Archive for October, 2011

I’ve been so busy I almost forgot to say Happy Halloween!

Styling by Stacey Smithers; Photography by Michael Graydon; House & Home Magazine

Wishing you all a spooky, thrilling good time tonight trick-or-treating or whatever!

And now for some scary-good ideas from the dream team of holiday decorating… the editors at Martha Stewart Living…boo!



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300th Post! Wahoo!

Well ladies and gentlemen, this here is the 300th post on michaelpenneystyle.com!  I can’t believe we’ve gotten here already – it hasn’t even been a year yet!  Since I started this blog in January 2011, I’ve been sharing my passion for design, decorating, gardening, old houses and all things stylish and I’m so happy you’ve come along.  Here’s to the next 300!

P.S. Can someone send me a cake just like this to celebrate?

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Amber Grains of Wheat…

There’s something so gorgeous, so inspiring about the colours in nature.  If you train your eye to appreciate the subtle variations in, say a stalk of grain you’ll be amazed at the rich beauty that can be found.  Last fall I styled up my front hallway for a fall decorating story for House & Home.  This wheat sheaf (from a local market) is all the decoration this space needed.  And a luxurious brown ribbon from Mokuba never hurt anyone.

Why not try your hand at decorating with nature?

Styled by Michael Penney; Photography by Janet Kimber; House & Home Magazine, Oct 2011

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I’m kind of obsessed with lamps.

Maybe it’s because it’s next to impossible to find good looking lamps in most stores, and the ones you do find cost a fortune!  I’m always drawn to them – their shape, their colour and the accent they can add to a room.  That’s why I was so thrilled to see these Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams gourd lamps that come in custom colours!  You can order them an a rainbow of shades, most of which are perfect, nuanced and sophisticated colours.  I love their substantial, squat proportions and the shades are lovely too.

Colourful ceramic lamps can really add a playful pop to a neutral space – OR they can be that perfect layer to a full-on decorated space like this one by Miles Redd.  Either way you use them, coloured lamps like these gourds from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams are a great idea!

Design by Miles Redd; House Beautiful Magazine


In Toronto, you can find these lamps at Elte.

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Angus & Company

One of my favourite stores in Toronto is Angus & Company.  Honestly I just love basically everything in there!  It’s so inspiring and since I’ve had the opportunity to visit over the last few years, I’ve gotten to know the staff and the owner, Michael Angus.  He is a wealth of information, great taste and style.  He has created a beautiful store and you should definitely visit – if not just to get your fill of ideas!

You can find Angus & Company at 647 Dupont (Dupont and Christie) in Toronto, or call 416 537 4104.  Or visit angusandcompany.com

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I almost forgot to share the other houses I snapped one morning in the late summer.  All looking for someone to put in a little elbow grease and polish them up to a shine.  Just dreamy!

This one looks like a farm house in the middle of the country!  But it’s actually in town and has a huge piece of property.

Now this one I really like, but it’s on a really busy street.  So stately though.

Here’s a side view of this one.

This one’s in really bad shape but still calls my name.  Those tumbling vines!  I’ll keep dreaming if you do!

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As the air grows crisp and cold, we all start living more indoors.  Layering our homes and adding a bit of time-worn patina seems right somehow. And for this, there’s nothing better than something antique!  Below are images from a beautiful story from Martha Stewart Living in 1999.  This story was all about American colonial furniture but so many of the pieces and ideas are applicable anywhere.

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Framed silhouettes look graphic and mysterious clustered together this way.  I love the pea green walls and the secretair has been faux painted to create a finer grain.

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Above is a stylish glossary of colonial motifs including finely carved ball and claw feet, the gate leg table, tilt-top tea table, chippendale drawer pull and comb-back windsor chair.  Keeping an eye out for these classic motifs at thrift shops and flea markets is a great way to add substance and history to your home.

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Now isn’t this a cozy living room?  A mix-and-match approach to upholstered pieces feels curated and interesting.  I love the variety of colours and the interesting silhouettes of the pieces.  And hey, that chandelier makes me feel good about my own little vintage one!

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Three of my favourite dining chairs in one space – the windsor chair, the shield back and the chippendale.  All good ones to consider pairing with your own dining table!

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Created by Stephen Earle & Scott Schy; Photography by Jason Schmidt, MSL Oct 1999

Yes to the quilt!  Yes to the constitution mirror painted white!  Double yes to the white painted chest of drawers with dark chippendale-style pulls!  If your space is feeling a little too show-room new, consider adding something antique – painted or not.

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