SO FRESH AND SO GREEN Beloved Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and plenty of fresh green­ery wrap a fam­ily home in cheery hol­i­day style


Beloved Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and plenty of fresh green­ery wrap this fam­ily home in cheery hol­i­day style.

Gin­ger­bread is scent­ing the air with its sweet spici­ness, sleigh bells are ring-ting-tin­gling and strings of lights are twin­kling. No, this isn’t the North Pole, but rather an 1,800-square-foot fam­ily abode in Oshawa, Ont., owned by de­signer Michael Pen­ney, who’s also pur­veyor of the Whitby, Ont., house­wares and dec­o­rat­ing busi­ness Pen­ney & Com­pany. “We’re peo­ple who

re­ally love Christ­mas,” he says. Michael and his wife, Sara, adore the hol­i­days so much that they have al­ready es­tab­lished tra­di­tions for their young fam­ily, which in­cludes daugh­ters Vi­o­let, 4, and Han­nah, 18 months. “We play old-school Christ­mas tunes, dig through boxes of cher­ished or­na­ments and make a gin­ger­bread house, some­thing I’ve done since I was a kid,” he says.

This highly an­tic­i­pated yearly rit­ual is matched by Michael’s pas­sion for decor. “My aes­thetic is tra­di­tional with a fresh and re­laxed sen­si­bil­ity,” he says. “Our girls are a big in­flu­ence on the way our home is dec­o­rated – fam­ily-friendly with hum­ble fin­ishes that aren’t too pre­cious.” Nei­ther are they ex­pected: For in­stance, you won’t find any reds or rein­deer in this space. In­stead, cher­ished or­na­ments are the in­spi­ra­tion for the tree and be­yond.

“Our vin­tage dec­o­ra­tions play a ma­jor role,” says Michael. “The way their cheer­ful colours have been muted by time al­ways gets me.” On the tree, he uses them with aban­don. “The rest of the dec­o­ra­tions are a mix of con­tem­po­rary sil­ver and gold, good vin­tage re­pro­duc­tions made from glass and metal, and a lot of cheap-and-cheer­ful look-alikes bought in bulk to fill up the tree.”

He con­tin­ues the time­less colour pal­ette through­out the rest of the home. “I love soft vin­tage hues like wa­tery blues, celadon greens and lots of white.” These are rep­re­sented in paint and fur­ni­ture, as well as in sea­sonal ac­cents that in­clude an

abun­dance of nat­u­ral green­ery. In ad­di­tion to adorn­ing the man­tel and the ban­is­ter, the sprightly greens lend them­selves well to Michael’s pot­tery and milk glass col­lec­tions, tuck­ing into bowls, vases and pitch­ers.

That easy ap­proach is in sync with how the Pen­neys live year-round. “Our home has gen­er­ous rooms, ex­cept for the orig­i­nal com­pact kitchen,” says Michael. While many would be tempted to knock down its walls and open it up, he and Sara wouldn’t dream of it. “We don’t live in our kitchen, but we’re al­ways in our liv­ing room, es­pe­cially at Christ­mas­time,” he says. And it’s in the liv­ing room where they’ll wel­come guests, en­joy home­made hol­i­day cook­ies, sing car­ols to­gether (as Michael says, “for the whole month of De­cem­ber”) and dec­o­rate the tree. “It’s so heart­warm­ing to come home on a dark win­ter night and see your tree lit up in the win­dow. It just makes you smile,” he says. That, and the smell of gin­ger­bread.

Dress your ta­blescape with win­try green­ery in milk glass vases for a fresh fes­tive look. 76

“I in­her­ited this con­sole from my par­ents, and years ago I painted it a colour called Duck Egg,” says home­owner and de­signer Michael Pen­ney. “The shade has since been dis­con­tin­ued, so I don’t think I’ll ever paint over it!” The Tif­fany blue hue is echoed in the rib­bons on the gifts and the gar­land. “The green­ery needed lit­tle more than a few bows, as it’s so lush and lovely on its own. I love how it pud­dles on the floor.” DE­SIGN, Pen­ney & Com­pany, pen­neyand­com­pa­ny­; TA­BLE LAMP, BAS­KET, Pen­ney & Com­pany; RIB­BON, Michaels.

LEFT The liv­ing room man­tel gets thought­fully reimagined for the hol­i­days. “This col­lec­tion of vin­tage McCoy and Haeger pot­tery sits here year-round, but at Christ­mas I em­bel­lish it with sea­sonal green­ery,” says Michael. The wreath over the mir­ror of­fers lus­cious jux­ta­po­si­tion to the sim­ple green wool stock­ings. BE­LOW Michael sits with his wife, Sara, and their daugh­ters, Han­nah, 18 months, and Vi­o­let, 4. MIR­ROR, STOCK­INGS, Pen­ney & Com­pany.

MIR­ROR, Pen­ney & Com­pany.

RIGHT An an­tique mar­ble-topped dresser in the liv­ing room fea­tures a dis­play of trea­sured fam­ily photos and one of Michael’s hol­i­day must-haves: “I can’t get enough of win­ter flow­ers like pa­per­whites.”

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