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Real Homes of Instagram Christmas Edition: Toby from @tobyshome

Christmas scene with tree, presents and decorations in-front of the fire

'Real Homes of Instagram' is our weekly sneak peek into the homes of some of our favourite decorators from Lick's community and beyond.

Next up in the series, we introduce you to Toby (@tobyshome). He is 24 years old and lives with his fiancé, Mikey, and their Chihuahua, Ziggy. Together, they live in a 200-year-old cosy cottage, just outside of Bath. They’ve lived there for around 18 months now, but the renovations only started to take place at the beginning of the first UK lockdown. 

Their signature style oozes an English country cottage feel, with a slightly modern edge.  “I love deep, muted colours and contrasting pops in accessories or woodwork - all within a fairly neutral palette”.

Man sitting on the sofa in a Christmas decorated living room
Dining room Christmas room-scape

Toby’s favourite room in the cottage is their open plan living and dining space. They recently removed the wall which separated the two areas to allow for a larger, more social space to gather in. Since the renovation, they’ve invested in large, white linen sofa’s and a beautiful, wooden dining table. 

“I’ve tried to create lots of little nooks, with armchairs and console tables. This helps the renovated, modernised room feel more cosy and comfortable. We have exposed brick, curved walls and peculiar alcoves in the room, which makes it hard to decorate and furnish, but does add buckets of character”.

“I’ve tried to create lots of little nooks, with armchairs and console tables. This helps the renovated, modernised room feel more cosy and comfortable.”

At Christmas, Toby takes inspiration from the outdoors; in-particularly, using foliage and dried fruit for displays and décor. He also cherishes memories from his childhood, and reminisces the magical feeling that his parents created for him and his sister each year.

Man putting up Christmas decoration garland on bedroom wall above the bed
Dining room Christmas room-scape

We asked Toby to describe his home décor at Christmas time…

“I tend to keep the decorations fairly neutral; with white ceramics, glass, gold and a few splashes of red. However, this year we have gone for a much bolder backdrop. Just recently, I painted our dining area a deep green colour, complete with moss coloured woodwork. We also have plans for a cranberry-coloured wall - all in the spirit of Christmas!

Our décor seems to change year on year, but tends to follow the same focus - a homely, yet magical atmosphere; with a touch of drama! I try to change the way things are styled each year, rather than buying all new decorations… not only would that be incredibly expensive, but also feel so wasteful.

“Our décor seems to change year on year, but tends to follow the same focus - a homely, yet magical atmosphere; with a touch of drama!”

Display bookcase with Christmas presents and candle decorations
Dining room Christmas room-scape

We love to decorate the whole cottage, top to toe. We adore having a dried wreath on the front door of the cottage, and hanging oranges and candles in the porch/boot room. We dress our fireplace in unruly foliage, and hang twinkling lights in all the bedrooms. As we’ve got panelling throughout the cottage, I’ll also be pinning garlands to them, as well as wreaths hanging from the kitchen canopy; and a mini Christmas tree in the bathroom!

I always look to my favourite brands for inspiration when it comes to Christmas. For anyone that knows (or follows) me, you’ll know how much I love shopping at Neptune. They have a great range of ceramic baubles, wrapping paper and ornaments - and their Christmassy styled shoots are just incredible. Timeless, and elegant - with new seasonal accessories each year. Of course, The White Company are also hugely inspiring to me, and their shoots and accessories always give me a little push to add some glitz and glam to our cottage. Their botanical winter candles are a Christmas must, too!”

Kitchen decorated in Christmas garlands, presents and lights
Flat lay table decoration with glasses, napkins and Christmas accents

Toby and Mikey love to cook, especially around Christmas time. They bake and build their very own gingerbread house – which has become an annual tradition for them both. Toby also likes to get creative, by designing and building his own garlands & wreaths, too.

Toby’s favourite Christmas traditions:

  • We love to snuggle up on the sofa with hot chocolate and Christmas movies
  • Every year, we go to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve for a drink (or two) and nibbles with family & friends. Although this year, it will have to be a virtual gathering!
  • On Christmas morning, Mikey and I take Ziggy for a little stroll around the village; and normally stop for a quick tipple in our local pub, whilst the turkey is in the oven.
Dog on the stairs looking up at Christmas decorations and lights
Hallway decoration in Christmas foliage and candles

Finally, we asked Toby to choose a colour from the Lick paint collection that most represents his style at Christmas…

Green 02 is definitely the most in-keeping with our Christmas decor. I love the hints of blue and black, adding a coolness and calming quality. The colour is very country, however, still feels relevant and modern-day. Add some splashes of red, and deep green garlands - and that’s my perfect Christmas palette!

I actually love to decorate seasonally; therefore, always have a feature wall or two, to splash a deeper, richer colour in line with the time year - and this green is perfect for my aesthetic right now!

Lick Green 02 Paint 2.5L Tin
Wall showing Green 02 in varied natural light
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