Sunday, February 13, 2011

Michelle Mawby's favourite room

Deirdre Kelly
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Photo by: Geoff Lackner
When Michelle Mawby, the newly appointed design expert on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show, gutted her century-old Toronto home seven years ago, her goal was to create an open-concept showcase for her decorating talents. “It was an old house with boxes for rooms,” says Mawby, a native of Richmond, B.C. who also runs her company, Lucid Interior Design Inc., out of the midtown home. “I opened the whole thing up and added a large rear addition, where I transplanted the living room from the front of the house. I wanted the house to feel less traditional.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Go Bold with Gold on the Marilyn Denis Show

watch on line at
Transitional crystal chandelier from Elte and 22 karat gold tile from Tiles Plus.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Canadiana Chic on the Marilyn Denis Show--How we did it....

Barbara Milner, Senior Segment Producer


We created a warm and inviting dining room vignette in our studio as one example of how to incorporate a touch of Canadiana into your home while maintaining a style that is chic and sophisticated.
We decided to take-on a couple of projects in the process. The lighting was key to this look. To start, we found beautiful antler chandeliers and sconces at Universal Lamp. We had them disassembled and chromed at Mayfair Plating. Once reassembled and rewired the transformation was complete. We were thrilled by the results. The chromed antler chandelier and sconces are true statement pieces.
Click here for Universal Lamp and Mayfair Plating contact information.


Antler chandelier and sconces - BEFORE
Antler chandelier and sconces – AFTER
Our second project was inspired by a décor trend that’s been catching on – flag chairs. We decided to use the provincial flags of British Columbia and New Brunswick to represent the west and east coast at the heads of our dining table.
Our design expert Michelle Mawby found these chairs on Craigslist for $25 each. The provincial flags from the Original Flag Store and were upholstered by Lance Custom Upholstery. Michelle paired the flags with a bright red faux croc fabric and added nailheads to give the chairs a fresh new take on a current trend.
Click here for The Original Flag Store and Lance Custom Upholstery contact information.


Head dining chairs – BEFORE
Head dining chairs - AFTER


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

National Post: The Ampersand Blog

The Shopper: January deals for the urban ski bunny (no skis required);;
Warm up for the season: Down puffer from Land’s End, American Eagle Outfitters cord jeggings for the urban ski bunny.

  January 4, 2011 – 1:20 pm
Michelle Mawby, a Toronto interior designer, has an eye for finding on-trend items for her clients, her home and her wardrobe. She has a shoe habit, some might say, with about 400 shoes, not that there’s anything wrong with that. In this monthly series, Mawby  shops — online, in her neighbourhood and around the world — and shares her top picks.
Michelle Mawby for Retail Therapy
Never one to be shopped out, my early January shopping goal is to get the trendy “après ski on the street” look down perfectly, while taking advantage of amazing pricing and getting everything on sale.
The first piece I acquired is a fur trapper’s hat. Waking up to negative temperatures in the double digits, I’m going for real fur and not making any excuses — I cherry-picked this white rabbit trapper hat both for its warmth and its cuteness. It will keep my head warm while showing off my pink cheeks (not from blush but from the cold) and it’s on sale for $34.95 straight from Manitoba. I also love that I can put the ear flaps up to give it a more formal look for evening.
To go with my charming new hat, I need a truly warm jacket. Having lived in Ontario for the past 10 years, I’ve learned that down is always the best way to go for its light weight and insulation. This down puffer from Land’s End ($119) is flattering, a perfect winter white and yes, on sale. I chose the longer length so it would be even cosier this cold January.  With the removable hood and classic neutral colour, it is also more sophisticated than your typical down jacket.
With Conan O’Brien popularizing jeggings even more than a high school cheerleading team, I’m adding a cord pair in Cool Grey from American Eagle ($34.95) to this urban ski bunny look. The cord material will help keep me warm and adds texture to the look.
To keep my neck protected, I’m delving into the knitting craze and trying Wool and the Gang’s knit your own Snood Dogg circular scarf in dark grey. It’s on sale for £40 at The kit includes wool, knitting needles and, most importantly, easy to follow instructions. I love a snood and can boast I knit it myself (although I may have to coax my mom into finishing it for me).
Of course, new boots finish the look. While I already own a lot of winter boots (a necessity in Canadian winter), I couldn’t resist Pajar’s tall Luv Boots in grey at Ron White, on sale for $129.99. Canadian-made since the 1960s, they are stylish but sturdy and will look great with tucked-in jeans or leggings.  They are waterproof and claim they are comfortably warm down to -74 degrees C but hopefully I won’t have to test that claim. Who knew a practical pair of boots could look so good?

Monday, January 17, 2011

National Post: The Ampersand Blog

The Shopper: Party outfit decided, but waiting on invite and and
Elegant party wear with an edge: Rock & Republic wrap sandals, Shumaq sparkle mini-dress.

