Vintage-Inspired Treasures

By Marica

Look, look, look what I found! Revel in the complete awesomeness that is Mitat – a local Cape Townian creative duo. They have a collection of gorgeous vintage-inspired products – all beautifully designed and screen-printed by hand. I should really try and get a hold of these talented ladies so we can do a decent interview and post about them! Feel free to drool over these cushions for 15 minutes… that’s what I plan to do!

Images via Mitat

Décor Dictionary: Ikat

Various Ikat Fabrics
Examples of some beautiful Ikat fabric designs

In our Trends 2011 posts we have thrown around a lot of décor terms that  really should be entered into our Dictionary – so we start with an easy one, here is our first Décor Dictionary definition of 2012…

Ikat:  is essentially a dyeing technique, similar to the tie-dying process, known for its use of bright, bold colours. It was originally produced in several pre-Columbian Central and South American cultures, however the technique has been adopted by many eastern countries. Ikat weaving styles and pattern vary widely and many design motifs may have ethnic or symbolic meaning.

Lovely Ikat image via: HousetoHome

2011 Trend Watching – Part Three

By Marica

Throughout this week we have been chatting about the various trends we have observed in 2011. We kicked off Part One with our favourite Décor Style Trends and discussed our most-loved Colour Trends in Part Two. Today, in Part 3, we continue our Trends 2011 discussion with a look at our favourite Pattern trends of the past year…

Pattern Trends:

Pattern, textile and other surface designs play a larger role in the establishment of interior design & decor trends than we think. It is also no secret that current Fashion Trends have some influence on future Décor Trends. Since Pattern makes bold visual and stylistic statements, it is one of the first elements decor gleams from fashion (after style, of course). Where in the minimalist contemporary trend of the previous 5 years pattern was rarely used, interiors are now filled with gorgeous pattern.

Geometrics:

For the past year everywhere we looked we saw geometric patterns – fabrics, rugs, decor pieces, even in elements of furniture design. This funky change in pattern was a breath of fresh air to the tired trends of yesteryear that contained mostly organic shapes (that is if it contained pattern at all).

The beauty of these trending geometric patterns is that they can take up an array of shapes, forms, scales and cultural influences. For instance – we saw a lot of chinois-inspired lattice, links and brickwork geos; some beautiful and bold nautical stripes; Greek Keys; Moroccan Quatrefoils; Tribal African Geos; and even beautiful rustic Navajo geometrics.

The most popular geos of the 2011 were a lot less complicated – bold chevron and thick herringbone patterns and solid triangles – most of course, in bright daring colours or contrasting black on white.

And while most bold patterns have a definite contemporary vibe, they also signify a return to tradition as most of the geos are historical significant. You know what they say – trends are cyclic and bound to repeat (hopefully with a contemporary twist).

Truly my favourite trend of the past year and happily still going strong – we are going to see a lot more geos in 2012. It’s definitely hip to be square…and triangular…and rectangular…

Toile:

 

Toile has been around for centuries (from the 18th century to be exact) and this highly detailed pattern has always been a favoured addition to traditional and classic interiors. Usually consisting of a white or off-white background on which a fairly intricate scene is printed in a single colour. Toile patterns generally tell a story in pastoral themes such as a couple having a picnic by a lake, fisherman in their boats, or farmers working the fields.

Toile has however received a contemporary revamp in the past couple of years that has boosted it to trend. Now, not only limited to fabrics anymore – we see beautiful toiles on wallpaper in surprising and bold colours. Gone are the boring black/brown on white prints – think pink, shocking pink! With this trendy adaption Toile can now look stunning in even a funky cotemporary interior.

Florals:

The floral trend is back in full force – and it’s probably got the nostalgic trend to thank for it! Entering mainstream trends a year or two ago (although florals has always been on the backburners), the runways are now an explosion of florals in all shapes and sizes.

Bright 80s prints, dainty romantic florals in pastels, big florals in watery brushstrokes, and beautiful vintage prints all provide just the right amount of whimsy. I’ve even seen some interiors that took a rather “Victorian” approach in their use of florals – that is to say florals EVERYWHERE…and bizarrely enough I quite liked it.

Ikat:

Ikat patterns were hot, hot, hot last year.  Essentially a dyeing technique, and similar to the tie-dying process, it is originally produced in several pre-Columbian Central and South American cultures. The technique has however been adopted by many eastern countries. Ikat weaving styles vary widely and many design motifs may have ethnic or symbolic meaning.

One of the main reasons why Ikat enjoyed so much popularity in the past year (other than the fact that it’s deliciously ethnic) is once again bold use of colour. Exotic tie-dye patterns in hot pink, deep blue and bright orange – beautiful! I however think that Ikat has a “shelf-life”, we best enjoy it while we can.

