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‘Do It Yourself’ Category

  1. DIY: Stripping A Vintage Metal Tray

    May 12, 2014 by michaelpenneystyle

    I haven’t posted a DIY in a while – things have been a little nutty as you can imagine.  Well today after I put Violet down for a nap I decided to tackle a brand new DIY for the blog.  In fact she’s still sleeping now that I’m creating this post! It’s the perfect simple DIY for a spring afternoon.

    It all started with a vintage octagonal metal tray I picked up at a yard sale this past weekend.

    I kind of like it just as it is and you might too.  But it looks better in the photo than in person – the floral design in the middle is more like a sticker or decal and doesn’t look so great.  If had been just black with gold detailing I probably would have left it as is.  But since as you can see it didn’t cost me a fortune, I thought it was worth trying this DIY I’d been meaning to do for some time now.

    Yes, I decided to strip off all of the old paint!

    Tray Before (kinda cute I know...but wait)

    Tray Before (kinda cute I know…but wait)

    I used a typical paint stripper (called Super Stripper) from the hardware store.  One can is more than enough.  I also used heavy rubber gloves, a disposable paint brush, some steel wool and a metal scraper.  I also completed the whole project on top of two large layers of cardboard.  The stripper is toxic and you don’t want it getting all over the place.

    Simply pour some of the paint stripper onto the tray in a fairly thick layer.  It starts working immediately!

    The process begins!  Lots of paint stripper...

    The process begins! Lots of paint stripper…

    This tray was wonderful because of the slopped sides – it kept the paint stripper in check and held the thick layer in place on the old enamel paint.  See how sections of silver metal are already showing?  This happened very quickly.

    Close up detail

    Close up detail

    Then start using the paint brush (and scraper if you need to) to loosen large sections of the paint.  You’ll see which areas need more effort than others.  But over all its quite easy!  Just be very careful with this toxic chemical and do it outside.

    I see metal!

    I see metal!

    Just keep working at it and once you have one side done, you can turn it over and do the other side.

    Making progress!

    Making progress!

    And once you have the paint mostly off, use steel wool and the scraper to make sure it is totally free of paint.  I used a watering can full of lots of water to rinse the tray off, then used a disposable sponge and lots of soap and water to clean it off and remove the chemical reside that might be there.

    Et Voila!

    Et Voila!

    Looks pretty good!

    There are some age spots and rusty marks which I’m grateful for – I want it to look old, not like a new silver tray.  I was hoping it would look kind of rough and have imperfections beneath the paint.

    It looks good outside leaned against my shed, but check it out indoors in use!

    The finished tray in use

    The finished tray in use

    It adds a beautiful softly reflective layer to my coffee table and holds decorative books, flowers, drinks, tea or coffee, you name it!  Plus it would look great hanging on a wall (over a sideboard perhaps?).

    This is a simple and satisfying DIY – go give it a try!  P.S. Violet is now awake – gotta diaper to change!


  2. 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!!!

  3. Marilyn Denis Show Makeover Update

    June 6, 2012 by admin

    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.

  4. Penney & Company + The Marilyn Denis Show!

    May 31, 2012 by admin

    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!

  5. Painted Lamp Shades

    April 25, 2012 by admin

    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!

  6. Marilyn Denis Appearance: DIY Bedding

    April 16, 2012 by admin

    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?!?

  7. DIY Art Pottery

    March 27, 2012 by admin

    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!

  8. Dramatic And Affordable Front Hall Decorating

    March 15, 2012 by admin

    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!

  9. Michael Penney Armoire for Chatelaine!

    February 27, 2012 by admin

    Have you checked out the March 2012 issue of Chatelaine Magazine?  It features a fun story all about transforming a basic white Ikea armoire and I was honoured to be a part of it!  Other designers included Kimberly Seldon, Sabrina Linn, Malcom Paterson and Arren Williams.

    Designed by Michael Penney; Photography by Robert Caruso; Chatelaine Magazine

    Here’s where we started:

    Each designer could create whatever they wanted with this Ikea Hemnes armoire.  Here’s what we came up with…

    Sabrina Linn created a gorgeous bohemian dressing room…

    Arren brought his Brit-Pop sensibility to a kitchen pantry…

    Malcolm went wild with graffiti on his bar/armoire…

    And Kimberly crafted a lush home office with all the glam trimmings…

    My take was a garden-inspired, rustic and romantic potting shed in an armoire…

    For my armoire, I replaced the standard backboard with breadboard and painted the inside a muddy khaki colour.  The exterior was painted with melamine paint in a strong arsenic green and I replaced the knobs with oversized ceramic ones from Lee Valley.  A linen-covered cork board with grosgrain ribbon holds garden notes and inspiration.  Check out this month’s Chatelaine for more inspiration and tons of tips.

  10. Easy Console DIY

    February 24, 2012 by admin

    Love this classic Martha Stewart Living DIY console!

    Perfect for your entrance way, this demi-lunce console is actually something you can create at home!

    1.  Start with a round or oval dining table with leaves.  Check your garage, attic or thrift shops for the perfect candidate!

    2.  Separate the table where the leaves are usually inserted.  Remove any additional hardware that protrudes beyond the straight edge of the table.

    3.  Using a mounting cleat or heavy duty L-brackets, mount the table flat edge against the wall (connecting with a stud or using strong anchors).

    4. Leave the table natural or paint depending on your look and you’re done!


    Happy Weekend Everyone!