By Allison Duncan

Published on December 24, 2015

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text by ALLISON DUNCAN

There’s no need to swap houses when you can cultivate your own cozy English cottage or chic California mansion, a la the seasonal classic The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, with just a few transitional pieces – some of which are even available at domino.com!

We chatted with James Radin of James Radin Interior Design, who helped design the film set of the blockbuster hit (along with a few other gorgeous sets, like in It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give), and he’s sharing insider tips & tricks to styling around a theme.

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find inspiration

When incorporating a new look into your home, it’s important to find sources of inspiration that guide your new design scheme and in terms of The Holiday, that can vary from the movie itself; the personal style of the characters; or even just the emotions drawn from the storyline.

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“The actual inspiration for the set came from the characters and the contrast of their lives,” says Radin. “In California vs. the English countryside, it’s rich (professional decorated) versus not-so-rich (DIY).”

Think about which character resonates more with your current look – then, you can start to formulate a theme.

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define the character

Now that you’ve decided if you’re an Amanda or an Iris, it’s time to narrow down the differences in their style and decor.

“Amanda’s home is a chic minimalist design that blends a high-contrast color scheme, organic elements and layered textures,” says Donna Hall, president of Donna Mondi Interior Design. “There are subtle Mediterranean influences in the architecture and lighting.”

Start to consider airy, open spaces and neutral tones.

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“Iris’ home exudes English country charm with a blending of inherited furniture and a variety of patterns that gives a warm and cozy feeling when combined with the rustic architecture,” says Hall.

Think about mixed prints, warm colors and personal touches/mementos.

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know your theme

Once you’ve narrowed down an aesthetic, you can start to visualize a theme. Perhaps you’re designing for a cozy cabin; a breezy beach house or even just updating one room to embody the look that you’d like to incorporate.

“Most importantly, you need to really own your theme,” says Radin. “Define it, analyze it and above all else, stick to it. Find images of rooms you like and use those as your shopping list. If every picture you like has wallpaper, then you probably won’t be happy until you get some wallpaper up.”

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Hall also recommends defining a few concepts that are repeated throughout the theme in order to apply those your home in your own way. For example, in Amanda’s case, Hall advises spotlighting high contrast, no patterns and organic elements – if your floors are light, then go with dark furniture to reverse the contrast.

By making the theme your own, you add authenticity to the space.

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english cottage

“In England, it’s color and utilizing the texture of many natural materials,” says Radin. “I found great flea-market finds and looked for lots of patterns to create a cozy and warm vibe.To embed a bit of the cottage, I think the biggest pieces are the blue velvet ottoman and a patterned rug. Any pattern will do – floral, geometric, etc., and don’t be afraid to let the floor do some of the work.”

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We love the Rose by the Everygirl Chair in Navy Mood Velvet at Interior DefineThe Room Place’sRendezvous Cocktail OttomanThread Experiment’sWatchdog Duvet CoverThe Budding Lyre Chesterfield Sofa at Anthropologie; and the Caitlin Wilson Textiles Kismet Coral Rug.

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california mansion

“In California, it’s neutrals,” says Radin. “Stick with high-contrast, light upholstery with dark wood. The look is very edited and not at all eclectic. It’s open and maybe even a little stark – nothing by chance. I used a few modern pieces mixed with traditional shapes. And lots of cool tones. Clean lines were important in the California home. Try some black – tables, ottomans, lamps – with your upholstery. Don’t worry – it won’t be boring.”

We love the Room & Board Chelsea SofaRoom & Board Marlo BedThe Room Place Madison Ivory Chair;Arteriors Huxley Lamp; and the Serena & Lily Brahms Mount Herringbone Throw.

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“Above all, don’t become too predictable,” says Hall. “You want surprises that add interest and drama to your home and also tell a story of the person who lives there. Make it your own.”

Here’s hoping after a bit of redecorating, your New Year looks just like that of Amanda and Iris!