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September, 2012

  1. Colourful Upcycled Sideboards

    September 28, 2012 by admin

    I came across this shot on recently and remembered how much I loved it!  It was from a story on fashion-inspired rooms crafted by my friends Cameron MacNeil and Stacey Smithers of House & Home Magazine.

    I thought this was a good example of an upcycled buffet or sideboard that would make for the perfect media unit or dining room storage in any home.  Just a few coats of paint in a fashion-forward colour and you’re off!  Cameron and Stacey went the extra mile and had a piece of marble cut for the top which takes this project over the top!

    After looking around I found lots of wonderful examples of painted sideboards.  Pick the colour and style that suits you best!  So check it out and give it a try!

    Created by Cameron MacNeil & Stacey Smithers; Photography by Donna Griffith; House & Home Magazine






  2. Black Furniture For Fall

    September 27, 2012 by admin

    I was telling a friend recently that I don’t usually go for black painted furniture.  Well this fall I may be changing my tune.  I was really into a black painted armoire I saw from Restoration Hardware and some other pieces on their site.

    I think they suit the cozy up for fall/winter feeling that’s getting me right now.  And if you mix it with other pieces that aren’t too heavy themselves, this can be a look that lasts.  What do you think?

    In fact this trend reinforces the paint job I gave that media credenza recently…and I just got in a set of gorgeous black x-back cafe chairs you should really see…

    Penney & Co

    Penney & Co Cafe Chair

  3. Penney & Company + Chatelaine Magazine!

    September 26, 2012 by admin

    Exciting news!  Penney & Company has been featured in the October issue of Chatelaine Magazine!  There’s a fun little piece featuring one of my treasures at the shop – a vintage chair that was saved from rack and ruin and transformed with glorious fabric.

    Check it out on news stands today!  And for more on this story and some tips from me, visit now!



    P.S. There’s also a sweet story on my former House & Home colleague (now Chatelaine-er) Amy Rosen’s house, designed by my other former House & Home friend, Cameron Macneil.  Check it out too!

  4. Fresh Manhattan Apartment

    September 25, 2012 by admin

    Today I saw this beautiful prewar apartment in New York (on  that I wanted to share with you.  It’s full of traditional touches, updated in a fresh, crisp palette.

    Designer Lily Weekes decorated the space with a spare hand to keep the old-world elements from getting too heavy and I think these images provide some good lessons for how to do just that.

    Here we basically have a symmetrical and formal layout, but it doesn’t feel stuffy because of modern touches like the lucite coffee table, punchy blue lamps, casual carpet and berger chairs upholstered in a natural raffia.

    What could be more traditional than a fringed skirted table with a collection of framed photos?  Not much, but this one looks just right today.

    The kitchen’s graphic black and white tiles (I believe they’re cement) are raw and laid back and work perfectly with the white cabinetry and typical stainless range.  The chair form is formal again but relaxed because of the upholstery and the pendant is just fun.

    You know I love a Hinson splatter wallpaper and red shaded brass pendants and the blue and white scheme make this a room to die for in my books…

    This curvaceous headboard isn’t too much (so many are!!) because of its simple upholstery and I love the trad wall-t0-wall carpet in a graphic pattern.  The Bungalow 5 end tables are a nice, simple option and the touch of brass sings.

    Love this apartment!

  5. NEW! At Penney & Company

    September 21, 2012 by admin

    UPDATE:  This piece has been SOLD.


    Check out this gorgeous sideboard/media credenza!  It’s original purpose is for storing dishes and providing a surface from which to serve food but of course that’s only one interpretation!

    I love the idea of using this curvaceous one-of-a-kind piece to hold a flat screen TV and hide the many media components behind closed doors.  Not to mention conceal cords!  Plus you still have three large drawers – with solid wood construction – to hold odds and sods!

    Come see it soon at Penney & Company!

    Penney & Company Vintage Credenza or Sideboard $565

  6. Diana Vreeland Film

    September 21, 2012 by admin

    Do you know about Diana Vreeland?  She was the legendary Editor-in-Chief at American Vogue for years (also at Harper’s Bazzar) and literally transformed the genre throughout her career.  Vreeland is legendary in style-obsessed circles for her inimitable taste and persona and for pushing the boundaries of beauty and fantasy.

    Diana Vreeland

    Now she is the subject of an exciting new film, due out September 21st called Diana Vreeland:  The Eye Has To Travel.  Charlotte Moss has a wonderful piece all about it over at

    Not sure where it will play in Canada (probably the Varsity in the Manulife Centre in Toronto eventually) but you can find more info on the film here.

