Photography Donna Griffith
Learn how homeware retailer and master decorator Michael Penney dressed his home for Easter with ease.
Delightful Easter decor is a hop, skip and a jump away at Michael Penney's Oshawa, Ont., home. Furnished mostly with goods from his chic Whitby-based shop, Penney & Co., the circa-'30s house boasts a muted palette and a pleasing updated traditional esthetic. "There's no strong colour scheme, so I can switch things up without much fuss," says Penney. Keen to create a cute-not-kitsch, sweet-not-saccharine spring atmosphere, this design-savvy homeowner decorated sparingly, concentrating displays in a few central zones. Here, we highlight these masterful moments.
Ready to greet guests, the home's original 1930s front door is dressed with a whimsical woodland-inspired DIY wreath. The dollar-store plastic-foam eggs (cut in half with a utility knife so they don't protrude too much) pick up on the door's light green hue.
A sophisticated take on the classic childhood Easter basket, this sweet party-favour display came together in a flash: Satin ribbon, some excelsior and a couple of faux fern fronds were all the adornment the antiqued white baskets needed. "It doesn't take a lot," says Penney. "And don't overdo it baking and decorating cookies," he adds, noting these are from a favourite bakery.
On the living-room fireplace mantel, off-white McCoy and Haeger pottery gets a simple holiday makeover with grocery-store tulips, found branches and ready-made ornaments. The rabbit-themed garland subtly references Easter.
Fern print, penneyandcompanyhome.com.
"Instead of dotting flowers around your house, make a statement in a key area by grouping them," says Penney. Daffodils, lilies of the valley, tulips, hyacinths, pussy willows and muscari—all the spring favourites are represented in this floral display, which sits on an antique dresser, centrally located in the living room. Hyper-utilitarian vessels keep the look from being too precious.
Penney sets the table with his daughter Hannah. The sunny runner, a vibrant forsythia garland, is actually fake. "With an artificial garland, you get an inexpensive accent that you can use year after year," says the decorator, who fooled the eye—and nose—by tucking in a few fragrant cuttings of the real thing.
PRACTICAL & PRETTY
Repurpose tin cans as vases for an unfussy floral display.
Metal tray and placemats, penneyandcompanyhome.com.
SET THE MOOD
Formal gilded dinnerware and heirloom silverware are balanced with down-to-earth woven placemats. The mix is a great example of this decorator's casual-meets-elegant spin on style. "I also like these place settings for Easter because they reference a bird's nest and eggs," he says. Pretty pastel-pink napkins are another subtle festive nod.