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End Of An Era: Leaving My House & Home

August 23, 2011 by admin

In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t been posting too much lately.  There’s a reason – my life has felt  a little upside down lately.  After four wonderful years, I am leaving my position as Style Editor at Canadian House & Home Magazine.

This is my last week – in fact today is my last photo shoot and last week was my last H&H episode shoot.  It’s with a heavy heart that I will say good bye to all that I’ve known at this amazing hub of creativity and exploration.  House & Home was my very first job outside of university – I started as an intern and decorated my little hallway office with a fern, lucite side table and vintage wallpaper-covered inspiration board.  I was telling H&H I was here to stay.  And I did.

Within two months of starting as the editorial intern I was producing my first story and was published for the very first time.  I’ll always remember this story and shoot with fondness.  People still tease me about my little title, “Neoclassical Now” a big trend for 2008!

Design by Michael Penney; Photography Michael Graydon; H&H January 2008


From then on, I hit the ground running, attempting to make my mark in the editorial landscape with sunny, optimistic designs and a can-do approach.  Since my own decorating budget was tiny, I often improvised with DIY projects and this became part of my niche at H&H and allowed me to take on some exciting stories.  By June of 2009, my own little apartment – my first place with my new wife Sara (I got married as an intern!) was published and featured many of my make-do and DIY techniques.  It was my first cover!

Over the next few years I spread my creative wings and had some fun injecting some colour and budget finds into the magazine, making the most of each story and hoping to inspire our readers.  In fact, I was pretty inspired myself by working with such a dedicated and talented team.  The small group that makes up the editorial team at House & Home is full of warm, stylish, creative and hilarious people who I’m proud to call my friends.  It was the first place I’d ever been where I was surrounded by people who really got me and where I was coming from.  I didn’t have to explain why a vintage find got me so fired up, nor restrain my enthusiasm for a certain paint colour.  They were just as excited and joined me in gushing about style, decorating, DIY and the latest mags on the new stands.  Below are some of my favourite stories and rooms created for House & Home. (Check out the portfolio tab above for more.)

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Angus Fergusson; House & Home Magazine

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Donna Griffith; House & Home Magazine

Styling by Michael Penney; Photography by Tracy Schumate; House & Home Magazine

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Michael Graydon; House & Home Magazine

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Angus Fergusson; House & Home Makeovers Issue

Another special highlight was decorating the condo of an H&H colleague for a special issue.  Using the existing modern shell (and keeping it untouched) but layering it up with vintage and global finds transformed this box in the sky to a real home that reflected the owner and her life.

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Angus Fergusson; House & Home Condos, Lofts & Apartments

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Angus Fergusson; House & Home Condos Lofts & Apartments

This spring was another highlight for my career at H&H – Sara and I had our first house published in the June issue.  Once again filled with affordable tips and tricks (a necessity around our house!) and inspired by the traditional colours and motifs of Maine and the northeastern coast, our house is truly a home and yes, it actually looks like this!  I can count on one hand the fancy props we borrowed for the shoot and trust me, they are minor.  Fancy photography never hurt though…

Photography by Donna Griffith; House & Home Magazine

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Donna Griffith; House & Home Magazine

It’s been a wild and wonderful ride.  I’ll never forget the amazing transformations we created – taking a blank studio with concrete floors and turning it into a warm and inspiring living space.  Just like this one…

Design by Michael Penney; Photography by Angus Fergusson; House & Home Magazine

The transformations alway seemed truly magical!

And so, with only four days to go, I bid farewell to my home away from home –  my House & Home.  A new chapter begins.



  1. Mary says:

    I’m sure only good things lay ahead of you. You are very talented. I wish you luck with your next journey.
    Will you be keeping your blog?

  2. Mary says:

    Where are you going?

  3. irene Szabo says:

    Hi Michael,
    I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing what you are going to be doing in the future. I hope you will continue your blog.

  4. Ali Ryan says:

    Hi Michael,

    As a long-time subscriber of H&H, I have to say that I have certainly enjoyed the influence that you have had on the magazine. Good luck with your next endeavor!


  5. Patricia Walker says:

    Michael, I feel a terrible loss in my heart knowing that I won’t be seeing your work in House and Home from now on. It has been a wonderful experience working with you at different times. You are a true gentleman and what you see is what you get! I wish you all the best for the future! Pat Walker

  6. So surprised to hear this Michael – I too thought you would be at H&H for the very long run! But no doubt something even more exciting is on the horizon for you. Hope you’ll keep us readers informed as to what that is!

    I appreciated what you brought to the magazine. There was always a level of accessibility to your work that wasn’t evident in the magazine before. Best of luck to you.

