Homes - Interiors

Interiors: Regal English Christmas home

A stately Edwardian home is taken back to the English Regency period with its take on traditional Christmas decor.

For Michele and her husband, Ryerson Symons, the 10-foot-high Christmas tree brings back many memories of England, since some of the festive Christmas decorations date back to the couple’s very first Christmas there. “Ryerson’s family was visiting and we didn’t have a thing,” says Michele, “so I went out and bought various pieces from Peter Jones, one of the old Sloane Square department stores. I still have those decorations, and every year since then I’ve added to them – it doesn’t matter where I am, I always find something. Our collection is a true reflection of where we’ve been.” The tree features beautiful Murano glass balls, hand-stitched items, interesting ornaments that depict the six wives of Henry VIII, and hand-painted eggs from Prague.

Traditional Christmas tree
The huge tree in the library is decked out with ornaments collected over many years. “There’s no point in having a precious Christmas tree that the kids can’t help with,” says homeowner Michele Leighton Symons. However, they pitch in after their mum has hung all of the Murano glass balls. The prints on the wall are of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, England, housed in what became known colloquially as the Crystal Palace, and are a reminder to Michele of her thesis on Canada’s participation in the first World’s Fair. The English Regency Gothic Revival chandelier was sourced in England as Michele planned the decor of her new house. Stylistically, it works beautifully with the late 19th-century Aesthetic Movement mirror and sconces.

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