  December 14, 2010 – 1:36 pm
Michelle Mawby, a Toronto interior designer, has an eye for finding on-trend items for her clients, her home and her wardrobe. She has a shoe habit, some might say, with about 400 shoes, not that there’s anything wrong with that. In this occasional series, Mawby shops — online, in her neighbourhood and around the world — and shares her top picks.
Michelle Mawby for Retail Therapy
I may not have even started my Christmas gift shopping yet, but I’ve already got my party outfit ready and waiting for an invite.
I always seem to find something perfect and at a great price at This year I’m all about sequins — I love anything sparkle and I found exactly what I was looking for. A silver sequined mini-dress by Shumaq has everything I need.  The sequins will sparkle in the candlelight and the dramatic v-back adds a little sexiness while the three-quarter sleeves help to keep me from getting chilly. I also love this dress for its versatility.  I’ll be able to pull it out year round when I want a little sparkle. At $179.10 with super-fast shipping, I’ll be able to splurge on the more important things in life like the shoes and accessories to complete the outfit.
I’m going to wear the mini-dress with a pair of tights from Wolford, the best truly opaque black tights ($52). Not only is it the look of the season paired with a great pair of black heels, but it will also keep me warm dashing from the cab to the party. There’s nothing wrong with fashion being practical.
I scored these beautiful Paulina Ankle wrap shoes from Rock & Republic on Neiman Marcus’ website (US$325). They’re a smart buy as I’ll be able to wear them with bare legs into the spring and summer. The strappy sandal accented with leather and lace is pretty and edgy at the same time. Pair these with the opaque black tight for a sleek line with a little bit of a rock and roll feel.
To finish off the outfit, I’m adding a black feather clutch from Coach ($300). Accessories can add to the outfit, but can also ruin it, too.  This black clutch is subtle and doesn’t fight with the dress but the feather adds texture, sheen and glamour. Also at Coach, I found the perfect earrings ($78) in black pave crystal and striped poppy-hued bracelet ($138) to complete the look.
Looking just like the black diamonds I would love to own, these pieces add a little sparkle but don’t detract from the dress.
So invite, arm candy and taxi, please!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Mooi Horse Lamp at Elte

National Post: The Ampersand Blog

The Shopper on bedroom bliss: Lux bedding, throws and slippers

The lux bedroom (clockwise, left to right): Kravet upholstered bed, Stubbs & Wooton needlepoint slippers and Restoration Hardware’s simple Belgian Linen Framed.

  November 3, 2010 – 3:50 pm
Michelle Mawby, a Toronto interior designer, has an eye for finding on-trend items for her clients, her home and her wardrobe. She has a shoe habit, some might say, with about 400 shoes, not that there’s anything wrong with that. In this occasional series, Mawby  shops — online, in her neighbourhood and around the world — and shares her top picks.

Michelle Mawby for Retail Therapy

I’ve been working on creating the perfect cozy fall bed for a client. I started with a gorgeous upholstered bed from Kravet ($3,500 depending on the fabric). For the upholstery, I decided on a matte velveteen fabric in a deep warm gray and added detail with nickel nailheads. The fabric is cozy for winter but will also transition well into other seasons with simply a change in accessories.
The next step in a sumptuous bed is picking the right linens.  Colour, hand (or the feel) and pattern all play a part in creating the right ambiance. For this client, I chose Restoration Hardware’s simple Belgian Linen Framed in Dune with White ($69-$249).  The linen drapes so elegantly give the bed an old world feel in the utmost modern comfort and only gets better with each wash.
For winter, we added an ivory shearling throw from The Fur Source ($399.95). I wanted to add the soft texture, warmth and softness to the linens and fabric headboard. The soft ivory fur also adds a luxurious and glamourous touch (touch me, please).
I always enjoy reading a good book in a warm, cozy bed. For this season, I recommend Phillip Bloch’s The Shopping Diet ($17). Stylist to the stars, Phillip shares his tips on how to get the most out of your shopping budget. Worth the read for any fashionista!
And if it were my bedroom, I’d add a pair of Stubbs & Wooton needlepoint crest slippers for $375.  Classic but fun, these slippers will never go out of style and will never let your feet get cold.
Now we’re set to take on winter, from the comfort of our bedroom anyway.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gucci Artisan Night

17 year veteran Gucci artisan sewing the iconic tassels.

Firenze Gucci artisan: 30 year veteran--started with Gucci at age 15.

Friday, January 14, 2011

All in the Family. CTV's THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW Reveals Team of Experts and Regular Contributor

  • Cabral Richards joins the team as a special correspondent
  • Open casting call contributors announced
  • View the complete team lineup at

Toronto, ON (December 16, 2010) - The final countdown to THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is on, and at a media event in Toronto today CTV announced the team of experts and regular contributors who are set to stand alongside Canada's queen of daytime, Marilyn Denis. Favourite funny man and former sports broadcaster Cabral Richards leads the pack, hitting the streets to talk to the public as the show's special correspondent. Viewers across Canada can catch the 12 new additions to the show's family, whose expertise ranges from technology to health and from fashion to finance, when THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW premieres Monday, January 10, 2011 at 10 a.m. ET on CTV. THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW airs daily at 10 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET on CTV, and on /A\ at 5 p.m. ET (check local listings).

