Toot Your Own Horn | via www.designmonarchy.co.za

Do You Toot Your Own Horn?

by Rose McClement

DO YOU TOOT YOUR OWN HORN? Is that something that you are comfortable with doing?

About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Abigail Klopper’s Cafinnate Academy online coffee meet-up by means of Facebook Live. Towards the close of the meetup, this issue of ‘tooting your own horn‘ came up. “Do you do it?“, was the question. That touched an open spot for me. It got me thinking about this issue, although I will admit, not very seriously at the time.

This morning sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the ground, I was taken back to what I had experienced and felt during COVID. I spoke about it in my last post. It was about the issue of honouring my own voice, my own inner knowing, and just switching off the outside noise and voices. This was something that was going at full tilt at the start and early days of COVID and lockdown.

Today, I almost want to say to this Rose person, “Who are you and what have you done with the Rose that came before you?” That Rose was not tuned in to her own voice, her own opinion, her own mind, her own heart. She was swayed by all the voices around her – gave them more credence and validity. She second and third guessed herself most of the time. She always felt that others knew better than her, were better than her and despite her leadership qualities allowed others to set the pace. She literally handed her power over to them. It was helluva stressful and helluva confusing. There just was no ‘off-switch’ to flip when it came to holding her own space.

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Decorating Dictionary - Define Neutral Colour | via designmonarchy.co.za

Decorating Dictionary: Neutral

What is the definition of Neutral?

Have you ever heard someone mention the term “neutral“, “neutral colour“, or “neutral palette” and wondered what on earth it meant? Well, now you have to wonder no longer – we will define Neutral for you! Here is the latest addition to our Decorating Dictionary

Neutral:  In interiors, neutral colours serve as subtle background hues, which can easily be combined and layered with other bolder colours. While neutral tones are often mild and unoffensive, they are not necessarily devoid of colour. Most neutral colours have undertones of other colours in them. Traditional warm neutral shades include colours like taupe and beige while cooler neutrals have a slightly bluer undertone – these would be your greys and silvers. Neutrals can also vary from very light tones, such as white, to darker shades, such as charcoal.

[Image Sources: 1, 2, 3]

7 Home Decorating Regrets

7 Home Decorating Items & Decisions We Regret

by Marica Fick & Rose McClement

Earlier this week I read an article on Apartment Therapy that set the hamster wheel in my head spinning. The title grabbed me immediately: “3 Common Home Items I Wish I Never Bought”. In the post freelance writer, Sarah Lyon, shared that her past home decorating efforts has been accompanied by a fair dose of regret.

Sarah goes on to explain that while some treasured purchases have found a permanent place in her home, others left her with a bad taste in the mouth after a few short months. Her regrets include: cheesy, cliched wall art, cheap wine glasses, and pieces that are “too nice”.

While we did not entirely agree with all of her laments, it did spark an interesting office conversation. So here is Design Monarchy‘s list of home decorating items and decisions we regret…

Beautiful Vinyl Floor
We would opt for a beautiful good-quality vinyl floor above carpet in a heartbeat. | source: Godfrey Hirst via Instagram

Wall-to-Wall Carpet:

The first item on our home decorating regret list is one both Rose and I can’t wait to say “goodbye and good riddance” to. Wall-to-wall carpets. Until recently, opting for carpets throughout the home has been such an ingrain and default choice in home decorating.

We found that carpets take such an effort to clean and maintain in the long run. It just does not have the physical and aesthetic longevity that some other floor finishes have. No matter how regularly you vacuum and deep-clean your carpet, it still becomes a dirt and odour trap – especially if you have pets or little kiddos.

The carpets in my home are a real eye-sore. It was gorgeous when first installed but now it looks grubby no matter what we do. We have had it cleaned SO many times with no real improvement. And these were good quality, high traffic carpets!

Now, don’t get us wrong – we are not saying that you should immediately rip up the carpets in your home and get rid of them. We understand that there are some situations and areas where it remains the preferred application. Especially a bedroom – most people still prefer the added warmth and soft feel underfoot that carpets provide.

When it comes to general areas and living rooms we often recommend a good quality vinyl to our clients as an alternative floor covering. It is much easier to clean and maintain and adds a lovely visual warmth to any space. You can always opt for a loose rug that can be washed or changed as desired.

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Covid-19: Work from Home

Design Monarchy, Covid-19 and Lockdown Musings

Feature image via: Arnel Hasanovic via Unsplash

by Rose McClement

As I sit and contemplate the last few months of 2020, it feels totally surreal.