  7. Mike says:

    It’s been a pleasure being with you on your journey at H&H;reading your work was like talking with a really good friend who shares the same interests.Always fun & never a dull moment ! I do look forward to more of your blog,it’s always a treat when it pops up in my inbox! Best of luck in your new endeavours & keep us posted!

  8. Michael, I will miss seeing and reading your features in House & Home….but I’m excited to find out where you are headed next. And of course, I have all your wonderful, insightful blog posts to look forward to. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!!
    Christine xo
    Decor by Christine/The Glam Blog
    PS: That first pic from Jan 2008 issue is still in one of my inspirational room folders — it’s definitely a classic!!!

  9. Sandy says:

    Where are you going? Hope you’ll continue to blog and glad you have my email. All the best.

  10. Emma says:

    Wow – you are very courageous, Michael! I know how hard it is to leave a job you’ve loved and grown up in. Looking forward to hearing more about your future plans!

  11. Nancy gaylord says:

    Michael,I am so sorry that you are leaving H&H. I just started to follow your posts and have enjoyed every one. Best wishes and good luck with your next journey. If you are ever just north of Tweed and see a little antique store just off the highway please stop and say hello. Nancy

  12. margo ayotte says:

    Michael, you have been an inspiration to me, your sense of style and accessibility is unique in the design world. I wish you only good things and hope that you will continue to take us loyal fans along on your journey.


  13. Well, I’m sorry to hear this – I loved your work in the magazine. Your relaxed and classic design aesthetic, vintage finds and DIY appealed to many readers including myself.

    I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you – I’m sure it will be fab. To accomplish what you have already at such a young age is remarkable. Best of luck Michael!

  14. Sarah says:

    I too very much appreciated the accessibility of your work. Best of luck in your new endeavour!

  15. Tracey says:

    Michael, (Tracey from Australia here again). OMG! I only subscribed to H&H because of your work. I absolutely love your style and enthusiam for decorating and excitement about individual items and your vision for how to put it all together. I have purchased decorating magazines for over 20 years from all over the world and I must say this is the first time I have “followed” an individual designer and it’s because you consistently produce work that I love. I could happily have moved straight into the condo you decorated and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I can only hope you let us all know what you choose to do next and share it with us. (Remember, you now have thousands of people who “get” what you are excited about and understand why vintage finds get you fired up). So PLEASE keep sharing your enthusiasm for paint colours and everything else with all your loyal “followers”. Best of luck to you and Sara in the next phase of your life together. Stay enthusiastic and stay happy – it’s infectious. Cheers, Tracey.

    • Thanks everybody. This has been a bit of a hard week and I’m so encouraged by all of your support. Sara keeps saying it’s so saaaaad and hugging me. But, don’t worry, the future will be full of decorating!


  16. You will be missed at House and Home. Your slyle is comforting and yet has an edge.
    Best of luck. You will let us know, soon I hope where you will be.

  17. Mike says:

    Good for you,Michael! As an older British lady once told me in a sympathetic moment “Keep your pecker up,love” You’ll carry on & no doubt dazzle us with your future work.We’re all behind you!

  18. Nancy gaylord says:

    Michael, I just wanted to leave one more message. Please sign me up if you continue to have another blog. I just feel it in my bones that we haven’t heard the last from you. You are so talented. Nancy

  19. Stacey says:

    I will certainly miss your work in H&H! I hope you keep blogging and sharing your magical glimpses into quiet corners, and your passionate appreciation for beauty in all things.
    Best of luck and best wishes.


  20. a loss for H&H indeed…you certainly made the magazine feel more approachable and ‘real’. You are a true talent and I know your next journey is going to be an even better one!

  21. Carol says:

    I watched and read with interest your H&H journey and now am awaiting the next chapter. Keep us informed and inspired, Michael.

  22. KatyB says:

    This sort of stinks. I got into House and Home because of you. You are the best thing in the magazine. It makes me sad…oh so very sad. I must have watched the videos of your new and old home about a dozen times. Actually, your videos are usually the only ones I watch. Once more, this is a sad day for a design geek.
    I hope you keep up the blog.

    Just had a thought-You wouldn’t be leaving for another magazine would you? Maybe a bigger magazine named after a very famous home goddess. Perhaps in the states. If I am onto something I would be crazy happy. It would be a good fit.

  23. Oh, your work was definitely my some of my favourite stuff in H&H. The features of your apartment and home (oh, that blue kitchen!) stand out as some of my favourite features.

    I wish you the very best, and I’m glad i found your blog :)

  24. Jayne says:

    where will you be off to next? what wonderful adventure do you have before you?….you are an amazing, and very talanted young man Michael… wishes for all that is ahead of you!! from one of you’re fans….don’t forget us!