Cabral Richards makes the move to daytime as a special correspondent for THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW. Cabral (Cabbie) has been working in television since 2001 and is best-known for CABBIE ON THE STREET and CABBIE UNLIMITED on The Score Television Network. Cabral hits the pavement on Marilyn's behalf to bring the show high quality, interviews, news and even sports while adding little testosterone to the mix, providing viewers with an always entertaining male insight.

"Part of building a team is about finding engaging personalities that our audience will want to invite into their homes every day," said Nan Row, Executive Producer. "With their exceptional talents, I'm thrilled to welcome all the experts and contributors we've chosen and can't wait until our January launch to introduce them to viewers."

Joining the team of experts on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW are Dr. Kymm Feldman (health), Afiya Francisco (fashion), Michelle Mawby (interior design), Nich Montgomery (technology), Lesley Scorgie (finance), and Meghan Telpner (food and nutrition).

In addition to THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW's team of experts, four regular contributors were chosen from a highly successful open casting call this Fall. From more than 3,500 auditions online and in person, only a handful of candidates snagged the coveted career-making spots. They are fitness fanatic Brent Bishop, caterer La-toya Fagon, family therapist Ashley Howe, beauty specialist Bahar Niramwalla, and landscaper Owen Reeves.

Meet Marilyn's Team of Experts:
Dr. Kymm Feldman (Toronto, ON): Family physician Kymm splits her time between dispensing her medical opinion to patients at Toronto's Women's College Hospital and educating the next generation of health practitioners as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. In January she'll add THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW's viewers to her list of patients.

Afiya Francisco (Toronto, ON): A life-long lover of fashion, Afiya's blog got her named one of Canada's Most Stylish Bloggettes by Fashion magazine. She'll pull from her years of experience as a Stylist, Market Editor and Trend Expert for several Canadian publications to help viewers dress their best.

Michelle Mawby (Richmond, BC): Interior designer Michelle is the founder and principal designer of Toronto-based Lucid Interior Design Inc. Her work with the multi-disciplinary firm has made her one of Toronto's top designers. Michelle offers viewers insight on how to make their spaces more spectacular.

Nicholas Montgomery (Toronto, ON): There are times when it helps to have new technology explained in the language of a 15-year-old. Introducing Nicholas, a 15-year-old tech blogger, podcaster, entrepreneur and all-around phenom. The Toronto-based teen created a user-driven website profiling design-related work that exploded to 35,000 unique visitors in its second month - all at age 13. Nich is ready to give Marilyn's fans the skinny on all that's hot in tech.

Lesley Scorgie (Calgary, AB): Demystifying money matters, Lesley helps viewers keep their finances in check - at any age. Lesley's financial literacy landed her on OPRAH at the age of 17 and allowed her to transform her teenage goal of being rich by age 30 into a website, best-selling book (Rich By Thirty: A Young Adult's Guide to Financial Success) and a life-long career.

Meghan Telpner (Winnipeg, MB): Meghan gets viewers on the fast track to healthier eating. This nutritionist's passion for healthy cooking has made her a media go-to and the official nutrition blogger for The National Post.

Meet Marilyn's Regular Contributors:
Brent Bishop (Prince Albert, SK): This fitness fanatic is set to inspire THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW audience with the exercise and wellness tips that have made his career such a success. As the owner of Toronto-based Think Fitness Studios, Bishop is ready to help fans unleash their inner athlete.
La-toya Fagon (Scarborough, ON): At the age of nine, La-toya took to the family kitchen and it was only a matter of time before cooking became a career. The owner of Twist Catering, La-toya's tasty tips and delightful demeanour landed her a spot on the show and in command of THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW kitchen.

Ashley Howe (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON): Family therapist Ashley has always been fascinated with matters of the heart. A published author and psychology teacher, Ashley set her sights on giving the audience all of life's secrets to love and happiness.

Bahar Niramwalla (Toronto, ON): When Bahar quit her day job as an ad exec, she quickly made her mark in the beauty industry. Bahar dishes on beauty products, procedures and shopping tricks that will arm viewers with everyday confidence.

Owen Reeves (Toronto, ON): Guy's guy Owen has been part of his family's garden centre business since he was a kid. His hands-on training and everyman attitude surpasses his formal training, but not his love of landscaping. This January, he's set to share it all on the show.

