Your lounge / living room is the central hub of your home. It’s where we entertain, watch a bit of telly, snuggle down with a good book, or just having a lekker chat. We spend a lot of time in our living rooms (hence the name I suppose), so we might as well doll it up. Decorating your living room does not necessarily have to be an expensive exercise. Here is 10 key items that can immediately add a little character to a boring lounge…and all for under 250 bucks each…
And there you have it! 10 accessories to instantly spruce up your living room – and I didn’t even have to
look hard! Happy shopping everyone!
Check out these products on the supplier’s various websites:
Please spare me a moment or two of your afternoon to share the remarkable works of Michael Chandler with you – it will be well worth your time. Do you have your coffee in hand… mmm, and a rusk maybe? Ready? Okay…
Browsing through the Chandler House website, Rose and I had to agree that Michael is one clever young man. Most of his pieces have an unique play of old and new – taking an artefact and reworking it into a contemporary interpretation is simply brilliant. He finds inspiration for new designs in South African history & heritage and then uses modern materials and methods to craft it. I also find it admirable how he utilizes otherwise damages & useless objects (like the shards of an old blue & white Dutch plate) to create something beautiful with it – with a completely different use.
Fridge magnets made from shards of blue & white porcelain plates. Clever, hey!
Rose and I were rather interested to find out how Michael’s seemingly contrasting interests came to be…
It seems Michael spend school holidays on family farms that resulted in an early introduction to nature, antiques, gardening and needlework. After leaving school, he enrolled at UCT where he studied one of his most passionate interests – Art History. While undertaking his post grad Michael started working for Stephan Welz & Sothebys, a prestigious fine and decorative arts auction house. Spending every day examining and cataloguing beautiful things, he learnt an enormous amount about the past 400 years of design and was snapped up as a research assistant to Deon Viljoen – a leading expert on 18th, 19th and 20th Cape Visual and Domestic History. Deon’s passion for early Cape furniture and Dutch trade pieces quickly seeded itself in Michael and this is easily recognisable in the work that Michael does today. In July 2010, Michael started a small design studio – Chandler House – and his work is largely associated with the above-mentioned interests.
Deon Viljoen approached Michael in 2010 to find an upholstering solution for these fabulous set of Cape Stinkwood Dining Chairs, circa 1810. Georgian English in design, but made in the Cape. By some happy accident, Michael found shards of discarded English blue and white porcelain and decided to embroider the different porcelain shards patterns on the chair seats – brilliant blue on off-white cotton.
The Kraak Mirror
Based on the rim pattern of a 17th Century Japanese Blue & White Ceramic Plate, the KraakMirror, above, is a 21st Century Cape take on the Regency Butler’s Mirror.
I absolutely love these beautiful bold red embroidered Coral scatter cushions Michael designed. Quite striking, hey? They’re available at Pezula Interiors. (I believe the talented Lanalou took this lovely photo)
The beautiful black & white Houdiniware is quite… well… hypnotizing and the quirky busts you see at the top are slip-casts of a phrenology head by Lorenzo Niles Fowler. Michael, viewing the heads as blank canvases started experimenting by painting different features on the various heads – the result is uniquely funky.
Based on a Robert Adam Neo-Classical design from the late 18th Century, the Madame-style mirror is made entirelyout of white beads. Whereas the Nyanga Mirror has a more simplistic tribal feel – “nyanga” being the Xhosa word for “moon” and ultimately the inspiration for this beaded piece.
The Cape Spittoon is Michael’s 21st Century interpretation of an old Cape Icon – although traditionally it would have been heavy brass, so unlike this dainty ceramic version.
Here again you find the Fowler’s Phrenology head but now used as a vase – imagine planting some herbs in it – that would be one funky head of hair!
I adore the stack of plaster books! It can be used as a decorative object and Michael designed a lamp base version of it as well.
Fabric man, David Bellamy kindly asked Michael to create an unique piece for an exhibition which aims to raise awareness and funds for the protection and survival of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Michael came up with this VOC-inspired piece, only replacing the traditional Ho-ho birds with a pair of Cape Parrots.
Michael says he has several things in the pipeline. He’s working on a revised smaller Cape Pendant Collection – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a jewellery range based on the key-plates found on old pieces of Cape Furniture (and it’s freaking beautiful). Lanalou also did a beautiful post about it here. Michael is also currently focusing on a range of Kitchen Linens – Aprons, Tea towels, Dishcloths and Napkins inspired by china patterns, 18th century etchings of the Cape and esoterica. So, keep your eyes peeled people and check out his website for more beautiful thingies.
So, what do you guys think? Which item appeals to you most? I have to say I would love to own one of those Cape Pendants, how about you? Give us your opinions please!
One of the interesting features of the recent Decorex Cape Town Expo was the Trend Talk given by Trend Forecast guru, Dave Nemeth. Here in our office we seem to inadvertently watch the trends by being avid bloggers. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to listen to Dave open them up like the expert that he is. He has been a player in the interiors trade for many years and it seems that the last few years have seen him trotting around the globe, trend watching. I like that we have our own proudly South African Trend gurus.
