IMG_4753 (1000x496).jpgNow is the time of year when home design connoisseurs get out the boxes of tinsel, baubles and twinkling lights. But while we Thais are still mourning the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the question on our lips is: are we in the mood to deck the halls and ring in the new with the usual festive abandon? For many of us the answer will be a resounding no; this year Christmas and New Year should be celebrated soberly not extravagantly—in a manner that allows us take stock and commemorate our late King. To that end, five people who are known to put up glamorous decorations each year share their tips and give us a preview of their own subdued Christmas decorations.

Vorravit Siripark 

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The founder and managing director of Puri Company, which is behind the Thai skincare and aromatherapy brand Panpuri, likes to incorporate his love of candles into his intimate festive dinner setting. “I place candles and candleholders on the table,” says Vorravit Siripark. “These candles create beautiful warm lighting and an intimate and cosy feeling, which is very important for dinners.”

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Vorravit’s idea for his New Year decor this year is different from other years—it does not involve Christmas trees and lights. “Compared to previous years’ decorations, this year’s dining table setting is not as glamorous,” he says. “Due to the circumstances, I’m not going to put emphasis on the celebration aspect. Usually, every year I would host a party and invite friends over but this year it will probably be a little more private, with my closest friends, just for us to reflect on the past year, talk about the upcoming year and give each other the latest updates. It will be relaxing.”

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Vorravit puts up his decorations himself, and has a set format. “However, the elements that change each time are the flowers,” he adds. To make his dining table setting feel Christmassy this year, he will use red holly flowers, which are commonly used in Christmas decorations abroad, and gold acorns. Alongside flowers in the vase are some tiny golden ant figures that Vorravit collected. 

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“I normally use decorations I already have. The Tom Dickson candleholder, something I just bought recently and love, is the centrepiece in my dining table decor. In truth, it is used to hold long candles but placing it empty in the middle of the dining table already enhances the beautiful setting.”

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SIMPLE AND ELEGANT:  Combining red holly flowers with gold acorns, Vorravit brings the perfect final touches to his dining scene.

Duangkamol Vephula Waagensen

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Taking pride of place on the dining table at Duangkamol Vephula Waagensen’s home is a tray of chocolate puddings and a chocolate bundt cake with strawberries on top. Behind the desserts is a classic green Christmas tree with glistening ornaments. 

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“I love glitter and sparkling objects so I used white, gold and silver. I didn’t use bright colours due to this year’s tragic loss,” says the director of HW Trading, the authorised dealer of Bang & Olufsen, a high-end audio and home entertainment brand from Denmark.

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Duangkamol, who is also known for her online cooking channel Prae’s Kitchen, in which she shares her cooking experience on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, tries to incorporate her hobbies and her love for cooking with her Christmas decor. “I believe that lighting plays an important role in creating a nice ambience so I combine those two together. I put up a lot of candles and when the glittering ornaments shine in the candlelight, it glows so beautifully. And I even add golden glitter into my cakes and pastries,” she says, explaining how her chocolate bundt cake flecked with specks of gold adds to her home’s Christmassy feel.

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“If my husband Peter cooks the savouries, I make the sweets,” she adds. “We always look forward to cooking Christmas dinners at home amid the candles and music,” says the keen cook, who also runs the PR company P Square PR Total Solutions. “My husband and I help each other put up the Christmas ornaments. My family celebrates it every year because my husband is from Denmark and places great importance on Christmas.”

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SWEET CHRISTMAS: Because desserts are a huge part of Christmas, the decorations at Duangkamol’s home showcase her beautiful homemade pastries. 

Bryant Olson

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“I always put emphasis on lighting. That to me is everything,” says Bryant Olson, the distributor of Hollywood hair care brand Philip B. “Whether it’s for Christmas or not, good lighting for me is the most important element.”

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Bryant decorates his home every Christmas despite he and his partner, Chalong Tonklongchan, spending each Christmas abroad. “Even though it takes a few hours to put everything up and days to fine-tune, my partner and I decorate every year because he is in love with Christmas. We do it because we enjoy it, the vibes and changing the way the room looks. And we also find it quite pretty,” he explains. “Honestly, my favourite part is when we’re doing it. It’s not once it’s complete. Putting it together is the best bit—we put on Christmas music and just enjoy ourselves. There is a ceremony to putting it together. It takes me back to childhood.”