To get tickets to see all of these faces in person and for full details on each member of THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW team of experts and contributors, fans can head to


Twitter :
Facebook :

Hosted by Marilyn Denis and broadcast live before a studio audience, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is a daily entertainment and lifestyle talk show featuring Canadian and international celebrities and experts, established and emerging alike. Building on Marilyn Denis' connection to her fans, interviews and ideas are delivered with the ease and humour of a conversation with your best girlfriend. Marilyn Denis invites viewers into her life weekdays at 10 a.m., beginning January 2011.

National Post: The Ampersand Blog

The Shopper: Fall transition to grey — Essie polish, Le Petit beret

Grey for fall! Le Petit beret and Forever 21 faux fur waistcoat.

  October 7, 2010 – 12:54 pm
Michelle Mawby, a Toronto interior designer, has an eye for finding on-trend items for her clients, her home and her wardrobe. She has a shoe habit, some might say, with about 400 shoes, not that there’s anything wrong with that. In this occasional series, Mawby  shops — online, in her neighbourhood and around the world — and shares her top picks.

Michelle Mawby for Retail Therapy

With the quick transition from summer to fall, I’ve been scrambling to change over my wardrobe and fill in key pieces to update to this year’s trends.
The first thing I needed was grey nail polish. And, if I do say so myself, I found the most perfect blend of warm grey and taupe in Essie’s Playa del Platinum ($8.95 at Trade Secrets). This neutral will go with everything but I’m going to wear it with my next trend purchase — fur!
To combine two trends in one, I chose this faux fur grey waistcoat ($33.80) from Forever 21 that also ties in the monochromatic trend with my new nail polish. Warm, luxe and fun, this piece can multi-task all fall and winter long.
And the shoes? I designed my own booties in grey snakeskin with a 3.5-inch heel on Shoes of Prey. If you’re a fellow shoe lover, you could spend hours on this site just playing and saving your own designs. My pair cost $335 with $25 shipping to Canada — a steal in my mind for the exact style and colour to add to my new fall look.
To top off the look and bring in a little ’50s glamour, I’m going to sport this adorable Le Petit beret ($60). It is the perfect piece to add panache to every function from a Sunday brunch, night out on the town, to a wedding. I bought the leopard wool from the fall/winter collection, the leopard spot adding yet another fall trend to my repertoire.
Just as our wardrobe needs a little fall lift, so do our homes. I am always influenced by fashion in my designs, so I’m adding in a beautiful lace-trimmed pillow. Not only for the runway, lace, long absent in the home, is making a comeback. To keep it fresh, I’m adding this hand-cut asymmetrical Cluny lace and dupioni down-filled pillow by Emma Jane Designs ($105) available on Etsy.

Art To Boot Charity Auction for Sketch

Ruth and Michelle decorated Blundstone boots for Art To Boots annual charity auction at the Gladstone Hotel. The decorated boots were auctioned off to support Sketch.

Michelle's Heritage Boots


Bidders viewing Ruth's boots
Ruth's Jardin de Brodequin Boots
Ruth and Michelle
Michelle with ad using her Heritage Boots.
Michelle's Heritage Boots being auctioned. picks Ruth and Michelle's boots in her top 10 at Art to Boot fundraiser

