Archive for the ‘Do It Yourself’ Category

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this transformation!  So you know those oh-so-stylish brass etageres that create the perfect balance of height and display with a touch of metallic luxury?  You know, like these from House & Home’s story on Tommy Smythe and Lonny Magazine?

Design by Tommy Smythe; House & Home Magazine

Lonny Magazine

Gorgeous right?  Well can you believe what Ana Antunes (found via Little Green Notebook) did with this affordable Ikea version?  She painted this $90 Ikea VITTSJO shelving unit gold!  You could do gold leaf the shelf (been there done that) or use one of the new metallic spray paints (that’s what I’d do!) and get this luxe look for muuuuuuuuch less!  Check out the before and after!

Ikea’s VITTSJO $90


A little metallic spray paint and you’re golden (bah ha ha!)

Why not give it a try?  Hey wait, this would be perfect in my store!!!


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The Marilyn Show has updated the video for the makeover – now you can see the before and after and some project befores and afters too!  For the update, click here.

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Oh my gosh what a crazy day!  It all started at five something when I dragged my butt out of bed and sat in rush hour traffic to get town to 299 Queen Street West to tape a live episode of The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV.  It was a busy day at that Bell Media hub with celebrities coming and going in black SUV’s with drivers.  I’m sure you’ll see lots of that on The Marilyn Show and E Talk in the coming days.  The segment went off without a hitch and Marilyn and her producers were kind enough to feature Penney & Company , so I gave a little guided tour!  The first segment is of Penney & Company and the ‘BEFORE’ living room in need of some ‘pulling together’.  Check it out!

I decided to wear summery shorts, Sperry’s and a blue/white gingham shirt.  But I forgot gingham is a no-no on camera (it gets all fuzzy and crazy on your tv) so I had to borrow Ben Mulroney’s shirt from upstairs at E Talk!  Oh my gosh – how crazy is that?!  So a grey solid shirt it was!  Good thing it fit…

Then it was on to the commercial-length makeover and ta-da!  Check out some of the results here.

By injecting some much needed colour and some fun DIY projects, this boring basic living room was transformed and now feels fun, fresh and ready for family living.

And when it was all over?  We watched a few more celebrities from the sidelines, packed up my little car with lots of pillows, lamps and accessories and I came right back to the shop and sold a bit of vintage jewelry.  I told you it was a crazy day.

Now I want to go have a nap.

UPDATE!  They’ve added a fun behind the scenes video of me transforming the set on the commercial break.  TV is fast-paced craziness I tell ya!

Check it out here.

And here are the projects – BEFORE and AFTER!

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Painted Lamp Shades

I’m really feeling these glossy painted lampshades.  It’s something a little different and feels fresh even though it’s totally old-school.  I hardly ever see these rigid cardboard type lampshades out there, so I must keep my eye out for them at flea markets and thrift shops.  Maybe I can paint some in some fun colours for spring!


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For those of you who aren’t home during the day to see the Marilyn Denis Show and missed me last Thursday, I’ve got you covered!  To watch the segment (full of simple ideas for transforming basic bedding into something special) click here.

Also you might want to re-watch for me losing my mind and doing the classic Seinfeld ‘Elaine Dance‘ for the world to see…what was I thinking?!?

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DIY Art Pottery

So recently I was asked to restyle the Marilyn Denis set on a budget.  I needed to stretch each dollar and try to bring a bit more freshness and colour to the set for spring.  For colour, I shopped affordable sources like West Elm, HomeSense and Urban Barn (and some DIY art).  For freshness I wanted to add some crisp white by using a lacquered white credenza on the stage, some furry white cushions and some DIY art pottery.

Here’s where the pottery started – Value Village clear vases and ceramic ones too.

And here’s where they ended – on national TV with Diane Keaton no less!

That’s them in the back on the credenza.  The orange lacquered tray is from West Elm and looks great with the vases.  To do this yourself…


1) Visit your local thrift shop and pick a selection of vases (glass and pottery) focusing on shape and scale.  Look for some tall, some squat, and curves are good.

2) Pick up some flat white spray paint.  One can will do 4 or 5 vases.

3) Get spray painting!  I used a clementine wooden crate as a little riser to make it easier to get the spray paint right down to the bottom of each vase.  Working outside is a good idea.

4) Group vases together in a tray, on a book shelf with books or on a mantle.  Enjoy!

Oh and remember the DIY art?  It looks great next to Diane too!

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Store update:  I’m heading over there this morning to do a little prep.  I cannot contain my excitement!!!  More to come when I have two seconds to string together…

In other news…I stumbled upon this image I created a few years back and thought it was worth revisiting (especially for my newer followers).  It’s a picture taken by the lovely and talented Kim Jeffery in the front hall of my chic young sister in law’s first apartment.  Sara and I met her for coffee downtown yesterday where she’s an up-and-coming advertising star and well beyond needing my advice, but I digress..

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Kim Jeffery

Anyway, I love how this little project illustrates classic decorating ideas applied to little-to-no money scenarios.  The mirror was found in a basement and kind of hideous and gaudy until we painted it black.  The rustic console is substantial yet airy and was found curb-side and carried home.  The lamp base is Ikea with a different shade.  The blue and white plates (applied in a geometric and symmetrical motif, very decorator) were dirt cheap from China Town.  It’s the perfect place to drop mail and keys and a nice way to dress an awkward area of the apartment.  The chair you see (craigslist) is from the adjoining living area so ignore that for front hall purposes.

Hope you can pick up a few ideas here!  I’m off to the store!  Yay!

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