As I slowly begin to emerge from living through a Worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic, hectic S.A. Lockdown and all those issues that flow and follows in its wake, I have to ask myself “Did this really happen? Is this still really happening? Am I really experiencing an extraordinarily time that will no doubt make its mark in world history? Something like WW2 and Mandela!”.

These same questions crossed my mind during the initial worldwide lockdown period when I sat staring at the images of empty city street scenes – streets, public plazas, curbside cafes that would normally be abuzz with people. One remarkably familiar and local empty street scene image stuck with me.  As I gazed at the images Cape Town’s famous Camps Bay Main Road with not a car, bus, taxi, person in sight the brevity of the situation hit home. That was totally surreal and bizarre. Something not witnessed by me before.

Covid-19: Stay Home
Stay home. Image created by Vanessa Santos. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19. | source: United Nations via Unsplash

Then the adjusting into living in isolation, transitioning from working in the office to working from your ‘new home-office’, communicating via online platforms, wearing masks to the shops, etc. Who would have even begun to imagine at the start of 2020 that all of that would be our day-to-day reality? I always imagined that the year 2020 would have some sort of sci-fi-esque characteristic about it, like flying cars, robotic labour, etc. A movie-type pandemic, however? Nope, that was not the kinda sci-fi I had in mind.

Closer to home, the Lockdown-need for Design Monarchy (Marica and myself) to work digitally from our respective desks / home office setups was nothing new for the two of us.  For a good many years it is something that we had transitioned into and adopted as a way of working.  We use Skype, Whatsapp, TeamViewer, and the like as our online tools.  Thus, it was business as usual for the two of us.  We were fortunate enough to have a Beauty & Wellness Spa interior design project to occupy our time and attention (watch this space for forthcoming visual delights and the back story).  We were mainly working on the ‘behind the scenes’ stage of the project. Fortunately, we were also well versed with sourcing and shopping online thanks to Marica’s extremely well-honed and developed online research skills. I am telling you she can find the proverbial needle in the Online haystack!

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Kirsten Goss Abode Homeware

Currently Coveting: Kirsten Goss ABODE

by Marica Fick

I’ve gone and done it again… lost my heart.

I know, not too long ago I was pledging my undying love to something completely different. At that moment I was head-over heels and coveting the funky, contemporary, African-chic ZCafe Rope Chair designed by Egg Designs (and it is still gorgeous by the way).

What can I say, my heart is a bit fickle – but luckily – I have a BIG heart so there is room for far more beautiful things. I’m a sucker for a bit of local eye-candy.

What, you my ask, has got me drooling this time around? I’m currently coveting the beautifully chic ABODE collection by South African jewellery designer, Kirsten Goss. This elegant homeware addition to Kirsten’s established jewellery brand is both refreshing and unexpected.

Kirsten who opened her flagship jewellery store in London in 2005, has designed pieces for Kate Middleton and Prince William’s royal wedding and her jewellery designs have been worn by several A-list celebrities.

Kirsten’s “Lily Pad Ring” won the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) at the Design Indaba Expo 2012. The ring’s contemporary design, intriguing organic lines and playful edge exemplifies Kirsten’s award-winning style aesthetic.

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SuzelleDIY: How to Make Your Own Fridge Magnets

SuzelleDIY: How to Make Your Own Fridge Magnets

How To Make Your Own Fridge Magnets:

While we are on the subject on the subject of easy crafts to keep your hands and minds occupied during the lockdown period, check out this recent video by SuzelleDIY. The local DIY queen shared clever ways to decorate the “big old grey elephant in the… kitchen” – i.e. the fridge! In the brilliant video tutorial she demonstrates how one can create a lovely array of easy and inexpensive fridge magnets.

For the past few week Suzelle has been sharing quirky DIY ideas for each letter of the alphabet… or “Suzellphabet” as she calls it! Be sure to check out the DIY crafts for letters A to E on her Instagram or Facebook channels.

Her crafts ideas are super easy and accessible – using and upcycling things that one already has lying about in an odds-and-ends drawer somewhere. The only thing I might need to scratch for or purchase for this tutorial would be the actual magnets (maybe salvage off old fridge magnets or fridge calenders). In this video Suzelle shares the following fridge magnet ideas:

  1. How to make tiny faux succulent fridge magnets.
  2. How to create your own glass pebble magnets.
  3. How to make mini spice jar magnets for your fridge.
  4. How to craft lovely photobox magnets out of jar lids.
  5. And lastly, how to create a framed whiteboard shopping list for the fridge door.

If you want to attempt a few quarantine crafts to keep you busy during lockdown, we have put together six of our easiest Decorating Quick Tips from past posts for you to try at home: Quarantine Crafts: 6 DIY Projects to Banish the Covid Lockdown Boredom.

Oh, and loving her rambling rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off“… LOL