Art to Boot Ticket
Upon hearing via the Bata Shoe Museum that the Australian Boot Company was hosting a fundraiser for Sketch, involving a live auction for the many pimped-out classic Blundstone boots, I immediately bought a ticket.  Shoes + artists + a good cause = a definite event for moi!
Blundstone Boot (aka: artist template)
Blundstone 500w Boot (aka: artist's template)
Maybe not for the fashionably faint of heart, (although the new Steel colour is quite en vogue), the practicality of this item is astounding: it lasts for decades, is waterproof and unbelievably comfortable. Perfect for the unforgiving Canadian weather. Not being the flashiest of boots, I was immensely curious as to how these artists & designers were going to bling it up.
So I picked up my camera and strolled into the Gladstone Hotel, wearing my new Ann Marino Heels to check out the many interpretations of this classic boot.
Here are my top 10 faves:
Interior Designer
Michelle Mawby, of Lucid Interior Design
by Adam Brandejs (Sculptor/Programmer) & Jamie Mageau (Graphic Designer)
"Gummi Blundstone" by Adam Brandejs (Sculptor) & Jamie Mageau (Graphic Designer)
by Adam Brandejs (Sculptor/Programmer) & Jamie Mageau (Graphic Designer)
"Gummi Blundstone" Nutrition Information
This edible shoe is hilarious, complete with nutritional info, you know, just in case you’re into a heartattack-inducing sugar rush.
"Dam Boot" Inspired by classic 1950s horror movies. By Dam2 Marketing
Don’t know if it’s noticeable via this picture, but the boot is literally smashing through what would be the movie screen, frightening onlookers below.  And of course, you gotta love the frame!
"Marie Antoinette Boootten"
"Marie Antoinette Boootten" by interior design student Madeline Kurpeikis
Natalie Serkin
"Abstract Triptych 2" by Natalie Serkin, Visual Artist
"Jardin de Brodequin" (Workboot Garden) by Ruth Blair from Lucid Interior Design Inc.
"Jardin de Brodequin" by Ruth Blair of Lucid Interior Design Inc.
"Boot the Rules" by Terry & Callie Rae O'Reilley of Pirate Radio
"Boot the Rules" by Terry & Callie Rae O'Reilley of Pirate Radio
"Come on Barbie, Let's Party!" by Tracy O'Brien, Interior Designer
"Come on Barbie, Let's Party!" by Tracy O'Brien, Interior Designer
Tracy O'Brien with her creation
Tracy O'Brien, of Designs by O'Brien with her creation
Surprisingly, there weren’t many of the artists themselves present to support their work. I was, however, lucky enough to meet Tracy O’Brien, creator of the pink Barbie piece, which she designed complete with Barbie shoe-mobile. I love that Tracy wore matching pink nail polish, although I’m unsure if this was planned or not! She spoke about her passion for fashion and her desire to delve into that sector in the near future. I certainly hope so, as the world needs more pink fabulousness :)
"Move it or Lose it" by Adam W. Kolanski, Sketch Participant
"Move it or Lose it" by Adam W. Kolanski, Sketch Participant
I’m unsure whether Adam is an artist, but if not, he ought to be. Completely different from the rest, rather than add embellishments, he took an expressive route using the Blundstone boot in its raw form. Adam explains, “Boots: You wear them when you need to get things done. For practical work, or a commanding appearance, a boot will give you what a shoe can’t. These boots are large and most definitely in charge.”
"Priss 'N Boots" based on Priscilla Queen of the Desert. By James Bendig, costume designer
"Priss 'N Boots", by James Bendig, costume designer
This is my favourite! Commissioned by Mirvish Productions, James took the themes of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and created these boots to reflect the dynamic look and energy of the show’s costumes. These solid boots are embellished with sequins, feathers and Pradaesque chandelier-like jewels to symbolize the outrageous and wonderful journey that is “Priscilla”. A big fan of the movie, I am a huge fan of this work. Flashy and downright tacky, it fits right in with my eclectic and often flashy aesthetic tastes!
Conclusion: I’d LOVE to be picked as a local talent for next year’s Toronto Blundstone shoe blinging! As well, I vow to never, EVER wear cheap shoes to any place where standing or sitting is required for more than 5 minutes. Great event; very sore feet!
xo ShoeTease

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eye Weekly - My Place

Michelle Mawby
BY Hilary Caton   July 14, 2010 14:07
Who:  Michelle Mawby, interior designer for Discovery Channel’s Junk Raiders.
What: Her house at Yonge and St. Clair

1. Mawby had been hunting for this orb lamp for a few months and finally found the perfect replica at Restoration Hardware in Toronto.“It’s really the nicest one out there, and is actually a limited edition piece that was redone. And what’s cool about it is you can use it to do Morse code,” says Mawby.

2. Mawby doesn’t remember where she got this decorative ostrich egg, though it’s in a case of collectibles that she likes for their “different shapes and textures.” Of the long-legged creature itself, she says, “I haven’t seen one in real life, but from what I’ve seen in photos, their eyelashes creep me out.”

3. “These wooden wings are over 100 years old and from a church in Europe. They’re about five feet tall. What I really like about them is that they’re on little iron stands, which I thought was interesting because it gives it another dimension,” explains Mawby. 

4. This traditional Damask print is revamped with the addition of skulls, giving it a bit of a punk-rock edge, a mix Mawby enjoys. “I just like a little tough mixed in with some pretty, plus it’s unexpected and I love the unexpected.” A fashion icon is also credited for the inspiration. “I’m a big fan of Alexander McQueen and he used skulls on everything.”

5. Mawby is an avid diver, an activity she fell in love with the moment she slapped on her first pair of fins and strapped on an oxygen tank. “I have quite a few ocean pieces. I collect shells from diving trips, too. I just love the ocean; I love being in the ocean, it’s absolutely peaceful under there,” says Mawby. Oddly enough, Mawby isn’t much of a swimmer. “I’m not sure I could swim to save my life, but put a pair of fins on me and I’m good.”

6. Adding to her love of the ocean is a silver, hammered-out bowl with a piece of painted coral serving as a stand. “It was actually a piece on loan that I had taken out to show a client and when she decided not to buy it, I did. That happens a lot,” says Mawby.

7. “The first time I saw a rug like this, I was living in Amsterdam and I fell in love with how it has this traditional print that’s faded away so it looks like you’ve inherited it from your grandmother. After I saw [rugs like that] there I sort of became obsessed with them when we moved back.”

