-bedroom new-build terrace in Northallerton, Yorkshire

Project cost: £9,500

‘My love of Scandi style started in this house,' says JT. 'It was totally empty when we moved in and the walls were painted white. I was desperate to change them until I saw how much the paint reflected the light and made the place feel brighter. After that, I started exploring the style a bit more, focusing on monochrome and soft greys. Decorating has definitely been a learning curve in terms of finding out what I like. Max leaves most of the décor to me – everything is very functional, minimal and easy to keep on top of.'

Cocktail mixers and coolers sit on shelves on a wall in the kitchen alongside a letterboard with 'Don't get your tinsel in a tangle' spelled out

With no room for a bar or drinks trolley in the kitchen, the couple's bar set sits on picture ledges on the wall. Letterboard, bar mixers and bottles, Arne Jacobsen (opens in new tab) for Design Letters (opens in new tab). Walls painted in Pure Brilliant White, Dulux (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

‘The process of doing up our home has actually been quite enjoyable,' comments Max. 'Though it’s been stressful at times. You want to get it right – you have a vision in mind and after all the fuss, it should be a relaxing space. I put across my thoughts and we talk through our ideas before we embark on things, but JT’s very passionate about what he wants and he definitely takes the helm. At the end of the day, you both want it to work and you do come to a compromise.'

A tall monochrome kitchen table doubles as an island. The walls in the background are tiled with white metro tiles and lined with white units and grey worktops

Splashback and floor tiles, Topps Tiles (opens in new tab). Cooker, Flavel (opens in new tab). Shelves, North Yorkshire Timber (opens in new tab). Wall clock, Newgate Clocks (opens in new tab). Table, West Elm (opens in new tab). Stools, Cult Furniture (opens in new tab). Tap and sink, Franke (opens in new tab). Prints, Desenio (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)
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‘We’re pretty unified when we work together,' says JT. 'I’m very stubborn but Max is very agreeable, so we get on quite well. We both have jobs that we hate. I don’t like painting because it doesn’t come together quickly enough, and Max hates flatpack furniture. That’s because when we were moving in, he tried to carry a huge wardrobe over from his old place, dropped it and took a massive chunk out of the bottom, and took a chunk out of the ceiling when we were assembling it, too. It was a bit of a nightmare.'

Max continues, ‘When JT wants something done he wants it done there and then. One time we wanted to lay down flagstones in the back garden, however, my dad, who’s a builder, couldn’t come down for a week. I ended up trying to dig everything up and put them down, but I didn’t have a shovel, so I was using my hands to put in the cement. I remember thinking to myself, “What am I doing?” I was literally elbows deep in the stuff.'

White staircase decorated with a green frosted evergreen and pine cone Christmas garland, grey stockings and lights. Black console table with plants and paper stars

The North Yorkshire print is a homage to Max's background. 'His family are farmers in the region and we love everything it stands for,' JT says. Table, Ferm Living (opens in new tab). Flooring, Direct Wood Flooring (opens in new tab). Wall painted in Pure Brilliant White, Dulux (opens in new tab). North Yorkshire print, Mapiful (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

‘Max probably gets frustrated with me just as much as I do with him,' says JT. 'I wanted to change the office around one day, so I rang him at work and said, “I’ve got this really good idea.” He told me to wait until tomorrow so we could talk about it, but I did it straight away. He came home and the entire desk was ripped apart.'

A study with large grey floor lamp, black wire wastepaper basket and black minimalist desk

Max and JT use their office space for home study, but it doubles up as a dressing room too with ceiling-to-floor wardrobes. Desk, Cult Furniture (opens in new tab). Chair, Barkers Home (opens in new tab). Floor lamp, Ikea (opens in new tab). Basket, Ferm Living (opens in new tab). Carpet, Calverts Carpets (opens in new tab). White Christmas tree, Strikes Garden Centre (opens in new tab). Blinds, Blinds2go (opens in new tab). Gold star, House of Fraser (opens in new tab). Large black star, House Doctor (opens in new tab). Moon print, Printler (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

‘I’m quite critical,' says Max. 'Whenever JT says “I’ve got a good idea” I’m always hesitant. But he’s really passionate about what he does and 95 per cent of the time he’s right. He’s created a space that’s chilled out and not too busy. Since we’re juggling being students and working at the same time, it suits our lives perfectly.’

A white bathroom with black industrial-style shelving and a monochrome patterned vinyl floor

JT originally painted the bathroom black. 'It was the biggest mistake I ever made so I repainted it but left the ceiling - I think it creates an industrial look,' JT says. Toilet, bath and sink, Ideal Standard (opens in new tab). Tap, Grohe (opens in new tab). Vinyl flooring, Calverts Carpets (opens in new tab). Shelving, Cult Furniture (opens in new tab). Mirror, The Range (opens in new tab). For a similar hanging planter, try Matalan (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

‘We love throwing parties in our space – whenever we do, everyone seems to gravitate towards the kitchen, which is my favourite space because it’s so light and airy,' says JT. 'We’ve had around 40 people in there in the past, even though there’s a sitting room next door!'

Bed with grey oversized headboard against concrete-effect wallpaper with white and oak modern bedside tables

The couple wanted a laid-back, zen-like vibe for their For a bespoke headboard, try Headboards by Design (opens in new tab). Bedlinen, cushions and NLXL Concrete wallpaper (opens in new tab), John Lewis (opens in new tab). Throw, Scandinavian Design Centre (opens in new tab). Flooring, Calverts Carpets (opens in new tab). Bedside tables, Ikea (opens in new tab) and West Elm (opens in new tab). Table lamps, Homesense (opens in new tab). Animal skull, Wayfair (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

'Christmas is my favourite time of the year,' says Max. 'When I was younger, our house was full of over-the-top tackiness – streamers, angel hair on the trees, the lot – and I’ll always associate it with that kind of gaudiness, but our tastes are a bit more minimal now. It’s all about making the house cosy. I love cold nights wrapped up in a blanket with hot chocolate or mulled wine, or gin, watching Christmas films.'

JT concludes, ‘Christmas is all about hunkering down and doing the wintry things that everyone loves. We always have a Christmas film night where we’ll switch on the tree lights and cosy up. Our living room is the perfect space to relax like that on a dark winter night.’


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Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.