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June, 2012

  1. Cameron MacNeil – House and Home Magazine's Design Genius

    June 29, 2012 by admin

    I had a fantastic time catching up with my friend Cameron MacNeil (of House & Home fame) last night at Tommaso’s on Eastern Avenue where he caught me up on the exciting new adventures headed his way.

    It got me thinking about all of the amazing spaces Cameron, that talented design genius, has created over the years and I wanted to share them with you here.  Cameron has been a designer at House & Home for over 10 years now and he has a serious portfolio to show for it.


    Cameron – you’re the best.

    Cameron’s famous Ask A Designer page in House & Home Magazine

  2. Sarah 101: Carlene's Kitchen and Jaime and Rob's Bedroom

    June 28, 2012 by admin

    Okay another week, another Sarah 101 episode!  I know you’ve all been glued to HGTV on Tuesday’s to see what design adventures Sarah’s team has been up to.  This week featured a black, white and beeswax candle yellow kitchen and a smokey, sophisticated master bedroom.

    Now, I knew this day would come since I knew something disastrous happened to me while working on Carlene’s kitchen.  So when the episode aired, my friend Kristin texted me at the store to fill me in.  Here’s an exact transcript of said texts:

    Kristin: Ohmygosh today’s Sarah 101 you locked your keys in the car?!!  Bahaha

    Michael:  Oh brother!  I don’t wanna see it!

    Kristin:  Don’t worry…it’s fleeting, but funny!

    Michael:  Ugh.

    When I got home and watched it on PVR I cringed.  And smiled.  But mostly cringed.  Luckily Sara had fallen asleep and hasn’t seen it…yet.  But back to the show – here’s Carlene’s lacklustre kitchen BEFORE

    And AFTER some design magic!

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    With a mixture of black and white Ikea cabinets, stone counters, architectural salvage and some ebony/ivory looking knobs, this kitchen has tons of personality.  I was especially proud of the brass topped canisters I found for this one and the vintage yellow tea towels from my friends at Found.  Click on the Found link and you can by the very same ones Sarah and Tommy did!  And the long mirror above was the topic of much discussion one late evening (same day I locked the keys in the car) but I think it looks fantastic here!

    Now, here’s Jaime and Rob’s classic but boring bedroom BEFORE:

    And here it is AFTER some gorgeous smokey paint has been applied, some charming romans, an amazing headboard, and KILLER lamps that remind me very much of Bunny Williams lamps, even though these ones are vintage.  Good find Tommy and Sarah!

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Moody and romantic, patterned and glossy, this bedroom has it all.  It certainly lives up to the potential of this house and just might be my favourite room so far in this season of Sarah 101.  But what do you think?

  3. Chatelaine Magazine + Penney & Company!

    June 27, 2012 by admin

    Sorry for the silence so far today!  It’s been one wild and crazy day at Penney & CompanyChatelaine Magazine came in for a photo shoot!

    The Chatelaine Magazine Crew outside Penney & Co


    If you’re someone who thinks magazines just come in and take a few pretty pictures, LET. ME. TELL. YOU!  That’s not how it is at all!  Luckily I’m used to the drill but I think some of my Penney & Company customers today were shocked at the upheaval a little photo shoot can produce.  Let’s just say it takes a lot of mess to make all that pretty.  Chatelaine Home Editors Virginie Martocq and Julia Black were wonderful to work with, as was the whole team.  Can’t wait to see my little shop in the glossy pages of one of Canada’s most read magazines!
    Thanks Chatelaine!!

  4. Whitby Harbour

    June 26, 2012 by admin

    Here’s just another reason why I love my hometown.  The Whitby Harbour is such a lovely spot for a sunset stroll, just like the one Sara and I took recently.  I took a few snaps, and then put the camera away to just enjoy the moment (the perils of being a blogger!).  The breeze was beautiful, the sound of the waves lapping, the scent of the old fashion roses planted everywhere…pretty blissful.  Yesterday I spent the day in downtown Toronto and got my fast-paced, go-go-go fix – but to be honest, I’m so glad I have this to come home to.