National Post - The Ampersand

Retail Therapy's: The Shopper
I’ve always admired Jonathan Adler’s bold and innovative ceramics and housewares. When I was in New York recently I had to visit his newest store at 47 Greene St. in Soho, but it was on his website where I found the coolest items — design your own rugs, pillows and tote bags. Read more:

The Toronto Star - Outdoor Glamour

July 16, 2010  
Photo By: Geoff Lackner

Steamy summer evenings just beg for a cool soiree, but with outdoor rooms being the latest rave, that big box store patio set just doesn’t cut it anymore. These days, it’s about decorating as beautifully on the exterior as you do inside, explains designer Michelle Mawby of Junk Raiders and Steven & Chris.

While decorators are always encouraged to bring the outdoors in during summer, Mawby says it’s also a great time to move the indoors out. She shares the story of an image that has stuck with her: an Italian family moving their indoor dining table — along with their chairs and dishes — into an olive grove for an al fresco meal. There’s a comfort and a beauty to it, she explains.

To achieve that same vibe in her own yard, Mawby mixes indoor and outdoor furnishings and accessories. She grabs rugs, cushions, campaign-style dining chairs and a Le Corbusier lounge from her interior to mix with more traditional backyard pieces, such as a steel-framed sectional with cushions made from outdoor fabric. Putting a little extra effort into moving indoor pieces into the yard — and bringing them back in once the party is over — is also key to getting a luxe outdoor look for less, notes Mawby. Using pieces you already own in a new setting can put a whole new spin on your style, and all it costs you is a little elbow grease to move it through the patio door.

“You do have to be careful,” she notes. “You do need to bring them in at night to take care of them.”

Mawby will even bring out her good china and crystal for an extra touch of glamour.
They “really make your outdoor party beautiful,” she says. “There’s nothing like having the glint of a crystal glass in candlelight when you’re outside."

Further bridging the indoor-outdoor divide, Mawby converted an indoor table into the centrepiece of her backyard dining area. The Chippendale-style table, complete with carved legs and ball and claw style feet, was purchased as a bargain from an old movie set. Mawby took it apart and marine-varnished all the pieces, as well as raising the legs a little to avoid any moisture on her backyard stone. She estimates the project, which included three coats of carefully applied varnish and sanding in between, would take about five days to complete.

“It’s so beautiful. It looks amazing in my backyard,” she says, admitting it needs to protected at night with a waterproof furniture cover.

For indoor style with backyard-worthy durability, Mawby recommends checking into the latest outdoor fabrics for cushions, upholstery, rugs, and even drapes. She’s even used them for interior projects.

While rugs and cushions have become backyard decorating staples, Mawby also suggests hanging drapery to add softness. Carefully consider the fabric you’re using so you don’t end up with mildewed, faded or water damaged curtains. For her own space, she used a simple tension rod and simple sheers to create a billowy vignette on her balcony.

Lighting is also key for setting the party mood in your outdoor room, along with providing adequate illumination for guests to eat and mingle safely. While solar, candles and hardwired are excellent choices to provide the necessary task and ambient lighting, Mawby also suggests exploring outdoor lamps, like those from Kichler ( which are completely waterproof, including the shade.

Plan your space to get a higher end, inside feel in your backyard. “I treat my backyard as I do my house,” she explains. “I have a dining room area, a lounge on the back — a little seating area as well.”
Finally, she says, the key to a great summer soiree is making guests feel special, so consider the extra little details that can add to their comfort as well as your decor.

For example, don’t overlook the importance of fresh flowers on the table, which helps to channel the indoor vibe and make your tablescape look more polished.

For added comfort, Mawby has a beautiful wicker fan to keep the air moving on stuffy days as well as a heater to take the chill off in the evenings. Another detail, borrowed from restaurants, is to provide cozy throws on the backs of chairs and benches so guests can wrap up against the cold — and keep the party going late into the night.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

National Post - The Ampersand &

Retail Therapy's: The Shopper
Photo By: Geoff Lackner

Michelle Mawby, The Shopper, jets about town on her Vespa. In heels, of course.
Special to the National Post - June 9, 2010--9:00AM

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Store gazing: Reusing, recycling, redecorating — all in stilettos

