Decorator Michael Penney uses natural elements to give a family home festive flair that's perfect for welcoming loved ones.
Whitby homeowner Jennifer Brumley turned to decorator Michael Penney, owner of three Whitby decor stores, Penney & Company, Pineapple Street and Sweet Violet, for help with her holiday decor. “Jennifer is a regular at my shops, and we quickly struck up a friendship,” says Michael. “She has a huge passion for design, so I let the style of her home set the tone, and we built up the scheme from there.”
Michael relied on an abundance of greenery, such as boxwood, seeded eucalyptus, tiny fir trees and moss, to bring Christmasy charm to the space. “I used natural materials, including branches and berries, to really highlight these beautiful rooms in a quiet yet seasonal way,” he says. His task was to merge Jennifer’s desired minimalism with full-on Christmas trimmings, something he claims is quite easy. “Minimal doesn’t have to mean sparse,” says Michael. “Limit the number of elements in the scheme – just a few key colours or materials, for example – then repeat them throughout for a look that’s full and festive but doesn’t assault the senses.”
Like all good decorators, Michael likes to add an unexpected touch to a room as a talking point. His choice of accent colours in the couple’s home, for example, livens up the mostly natural scheme. To many, the cool pale aqua and purple Christmas ornaments might seem out of place in an otherwise traditional palette. But not to Michael: “Don’t worry about being perfect, because in the end it will be boring and generic. Build on personal traditions and highlight what you love.” That’s something Jennifer’s family has done for many Christmases and will continue to do in the years to come.