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


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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