The Marilyn Denis Show Gold Segment Planning

I thought I might take a bit of space to share a some behind the scenes (or #bts as the kids are saying) insight into the mini set I pulled together for the May 16, 2016 episode of The Marilyn Denis Show. If you didn't see it, check it out at Here's how it all unfolded.

Step 1: Firming up the Assignment

I sent an initial pitch to the production team before Christmas, because I knew I was going to the Heimtextil show in Frankfurt and there would be a ton of great trend news to share. I pitched a few story angles. I followed up after the trip and then we had some back and forth to confirm the ideas. Finally, a couple of weeks before the taping date of May 10 it was decided that I would do DIY demonstrations for 4 projects as follows:

  1. Adding a graphic gold accent to the cabinet above in gold leaf or paint.
  2. Hand painted pillow covers
  3. Kintsugi - the Japanese are of mending broken ceramics with epoxy mixed with gold mica powder — using small vases or plates.
  4. Decoupage marbelized paper onto a wood box

My direction from the production team was that the theme was It’s So Easy and that each project should include touches of gold.

I suggested that a styled vignette might be a good way to show all of these projects in situ and then do the demonstrations. This was confirmed by the show producer.

Sept 2: Prop Scouting and Planning

A mid-century cabinet I already owned was to be the one to get the graphic gold treatment so it was the first confirmed piece. I knew I then I needed some kind of chair or other seating to show the painted cushion(s). The projects had a kind of modern abstract vibe, so that and the cabinet gave me my style direction. I also had logistics top of mind. I wanted a chair that would fit in my car with the cabinet for delivery, set up and take down. That way I could handle transport and not have to add courier coordination to my work list. 

We have a vintage Bertoia chair in our condo storage locker so I went down and popped the pillow on it and took this test shot to see if it was an option. I didn’t like it. One cushion is just barely fitting but I wanted to get a second on the chair and the second one was larger than this one. I ruled it out.

I hit Pinterest to do a little inspo research and found a few pics of the great Acapulco chair with a cushion or two on it. Perfect. They are made right here in Toronoto by Innit Designs so I was hopeful I could get my hands on a black-on-black frame one.

I then decided I needed something for a wall flat behind the cabinet to rev up the whole scene. I considered several different wallpapers, mostly murals. This glorious one was the winner. It’s the new Blush floral mural from Anewall in Vancouver. 

Step 3: Submit the plan to the producer

I'm not great at perspective drawing so I use the Pages program on my Mac to communicate how I want to style a vignette. The production team was on board with it, so I went ahead and began confirming items to borrow, and getting the projects done.

I called Paul at Innit about the Acapulco chair and he said it would work better for him to show a chair with a white frame and the black cord. Hmmmm. I was a little worried that contrast would be too busy for what I planned, but when you are borrowing on short notice, sometimes you just go with it and make it work. I love these chairs by the way. They truly are comfy, sculptural and are excellent for indoors or out - win, win and win.

The folks at Anewall were able to express courier the mural paper and it got to me in the nick of time. The set hands at Marilyn were very impressed with how easy it was to install! Peel and stick and trim and done. Amazing.

H&M Home lent me these cool black vases with the understanding I might be breaking them for the kintsugi DIY and not returning them. Likewise CB2 sent me some of these amazing Moonrock plates plus the pretty pink and mint salad plates.

IKEA provided the cushion covers and fillers — I love the Vigdis ramie cushion cover, it’s just waiting for a million different DIY projects.

I knew I needed a tall element or two — a lamp, flowers, blooming branches? I wasn’t quite sure yet.

The day before the taping I was in a meeting with my clients at Cocoon and they offered me this great brass and marble Robert Abbey spotlight to borrow for the set. It’s so fantastic. And theoretically it’s a cool idea to throw light at a project with glints of gold. But as I think you can see above, when I set it all up at rehearsal the lamp seemed small and was kind of disappearing. I tried it on both sides. But I either needed more plates on the wall, tall flowers or a taller lamp or all of the above. I left with a few ideas and figured I’d bring the back up item(s) with me in the morning for my makeup call time at 8:15 (I mentioned I’m not a morning person, right?)

As you can see in the final set from the day we taped, the hyacinths in the tall black pot and the larger-scale lamp bring the right height, shape and colour for the vignette.

I have to be honest about a couple of things though. I think the carpet is wrong. A softer-hued flatweave or even a solid natural fibre carpet might have been better. Maybe even a Beni Ourain. Also, I still think the black-on-black Acapulco would have been better. And if I’m being honest with my styling self, I’m not sure jamming two pillows on that chair was my best move. Oh well, live, learn. And yes, even after having been at it this many years, I am indeed still learning, which I love!

Was this sponsored?

No and yes. Here's the deal on TV appearances: I get paid an appearance fee and get reimbursed for some expenses, eg, flowers. None of the suppliers of goods, props or materials pay me or the show. The companies that supply items that will be used and not returned provide the product at no charge. I return everything that isn't altered. I was an invited guest at the Heimtextil show, so the shout out to them on the show and here is offered in return. FYI, some TV segments involve payment of an appearance fee as well as placement fees to the featured guest for any products/brands represented. Some other shows only feature products when the brands agree to sponsor the show with a larger chunk of $. 

I'll also be posting some more detailed DIY instructions for the projects so that I can fully feature the companies that worked with me to make it all happen. Watch out for those posts and why not get a little crafty yourself?