    Whitby Harbour in June


    Whitby Harbour in June


    Whitby (home of the marigold!) overlooking Lake Ontario


    Whitby Harbour in June


    The foot bridge smothered in roses at Whitby Harbour

  5. Martha Stewart's East Hampton House

    June 22, 2012 by admin

    I’ve always loved Martha Stewart’s East Hampton house.  It’s called Lilly Pond Lane and features her signature teal/green painted trim mixed with weathered cedar shakes.  It also has a porch covered in climbing roses.  Heaven if you ask me.

    Martha posted some pictures of Lily Pond Lane this spring and I am more than jealous. Okay let’s call it inspired…



    Oh Martha! This one’s an oldie!


    And you can see how much I’ve always loved this house in some of my work…do these colours look familiar?

    Michael Penney for Chatelaine Magazine

  6. Sarah 101: Ladylike Bachelorette and Space-Meets-Preppy Kid's Room

    June 21, 2012 by admin

    Tuesday’s newest episodes of Sarah 101 were a real treat to watch – I was so proud of the work we’d done on these two spaces!  Nicole’s bland condo got a serious style upgrade and I was especially excited about the use of mint green and emerald.  If you’re not into these colours yet, just you wait – they’re definitely a big trend.

    Alex’s mishmash of a bedroom looks like many subdivision rooms lacking in inspiration and detail.  Sarah, Tommy and the team transformed it with moulding, multipurpose furniture and lots of colour and pattern.  All things I love! It spoke to Alex’s interests without being too theme-y if you know what I mean.  I hope these  were fun and inspiring episodes for you to watch!  Here’s the recap…

    Nicole’s bllllaaaaand bachelorette condo downtown…

    And AFTER with a dash of mint and emerald!

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    And then there’s young Alex’s bedroom before…

    And the dramatic AFTER!

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    A slight difference right???

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Sarah Richardson Design Inc

    Oh and you may have noticed lots of cameos from me in these two episodes and all I can say is…

    Can someone get me some less-saggy jeans?!  Oh and yes – I do love stripes – ask anyone.

    To see Nicole’s condo transformation, click here.

    To see Alex’s bedroom go from zero to hero, click here.

  7. Threatened George McLaughlin House Interiors

    June 20, 2012 by admin

    As fascinating as George McLaughlin’s 1880 stone house is from the outside, I knew you’d want to see and appreciate it from the inside too!  Looks like it’s been tinkered with over the years but it has so many charming features including gorgeous wooden floors, the pointed arch front door, dormers and a gracious stairway.

    Check it out  – looks like the plan is to demolish all of this.  Along with Katherine, Rosemary McConkey is fighting to save the stone house.  Hopefully, under their leadership we can make a difference.

    George McLaughlin’s 1880 Stone House, Oshawa

  8. Local History about to be Destroyed

    June 19, 2012 by admin

    One of the great things about working in my hometown in a little shop is I get to meet so many interesting and passionate people.  One such person is Katherine Vanular.  She’s a local history buff and has alerted me to the plight of a local historical landmark about to be destroyed in the name of a subdivision.

    The house is on the east side of Simcoe Street in Oshawa on the sight of the old Windfields Farm (home of E.P. Taylor’s Northern Dancer and many other prized horses).  Before E.P. Taylor owned the farm, it belonged to the McLaughlin family – both Col. Sam McLaughlin and his brother George McLaughlin.  These two were pillars of the community we owe them for many, many aspects of our local community today including scouting, libraries and parks and the lakeshore.  It was George McLaughlin who owned this gorgeous piece of local and architectural history.

    George McLaughlin House, Simcoe Street, Oshawa

    It has so many charming and significant aspects like the stonework, story-book roofline and dormers.  The arches and bay window also get me!