  25. Paula Nolan says:

    Ugh…bummer news from Our Friendly Neighbourhood Decorator. Please tell us a new, wonderful, challenging opportunity has come your way. This year the issue featuring your home was my favourite. I honestly don’t know how the void created by your leaving is going to be filled with the current staff. They are all wonderful and talented, I know…but you struck a chord with so many readers.
    House and Home, as well as Style at Home are the decor mags I’ve enjoyed in recent years. But I think it was your influence at H&H that made it easy for me to drop Style at Home. Quite frankly, I don’t think Erin has done such a great job taking over as editor and I have often thought that Margot Austin or yourself should be at the helm. So there! I am usually not catty in this way, so I guess I’m pretty upset and ignoring my inner editor.
    Wishing you and Sara all good things. Hope you see a fabric that cheers you!

  26. Cynthia says:


    I am saddened to hear this news, however, I remain hopeful in my heart that your journey will include continued possibilities and opportunities for creating the beautiful spaces for which you are known and loved. As you may remember, I recently discovered your work and blog and read everything about you on the entire Internet in one day. I was that impressed. I wrote you a comment and the next day you responded in such a kind and humble way. That says a lot about you. I will continue to follow you where ever you land! H&H lost their best designer.

  27. Wherever you go next, it will be the right move for you. We will miss you at H&H, but adventure awaits!

  28. linda says:


    You definitely are my favorite at H & H. You brought such a fresh feel to your decorating. I just love it! I also love how you make decorating seem attainable for the average joe. I could always count on you to deliver ideas that were fabulous and doable. Keep us informed on your next move. I hope you keep up the blog. It’s also my favorite. Best wishes, Michael.

  29. Sandy says:

    Oh nooooooo! I wondered that too and thought he wouldn’t sell his house so quickly. Then I thought he would get swallowed up by… you know who…. be told what to do and have a zillion layers of corporate you know who between what Michael creates and what gets published… maybe gets published. … and Michael would not get the credit.

    I was hoping, Michael, that you would go to Style at Home… please say it is so. You were the primary reason I stayed with H&H since Cobi left. I love what Style at Home is doing now.

  30. Steve says:

    I’m sure you have a very colorful (and textured) future ahead of you. Please pack us up (carefully) and take us along for the ride. Please?

  31. Loved all the pieces you put together for H&H. I love your old place and how that little kitchen really lives large with wallpaper and the outdoor rooftop garden!

    Sorry to see you leaving but yes, please keep blogging and let us know where you’re heading next.

  32. Leslie W. says:

    Thank-you for this lovely post. Looking forward to your continuing adventures, which I know you will be sharing with us.

  33. Sharon Labonte says:

    Best of luck to you and yours, Michael! And waiting patiently for the announcement on where you’re going!

  34. so long H&H, don’t tell anyone but, I only read the articles that were produced by you. and I’ am so happy to read all theses wonderful posts, from the start of your adventure at H&H I never doubted that you would influence so so so many people in an inspirational and uplifting way. Your positive attitude truly is contagious and it comes across in every item of furniture you touch. deffiently one of the best blogs hands down!

    you’ll always be my favorite designer!

  35. Tiffany says:

    I have looked forward and thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your beautiful designs. You have allowed us as your readers into not only your work but your home and your life as well. I too hope you will keep up your personal blog as you and your designs are truly inspiring and pray that the “end” of this part of you journey is also a fantastic new “beginning” of the rest!

  36. Alison says:

    Hi Michael!

    I am so excited for you! Best of luck in the future…wherever it will lead.
    H&H has lost a true star!

    Alison P.

  37. naomi says:

    Michael, Love your work and looking forward to seeing where you go! All the best!

  38. Isabella says:

    Great writing in your blog too Michael! From your first and best ever producer & director – the one that ran back to work so excited after filming at your apartment because we had a star on our hands!

  39. marina bishop says:

    hi michael-

    please keep up your blog-your grandmother drank her tea in the morning and read knitting books -i drank tea and read Michael-please keep it up- you have a rare talent and I’m sure you will have success in whatever you-beast wishes and love to you and Sara

  40. […] I thought it looked very similar to a couple chandeliers I have saved away in my inspiration files. Like this one by Michael Penney, formerly of Canadian House and Home. [on a side note, I am very sorry to hear that he is leaving the magazine.] […]

  41. virginia Gaviller says:

    I missed you last week, I was on hols – congratulations on the new gig, I hope you can incorporate Living with Scarves in your new job :)
    Hope to see you soon, Michael, all the best!

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