Photo By: Rene Johnston/Toronto Star
May 28, 2010
Rita Zekas
Michelle Mawby, interior designer and host of the series Junk Raiders, shopping at Gucci for shoes. She settled on a high-heeled open-toe sandal.
Michelle Mawby pulls up to the Gucci store at 130 Bloor St. W. on her Vespa scooter wearing a Louis Vuitton helmet, with her Birkin and Vuitton bags draped over the handle bars.
“The helmet is from Paris and the stripe matches the hood of my Vespa,” she explains.
We are talking one serious fashionista here.
Did we mention she rides her Vespa wearing stilettos?
Mawby is the only female cast member of seven on Discovery Channel’s “green” show Junk Raiders, described as a “bold free-cycling experiment” where the participants are required to work with architectural salvage to transform spaces on a tight budget. And she doesn’t hesitate to play her “chick” card.
“Sometimes it works in my favour to turn up on sites in stilettos,” she laughs. “But I have three pairs of steel-toed boots — in pink. Tomboy Tools makes pink steel-toed shoes and pink hard hats.”
Mawby is principal designer and founder of Lucid Interior Design and is the recurring design expert on CBC’s Steven & Chris. Her challenges on Junk Raiders have included transforming an old factory space into a trendy and fully functional boutique loft using only recycled materials on a budget of $5,000.
As a result, Mawby frequents dumpsters and transfer stations on the job. A transfer station is where the garbage is dumped before it is sorted, and it stinks.
“They sent me because I am the girl,” she recalls. “I’d been in a dumpster; I’m not squeamish.”
But she did draw the line at salvaging a used mattress.
“I don’t advocate transfer stations,” she stresses. “The best found stuff is at the side of the road; we used an old locker from a church as a front hall closet. I made a shower stall from vintage church windows and I have hung leaded windows as art. One of my best finds was at a church. I got old oak pews and made them into a dining room table.”
Mawby tries on a pair of snakeskin stilettos priced at $1,190 and can actually walk in them.
“I can run in stilettos,” she claims.
Mawby has over 400 pairs of shoes. She even took a shoemaking course in London.
She’s worked in Toronto for 10 years but has lived and worked in Amsterdam, London, California and Vancouver.
“My husband can empathize; he is a clothes horse who has grown into my shoe habit,” she says.
“I have a mythical wall of shoes. I have a big rolling, library ladder but instead of books, I have shoes. Some of them are works of art, pieces of architecture.
“My sister gets all my shoes when I die. Growing up in the Vancouver suburbs, I was always a shoe girl. I didn’t wear jeans until Grade 7; I was always dressed beautifully with ribbons in my hair. I don’t buy fads and I wear a great shoe with cheap jeans and T-shirt and a good jacket. I love Gucci jackets. My main wardrobe when I work is American Apparel T-shirt and Gap jeans.”
Don’t forget that important bag.
Mawby shops at Holt’s, Net-a-Porter, Louis Vuitton and vintage stores for dresses.
She got into interior design via a circuitous route. She has a bachelor of arts in English literature and was in advertising before attending design school.
“I love to read; I’m a bit nerdy, I love to learn,” Mawby says. “When I moved here, I changed things in my first home. I took walls down, picked all the finishings and found out I loved to draft.”
She has designed everything from spas to clothing stores. She doesn’t dumpster dive for her clients.
“But we reuse,” she says. “Shabby chic started it all. I don’t say be 100 per cent recyclable but shop in your house. We all have pieces we love. Mix the old and new: Take five things you love and mix. Redecorate with your own stuff.
“My home is incredibly eclectic. I’m very theatrical; I mix nail heads with piping. I treat my home as an accessory. Every room can have a little animal print but I could end up head-to-toe animal print. They are neutrals.”
Mawby is not afraid of colour. She has been known to paint a bathroom black.
“I would rather be different than homogenous. Your home should be fun, a bit of whimsy.
“I am influenced by having grown up by water and living overseas,” Mawby adds. “Bring indoors out and outdoors in. I’ll bring a rug outside when I dine outside. I’m searching for a great country table to use outside. It is casual elegance but you can put your feet up.”
And hers will be in stilettos.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Destination Style - Home and Decor Magazine

2 Magazine: Freecycling 101

Reuse, recycle, reinvent!

Freecycling: It's budget-friendly, earth-friendly and the perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon with your sweetie. So what is it? Freecycling reuses items that you, your friends or your neighbours have labelled for the "toss" pile and breathes new life into them via some DIY pizzazz.

Michelle Mawby, an interior designer on Discovery Channel's Junk Raiders and founder of Lucid Interior Design, says that the best part about freecycling is reusing. "It's an opportunity to help reduce garbage—using products that still have life in them and not sending them to the landfill--and get some really unique pieces in your home," she says.

When it comes to making those free-cycled items your own, Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge, a website devoted to home and product design, recommends simple DIY projects that reflect your tastes. "Paint is always the least expensive way to update an item, so repaint pieces of old furniture for a budget-friendly change," she says.

If you don't already have a stash of unused goods cluttering up your basement, online communities can be a great resource for finding treasures. Listings on The Freecycle Network, a global network with members across Canada, include such fun-to-find items as a silver dresser, a dining table and glass beads. Another terrific resource is Trash Nothing!, where you can source funky local finds, from a gazebo and rocking chair to bathroom tiles.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Sunday, February 7, 2010

National Post Jack Kohane article

Aaron Lynett / National Post

Friday, February 5, 2010

Junk in her trunk

Jack Kohane, National Post

Frilling up a room with repurposed items isn't necessarily a home fashion faux pas. For some, like interior designer Michelle Mawby, the dividing line separating a rarity from ordinary rubbish can be blurry. "But it has to work for the space and the homeowner's tastes," insists the principal designer and founder of Lucid Interior Design in Toronto. "I like to make sure the personality of my client comes out in their home - and have a bit of fun with it, too. I don't believe in stuffy homes that aren't livable."

