There may be 45 rooms to decorate, but stars of TV hit Escape to the Château Dick and Angel love a challenge. Here’s how they deck the halls, walls… and every inch of their stunning French home.
Angel and Dick Strawbridge are the wonderfully eccentric couple who captured our hearts while they painstakingly renovated their once-derelict French country pile on primetime TV. As they prepare to celebrate their fifth Christmas at the château, interior stylist Angel shares her decorating tips and tricks…
What’s the vibe of this year’s Escape to the Château Christmas special?
We are still learning the ropes from our French friends, so it’ll be a predominantly traditional British affair with a Parisian twist – lots of jewel colours, sumptuous fabrics and handmade decorations.
Who’s coming for Christmas Day?
We’re having lots of friends and family over for our annual pre-Christmas knees-up, where we give presents to everyone who has supported us throughout our château journey. But on Christmas Day it will just be me, Dick, Arthur and Dorothy (plus a visit from Père Noël). You never know, though – last year a sightseer turned up on our doorstep with a camera!
Your secret to a well-dressed tree?
History! Dick and I have been collecting decorations ever since we met ten years ago. Every Christmas now reminds us of a past one we have spent together.
What’s on your festive to-do list?
For Dick, this is the cooking – selecting the ingredients and basting the bird for the perfect Christmas roast dinner. For me, it’s about making personalised gifts and decorations. Last year I collected some old footballs and wrapped them in fabric with velvet cords to make hanging decorations for the hall. It’s all about the little things and making the most of materials around you.
Any decorating advice?
Mix and match everything. I’m currently mixing crystals from an old chandelier with baubles to give the Christmas tree an extra twinkle. I’m a big fan of bringing the outside in – so lots of foliage, branches and flowers from the garden. The scent is divine.
The quick design fix that always works for you?
Foliage always makes a big impact – and requires very little effort. I add it to the banisters, front door and put it on the mantelpiece. Decorating in areas where there are mirrors is the most rewarding as the reflection doubles up your work, and has the bonus of making the space appear larger.
For more information on Angel’s interiors range see thechateau.tv. The Escape to the Château Christmas special will be on Channel 4 on 22 December