    In the mean time, see what the fuss is all about by watching this exciting trailer!

  7. Work Around The House

    September 20, 2012 by admin

    Well I have to admit, our house has taken a bit of a back seat this spring/summer.  With opening Penney & Company and taking on so many decorating clients, freelance magazine gigs, TV and more, there just hasn’t been time to putter in the garden or touch up chipped paint.  It’s okay though; things, I trust, will even out and I’ll be able to steal a bit of time here and there to take care of the house.

    Our House. Photography by Donna Griffith as published in House & Home Magazine

    This past two weeks, we’ve had two major jobs done.  First, we had our furnace and air conditioner replaced.  Second we had our eaves troughs completely replaced.  Two big, expensive jobs that don’t rate high on the pretty or decorative scale.  But you know, they do give a certain feeling of satisfaction knowing we’re taking care of our nearly 100 year old house.  It feels good to tend to it and keep it in good shape.

    Next, I have a little fall gardening on my mind.  Our street was torn up for road work all summer and we now have a new side walk and boulevard with some fresh new grass.  I really like it!  But it’s time to add a little landscaping and provide more separation from the street.  I’ve wanted to extend our existing privet hedge for a while now and also add some flowering crabapple trees.

    Privet hedging is so lush and a true classic!


    It’ll take a while for our little crabapples to look like this!


    Flowering Crabapple


    Well you can imagine my joyful surprise when I found two pink flowering crabapple trees at my local Home Depot on sale for $20 a tree!  And then, I found three flats of privet shrubs (a good 12-14″ tall) for TWO DOLLARS A SHRUB!  I loaded up the car and drove home with tree branches around my head (looking like a Mr. Bean episode if I ever saw one) and am looking forward to planting them soon.

    I’ll let you know how it goes!

  8. Dazzling Dahlias

    September 19, 2012 by admin

    This past weekend Sara displayed some beautiful fall blossoms in Penney & Company beaker vases.  They got lots of oohs and ahhhs but many people didn’t know what type of flowers they were.

    Sara acting as florist on Heritage Day in downtown Whitby on Saturday

    They were in fact dazzling dahlias -one of my favourite flowers and if you’re not acquainted with them, I want to share them with you here.


    I feel like when people are asked what their favourite flower is nowadays, they are getting better at moving beyond Rose or Daisy and have included Peony in that list.  While peonies are one of my ultimate favourite blooms, I think it’s time more people knew about dahlias too!  So here they are in all their late summer/autumn glory.

    Get to know ’em, buy them at the flower shop, and maybe plant some in your garden next spring!






    See – what’s not to love?  They’re in season now, so bring some into your home today!

  9. Painter's Tape Trick

    September 17, 2012 by admin

    Happy Monday morning everyone!  Hope you’re all bright eyed and bushy tailed!  If so, you’ll be thinking about decorating projects like I am, especially painting an old piece of furniture.  This is something I do even more since opening Penney & Company!

    When I paint a piece I try to be as neat and tidy as possible, but sometimes I miss the mark in some hidden areas.  One is the inside of cabinet doors where the paint I’m using meets the wooden interior.  A great trick I’ll be using from now on is to use a medium tack painter’s tape (I like 3M’s Scotch Blue Tape) to create a clean defined border.  Using a utility knife gets clean edges too instead of tearing.


    Just tape off the area where you don’t want paint…


    And paint as normal.  Your project will of course look great on the outside when you’re done, but you’ll know the inside is nice and neat too!  Give it a try!

  10. Happy Friday!

    September 14, 2012 by admin

    It’s Friday and this has been a whirlwind of a week for me and getting ready at the shop!  I hope you’ll all come out to Heritage Day in Whitby tomorrow for all of the fun and festivities.  I’ve been busy like a bee getting the shop ready and I can’t wait to see you all and share my new finds!

    Since its Friday and I’m rushed off my feet, let’s indulge in a little Friday Fluff shall we?  How about celebrity real estate?!  Not usually my bag since I usually find Hollywood style to be a little tacky.  But for once a pair of celebrities (newly married Blake Lively and Canadian Ryan Renyolds) have chosen something that gets my stamp of approval!  I know, they were waiting for it…

    Here’s their gorgeous, understated and so not-L.A. home in Bedford New York (I guess that makes Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren neighbours…)  Pretty isn’t it?  I’m so glad to see people using their gobs of cash for something nice, not, well O.T.T!

    The Newlyweds






    Happy Friday everyone!  See you tomorrow!