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He likes to use a lot of handmade elements. “Last year, I did an English course for the children in Klong Toey and we actually made the ornaments and painted them. In the past it has always been handmade, unique and organic,” he says. “This year, however, the focus is on the King. We decided to use only black and white. Black is used as a memorial to the King, who just passed, and white is a symbol of the future and purity.

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We mixed three shades of white together—the typical clear, the off-white and the bright white. The silver chrome and crystals are used for feng shui and positive energy. At night time, the decor really sparkles, giving off a warm and beautiful feeling.”

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SPARKLING SEASON: Bryant creates warm and gentle lightings by using various shades of white, green, black and specks of gold

Joy Sopitpongstorn

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Stepping into Joy Sopitpongstorn’s penthouse, located in a condominium deep inside Sukhumvit Soi 31, you’re welcomed by a green Christmas tree that’s adorned with angels and red ornaments. This traditional Christmas decor is stunning, yet it’s the white Christmas tree on the second floor of the penthouse that truly impresses. “The white theme has always been our favourite. It’s just very different,” says the director of Najakorn Associates.

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To Joy, there is more to Christmas than just celebrating—it’s also about family members coming together to have fun. “It’s the time where we involve the family members and brainstorm what they like and think creatively,” she says. “The decor, which has a lot to do with toys, is mainly inspired by my two children, Piriyabha and Pacharadhorn Balankura. Before I had any children, my style was traditional and proper. Now there are more variations. And we’re Catholic so we involve a lot of Jesus and god figures to teach the children the meaning of Christmas.”

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The mother of two, who is currently in the real estate business and working on her holiday home rental project, Passionata Collection, has this year tried to tone down and remember King Bhumibol Adulyadej in her own way. “We won’t put as many colourful ornaments up as we usually do but I will still use colours just to keep it a bit lively. In fact, I was thinking of doing a black and white and silver theme but I think it’s too dark so I decided to use white and blue to remember His Majesty instead,” says Joy.

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“It is less celebrative but it gives more meaning to Christmas, since this time of year is about teaching my young children what it means to mourn and to think about Jesus. The meaning and spirit behind these decorations are the most important things. The decor can change every year but creating a feeling of thankfulness and an awareness of others have to be there.”

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MAGICAL MOMENTS:  Joy believes that Christmas is all about family so the decorations in her home are inspired by her children and all their toys.

Vichien Chansevikul

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On the fourth floor of a small shophouse building located deep within Silom, a decadent Christmas dining table awaits guests. The decor adorning it is similar to past years, albeit a little bit different this time. “We all know this year the country’s going through a very sad period with the passing of His Majesty the King so for our annual Christmas party that we have every year for friends and family, we’ve toned down the colours,” says Vichien Chansevikul. “The main colour for this year’s decorations is white but with hints of brighter colours to lighten up the mood, because it’s still Christmas.”

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Vichien, who is the managing director and founder of Leather Paragon 2000, a company that manufactures, exports and sells locally-made home decor items created mostly from calf leather, uses a lot of his own leather products to make the décor unique. “Normally for Christmas the first thing my partner Michael Palmer and I do is we put up the tree,” he says, “which would take us a day or two. Then after that it would take us another day to decorate the whole apartment, to give the Christmas feel.”

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Vichien, who is the managing director and founder of Leather Paragon 2000, a company that manufactures, exports and sells locally-made home decor items created mostly from calf leather, uses a lot of his own leather products to make the décor unique. “Normally for Christmas the first thing my partner Michael Palmer and I do is we put up the tree,” he says, “which would take us a day or two. Then after that it would take us another day to decorate the whole apartment, to give the Christmas feel.”

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He continues, “Usually we mix a lot of colours together to make it lively and fun. The house is very minimalistic because it was constructed in the year 2000, when the main colours were white and silver, and we went with the theme so the apartment is white, grey and brown. But when we have parties, we tend to add in more colours to brighten things up.” Vichien admits that setting up this year’s decor was not easy. “Although I think you can’t have Christmas without a Christmas tree, angels and bright colours like green, red and yellow, I tried my best to tone it down because of what the nation’s going through.”

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PRECIOUS COLLECTION: Vichien places all the Christmas ornaments and figures he and his partner have been collecting throughout the years to make the decorations truly unique.

Tags: Christmas Decor, Joy Sopitpongstorn, Vorravit Siripark, Duangkamol Vephula Waagensen, Vichien Chansevikul