That zeal for livability looms large in Lucid's home makeovers from Rosedale to Forest Hill, from Ledbury Park to Yorkville. Now the term "freecycling" (passing on, for free, an unwanted item to someone who needs that item) has also entered her lexicon. When asked to join a team of garbage scroungers, builders and design professionals in the task of morphing an old 1,600-square-foot industrial building with 17-foot ceilings into a ritzy and functional loft, using materials sourced only from the trash, for Discovery Channel's Junk Raiders, Ms. Mawby agreed without hesitation. It's the very challenge she thrives on. "I consider myself the original junk raider," she smiles, easing gracefully on to her favourite plush chenille sofa in her living room. "In the world of designing, it's common to rip out and discard perfectly good interiors to make way for new interiors. The idea of creating an amazing living space out of good stuff that's been junked intrigued me." Though the green experiment was limited to a budget of $5,000 (quoted at $300,000 if done conventionally), the prospect of shaping such a special space ignited Ms. Mawby's ingenuity. She turned reclaimed materials into furniture, converted church pews into a dining room table, a baby grand piano cover into a coffee table and a car grill into a kitchen island. By finding hidden gems, transforming furniture and architectural salvage, Ms. Mawby's work delivers a touch of glam with unique pieces that cannot be replicated, giving her high-end clients the exclusivity they desire.

This flair for freecycling and penchant for pushing the design envelope also trademarks her own home, located in an upscale midtown neighbourhood. The three-storey, 3,400-sq.-ft. century house where she lives with her husband, Scott Wambolt, a telecommunications executive, and Holly, their 14-year-old tabby, is also the headquarters for Lucid
Interior Design.

Chosen for its central location, nine-foot ceilings and potential, Ms. Mawby says that a major reno was a must from the moment the deed was signed. On the outside, the exterior looked stark, with red brick and plain white trim, and as it was taller and further forward than the surrounding structures, the house appeared to "bulge" toward the street. To soften that jut, a rounded verandah was added and asymmetric flagstones for front pad car parking. New cedar shakes were applied to the roof, and the windows' wood frames were painted dark grey for a sense of rustic elegance. On the main floor inside, boxy Victorian rooms required demolition. "We tore down walls for an open kitchen connected to the family/living room and formal dining room," Ms. Mawby says. Some exquisite 100-year-old leaded windows had to be taken out, but one of them now hangs above the desk in the kitchen. Nearby, an archaic iron book press, resembling a metallic sculpture, occupies a nook. Ms. Mawby delights in improvising artwork from whimsical bric-a-brac and architectural details. A mess of doors leading from the front hall were purged and an obtrusive staircase relocated away from the foyer to free up the entranceway for a more welcoming feel. A mahogany armoire for hats and coats-from Holland where Ms. Mawby lived for a year - stands tall in the vestibule. At its sides, are decorative teak chairs sculpted by a Shanghai designer.

Midway down the landing to the basement, Ms. Mawby has designed a winsome powder room fit for a celebrity, complete with leather wallpaper, an 8x4-foot mirror set in a gold-leaf frame, chocolate and cream marble floors and a chandelier trimmed with strands of red crystals. "I love the way they reflect in the mirror," Ms. Mawby says. Her favourite room? The living/family room hangout, she anwers, because of its oak floors stained to a burnished ebony, and its intriguing mix of textures and furniture: leather, chenille, silk, cashmere; there's a contemporary plush sofa loaded with pillows, mid-century modern chairs and glass tables and one-off finds. "It's grand and comfortable with full-wall French doors looking out to the garden," she says. "They let a beautiful quality of light in."

Her home design is inspired, she explains, primarily by an enchanting historic flat with towering French doors, high ceilings and big rooms in London, England, where she lived for two years. The concept of mixing old and new in an open-concept floor plan sprang from her Amsterdam dwelling - a refurbished 1635 warehouse.

Born and raised in Richmond, B.C., Ms. Mawby attended Fresno Pacific University in California, majoring in English and theatre arts. It was here that she became hooked on set design. She later came to Toronto, attending the International Academy of Design and eventually winning an ARIDO student award in 1999.

When she approaches a renovation or remodelling project now, Ms. Mawby adheres to two tried-and true principles: the definitive "form follows function" design doctrine; and the idea that "one man's junk is another man's treasure."

But condition is important when selecting reused pieces, she advises. Aesthetics, colour, size and materials also matter. "When scouring junk you can do wonders from stuff found in dumpsters and at transfer stations," she says. "Figuring out how to incorporate found items produces a satisfying
‘Eureka!' experience."

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Geoff Lackner / Geoff Lackner Productions