How is a trend established? I guess most of us are aware of the fact that Fashion and Interiors walk side by side, in terms of pattern, texture and colour trends, particularly the Cat Walk. However, trends are not just established willy nilly. Other factors that influence the establishing of a trend are: What is the consumer experiencing; how are global politics and economics impacting consumers and then of course what impact is technology having on the consumer? Research Information coming out of these influences is collated by Trend Forecasting Agencies for the benefit and application by Interior Designers, Retailers and Manufacturers who develop it further.
FACT – Two types of trends – micro trends and macro trends. Micro trends are those that fleetingly come and go. Naturally that would make a macro trend the stayer- for a good few years, much like the few I am about to highlight.
Colour – the impact of the recession in our global economy was reflected in the muted colour palette of grey and neutral tones. (Mood influences colour). Now that the movement in the economy is more optimistic, the inclusion of strong pinks and berries colours are evident. We are feeling upbeat and even if you aren’t at that place yet, indulge these colours and you soon will.
Furniture: Dave highlighted the fact that coming out of the recession, the consumer has become a cautious and conscious buyer. As such quality is a strong determinant in the furniture we buy, with resurgence of solid woods. Solid woods in the form of re-cycled furniture, or up-cycled furniture (vintage, heritage or retro second hand pieces, that get the conversion treatment to a snazzy modern furniture item). Handcrafted furniture is also very big, as is the industrialised look and feel.
It seems that tactile is the buzz word – we are experiencing a great deal of texture in our furniture, with open grain tables being more the rage. (I personally love this trend, as authenticity is one of my values in life).
Have you noticed that there is a lot of deep buttoned upholstered furniture to be had? And Listen, don’t let you mom or aunt throw out that old suitcase or trunk, or even the crate she stored the cool drink bottles in. (there are still a few of those cool drink vendors that drive around the suburbs – they have loads of those crates – convince them to part with it)
Lighting: The shapes we find in table and standing lamps are both organic and angular. That was seen in the products on display by Newport Lighting, a local-is-lekker company. Expect to see more lighting that feature exposed bulbs (frosted bulbs – not your standard bulb). Wire caging surrounding the bulb is apparently also the way to go. Nice.
Accessories: Now this is the exciting part – it’s affordable. Textured scatter cushions – embroided, felt, cable knit, plenty of bright colours.
Handcrafted is so big.
Then Typography – words, letters, phrases all available to you to display in your favourite rooms. Add into this collective mix, Anglophilia – all things Brit.
Green: There is however one distinct characteristic that runs through all categories – sustainability. Green is here to stay!!!
Dave presented a bucket load of information and I could go on and on.
However from my observation, Decorex actually nailed the theme of the show – basic and beauty. We are living in a time where the superfluous has been and gone. We want to get back to our roots, our heritage and in doing so, find that grounded, safe and secure place again.
So, we turn to the past and the heritage that is connected to that. We surround ourselves in colours, crafts and textures that add optimist depth to our being, bringing hope and meaning to our lives.
What the future holds – we will allow the trend gurus to unfold that with each passing season.
It is amazing what makes one stop and take a second look at an exhibition stand. There were three Cape Town Interior Designers that exhibited to the public their craft and talents. The most intriguing part was that each of them presented a completely different interpretation of an interior style. Each styled room made me stop and take note – they were quite ‘out there’ in their boldness of design coming out of the designer’s years of experience in the trade.
The theme for Decorex was ‘Basic and Beauty’ – here are two designers who took this theme to heart, playing with their favourite design elements.
Adriaan Lochner is someone I have met a few times and have chatted in depth with him. He is a very authentic person with many years in the interiors trade. His style is timeless, venturing across the board in terms of being able to meet whatever genre of style his client’s brief gives him. However, he selected to present a timeless setting of a dining room, which embraced antiques, rich warm colour palette, infused with a touch of the orient by way of a beautiful Chinese lacquer panelled screen.
The depth of room setting was further enriched by spectacular floral art – one of Adriaan’s hobbies and specialities. The tonal warm was further made palatable with the inclusion of a display of pomegranates and autumn leaves – detail after detail adding depth and warmth to this timeless setting.
Adriaan sums up his personal style preference as embracing stylish class, sophistication, finesse, always a reflection of good taste. As I said – he is authentic thus not allowing trends to set his pace. And that is just what he achieved – a timeless, infused, innovative interior setting.
I noticed that Adriaan was standing amongst the exhibit winners – Well done.
Salome Gunter on the other hand, presented a completely different exhibit – one that was so magnificently daring in totality – one that I was radically attracted to due to the fact that she presented the trendy, industrial relaxed and eclectic style so evidently ‘Now”. The strong sophisticated, industrial country style was so inviting, that all I wanted was for everyone to leave, freeing me up to nestle into that red leather wingback and do what I love – read.
She exposed us to her innovative, bold yet very intimate style with a bedroom and study room setting, packed with details that made full use of modern technology. We found that the digitally printed wall paper of a bathroom image from one of her projects; pages from a Louis Vuitton book – made into wallpaper panels – really just show how wallpaper can be anything you want, using any image you fancy. (She tells me she is a Louis Vuitton junkie)
The ‘basic’ elements were to be found from the floor up – a rustic scaffold structure held the room setting within its confines and together with the untreated solid wooden floors planks.