    George McLaughlin House, Simcoe Street, Oshawa

    There’s even this gorgeous shaded porch on the north side for easy summer living…

    George McLaughlin House, Simcoe Street, Oshawa

    George McLaughlin may not be as well-known as his brother Col. Sam McLaughlin, but George was a key member of the original General Motors Company of Canada and retired to become a ‘Master Farmer’, helping to improve standards for Canadian agriculture and creating a landmark farm on this Oshawa property where his stone house stands.  Originally the foreman’s house for McLaughlin’s farm, this beautiful home stands as a piece of local history and tells the tale of ground-breaking farming industry and a family that meant so much to this community.

    George McLaughlin and his young family

    There are numerous historical records and newspaper clippings to commemorate George McLaughlin and his impact on early Oshawa.  Here’s just one example of a story depicting a banquet for the illustrious George McLaughlin – held at the once-posh Genosha Hotel!  This shot kills me!

    Banquet honouring George McLaughlin at The Genosha Hotel, Oshawa

    The Genosha Hotel is in ruins now after becoming a house of ill-repute, but that’s an entirely different story!  Luckily it still stands, waiting new life…

    The old stone George McLaughlin house is threatened with certain doom by developers who have bought the land for a subdivision.  They’ve even been so bold as to base the architectural theme of the subdivision on the local Oshawa Arts and Crafts style architecture, which includes this very house!  They’ve used it as inspiration, and now they’re going to demolish it.  It seems that Rio Can now owns the exact spot the house is on so I’m guessing we’ll be losing our history and heritage to another Shopper’s Drugmart?

    To make matters worse, there is another historical landmark farm house on the property – originally built by the Masson Family (Masson Street is around the corner from my house today and is one of the prettiest streets in town) and it too is scheduled to be demolished!

    Masson Farm House, Oshawa

    In the E.P. Taylor days, the Masson farmhouse was used as the ladies residence.  You can see it in it’s glory days below with a period General Motors car parked outside with tidy awnings, shutters and hanging plants.  Now it’s been boarded up and is awaiting the wrecking ball.

    The Masson Farm house before and today

    In an area like Durham where there seems to be nothing but subdivisions, new slap-together housing and strip malls and plazas, we must protect what little history we have left!  A town with no sense of history is a very shallowly rooted place indeed.  It’s a common history and an appreciation for the men and women who built our communities that holds us together.

    Katherine and her team recognize this and that’s why they’re fighting to save the George McLaughlin house – to keep it in its original context as a beacon of what formed the very city around it.  Katherine has met with much resistance and much more apathy from the city councils they’ve pleaded with.  In many ways it seems like a losing battle unless people come together and support the cause, letting their concern be heard.  To read all about their fight and the developments of this pressing matter, click here.

    Katherine and her band of history-protectors. Behind them stands the George McLaughlin house and the new sales house that’s been built in front of it! Maybe the developers want us to forget its back there?

  9. Dinner with Family

    June 18, 2012 by admin

    Well I hope everyone had a nice weekend!  And if you had the chance to celebrate Father’s day with dear old dad, I hope that was swell too!  We had the chance to visit with both Sara’s and my family this weekend.  It was a lovely time to be together with family, to catch up and to eat – a lot!  We had my family over for a father’s day barbecue last night and I took a couple of snaps to show you all…

    The table was set with our favourite cloth from Ten Thousand Villages, Ikea woven chargers and Jadite plates from our collection.

    Large bell shaped hurricanes are filled with beans and pillar candles for a warm glow and a collection of old glass bottles (some that were medicine bottles from Sara’s grandpa who was a doctor!) are filled with David Austin roses and Lady’s Mantle from our garden.  The roses bushes are gigantic this year!  One is taller than Sara and it’s only 1 year old!  This casual display suited the breezy summer barbecue feeling, don’t you think?

    And this very special and very fancy place setting was created especially for our 4 year old nephew.  Rubber placemat  – check!  Melamine Sesame Street Plate (from Sara’s childhood!) – check!  Plastic cup with lid and fun straw – check, check!  It was as delicious evening…

  10. Ikea Hack: Stylish Etagere!

    June 15, 2012 by admin

    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!!!