Salome grew the interior setting layer upon layer, until the complete beauty of it unfolded, revealing Salome’s ability to keep pace with the global trend to include the past into the present, intimately.
Walking past an impressive lighting stand, Newport Lighting, I noticed a consultant I had worked with in days past. It was Guy Harris a very clever lighting consultant. Newport is also in the business of custom made light fittings and lamps, some of which were on display.
One of the strong trends of the day is handcrafted retro interior objects with many stunning South African designs to be found under the auspices of the Cape Craft and Design Institute – one of my favourite stops. Walking towards the stand, I was struck by something I thought that I had left behind never to meet again – crocheted lamp shades- suspended from the ceiling. But these have a modern twist to them. Oversized and grouped together really puts a completely new spin on Ouma’s crocheted lampshades!
Actually what came to mind was the image of the little brass lampbase I had so many years ago. Its shade was a crocheted number – one that I was happy to dispense of. And trends have resurrected it – Oh My Gosh!!!! Maybe I was just ahead of my time or – it must be true, history does repeat itself.
Further impressions were made by Tin Town objects & gifts, plus Loveramics. Loveramics is actually manufactured in the East, but distributed locally. Great for us. Not only are the designs eye-candy, but the quality is superb. Even the name of the brand is attractive – Loveramics.
The contents of Ubuntu Garden stand will forever stay with me. See for yourself – it is such a unique way of presenting the gardening lifestyle and evoked a great deal of reaction. Plants growing out of a sexy pink bra or red bra??? Have you seen something like this before? It speaks to me of an innovative gardener, who can take your garden to the least expected places. I noticed that she was one of the exhibition winners – well done Lee Last (my name is Last, Lee Last – says she, in a tone reminiscent to Bond, James Bond). Her co-conspirator was Mondeor Garden & Life.
Looking at more of the hard finishes of interiors, I came across Silestone, the competitor to CaesarStone. This is the Resin/Quartz composite stone applied in kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Claims are that this stone finish has an anti-bacterial protection. I mention them, as it is always a worthwhile exercise when sourcing your finishes, to look at similar stone with a view to competitive pricing.
CONGRATS TO THE DECOREX TEAM – An excellent exhibition, well executed. Warning to Gauteng and Durban people – be prepared for a sensational South African interiors experience.
Stick around for my next two Decorex articles – Talking Trends and Talking Designers.
Please participate in our poll below and be sure to comment!
Quite a few people have asked for my opinion on Decorex 2011. My response has been that for me it was an absolute pleasure, tiring like most expos, but I derived a great deal of benefit from it, being a total interiors junkie. “You get out of it, what you came to look for” as there are so many interior disciplines featured at this expo
Getting connected – that I would say is the total benefit that I derived from trawling the exhibition stands at Decorex 2011. Connected with the most talented local retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, magazines, interior decorators /designers and the more. Decorex brings all these people into one space, they connect with us and we connect with them. Some friends we know and others are new to us. That is what attracts me. Awesome!
I went into inspiration overload (not to mention sensory overload) but walking away from Decorex I could once again indulge that Proudly South African sensation that I often have. We are managing to keep abreast of many a global trend, but at the same time, we are adding our unique South Africa flavour.
Speaking of flavour – like at Indaba, there was no escaping the BOS ICE TEA brand. There they were large as life, in the most unique Tea Lounge, designed by the clever Neil Stemmet of Koncept Designs – offering the people of Cape Town such a unique ‘café’ experience. Who would have thought that Ice Tea would find collaboration with the world of interiors, but they have. The bright colours of the BOS brand oozed out from every corner. However, my lasting impression – sensational – maybe too sensational. This is where my sensory overload just went off the map. As much as I wanted to, I just could not take in all the stunning details – there were too many of them concentrated in one space. Maybe it will happen for me next time.
One of the exhibit partners at the Tea Lounge was a little Plascon Paint Boutique by Freeworld Design Centre. Being in the paint business, they put together some entertaining objects, painted in soft trendy colours. Inspirational again.
In the furniture lines, I was glad to see On Site Gallery opening up their wares to the public. Their retail outlet in the Palms is a must do and a ‘junkie’ fix for me.
From furniture past to furniture present, a newbie in children’s furniture is YAKU. Having been fortunate enough to design some trendy children’s rooms, I appreciate that YAKU has given us yet another affordable outlet to source from.
Although I don’t mind putting my hand to a paint job, I am not wild about it not being a very ‘handy’ person. I guess that is what attracted me to the exhibition of Hamilton Brands spray gun thingy. Do-it-yourself, without the paint drips all over the place, including your hair. I have a vision of myself, clutching one of these super duper spray paint thingies, as I go about up-cycling some of my furniture – is that a sigh of relief I hear my husband breathing in the background?
Don’t go away! More awesome Decorex 2011 stuff to follow! Stay tuned for Decorex 2011 Report 2!