Oh, there are still a good handful of trends we really enjoyed this past year, but since we don’t want to bore you with a long spiel, here in closing are a few images of some other favourites…

Other Favourites…

Use of Typography
Illustration and sketching
Chinoiserie
Animal prints - especially birds and rabbits
Geo 1, 2
Toile 1, 2
Floral
Ikat
Typography
Illustration and Sketching
Animal Prints
Chinoiserie

2011 Trend Watching – Part Two

By Marica

Yesterday we discussed some style trends we observed in 2011, highlighting our favourites. Today we’ll be looking at our favourite 2011 colour trends…

Colour Trends:

{source: 1 & 2}

At the beginning of 2011 various berry colours did the rounds – luscious shades of purplered and pink. Pantone’s colour of 2011, Honeysuckle Pink, probably had a large role to play in the berry-coloured trend. Since the trend is to draw our inspiration from nature in terms of colour, it comes as no surprise to find that the rich, warm and comforting colours of berries have unfolded onto the artist’s palette. The colour red hit the stage of fashion and design a number of years ago. And like most things that evolve, so too has the tones of red. This evolution has moved from being bold striking reds, to the more gentle tones of berry, cherry, pink, purple – and the most awesome part of it all, is that these same colours are boldly and effectively, being coupled with teal blue, deep aqua blue, chartreuse yellow, grey and black. Adding exciting and adventurous flavours that allows the man-in-the-street to dabble with colour in a manner not seen for a long time.

{source: 1 & 2}

Another awesome colour trend was the use of sunny yellow. I’m instantly drawn to the warm, friendly colour. We observed a good few beautiful yellow interiors – most often paired with another trending colour – grey. The predominant trend is to use pops of yellow as accent colour and the contrasting grey as a neutral base. Splashes of yellow adds some instant sunshine and statement to an interior as the use of such a bright yellow is quite bold. The combo of warm (yellow) and cool (grey) really complements contemporary interiors.

{source: 1, 2, 3}

A colour trend that is still going strong, is my much-loved shades of blue. Blues of all shades and hues has been trending this past year – strong cobalt, bright ultramarine, deep indigo, sea-foam, aqua, turquoise, robin’s egg. Jeez, thinking of all the beautiful inky blues is making me all excited, lyrical even! Rose also agrees that this blue trend was by far her favourite colour trend of 2011 – lets hope it sticks around for another year or ten…blue is timeless.

{source: 1 & 2}

There is one of the past year’s colour trends that Rose and I really had to get used to – the all-white phenomenon. Hugely popular, we now see it in every other interior –  white wallswhite floors, splashes of accent colours and textures. Our problem, you see, is that we view walls and floors as an integral part of “layering” – an interior with white walls and floors is therefore missing “layers”. Rose and I have however grown to love this fresh and open style of decorating (when somehow refined) – it must be the Scandinavian influence.

{source: 1, 2, 3, 4}

Towards the end of 2011 we saw gradual migration towards fresh spring colours – especially corals and salmons, usually paired with aqua and turquoise blues. I found the introduction of the coral and salmon hues quite surprising and unexpected. I can remember telling Rose “I will never like those – it’s just another name for shades of (dreadful) peach!” Luckily, I soon changed my mind – I can honestly say that the coral-aqua combo is one of my favourite colour trends of 2011. This pastel-coloured trend is also said to be one of the strong colour trends of 2012.

Stick around for Part 3 of our 2011 Trends report where we discuss the past year’s pattern trends…

So, what colour trends did you notice in 2011? We would love to hear about your favourites colour!

2011 Trend Watching – Part One

By Marica

Rose and I regularly have awesome (and sometimes quite extensive) discussions about design and decor trends. Now, while we are in the process of review and reflection, and before the 2012 trend reports start flooding in we would like to take a look at some of the trends we observed in 2011.

We are by no means Li Edelkoort, but if you watch the blogs and image sharing websites long enough it is quite easy to recognize popular content and before you know it a definite trend pattern emerges. So without further ado, here are our favourite observed trends of the past year…

Nostalgia:

  

The primary trend that explains the popularity of most of the subsequent trends (some of which we are discussing below) is aptly labelled Nostalgia. Rose had the following to say about the rise of Nostalgia:

“Despite the fact that there is never a time when change is not happening on a global scale, the uncertainty of the current times in terms of climate change, economies, etc, has been and is very real to us. Experts have shown that when there is a prevailing sense of threat and insecurity, the over-riding trend towards nostalgia and all things from the past, become evident.

That is exactly what our current Nostalgic trend is all about. We have reached into a time past, back into eras that speak the fundamentals of our value systems, with the hope of finding stability in our roots. Nostalgia is all about being “homesick”, yearning and idealizing the past, while fondly recalling memories of times that seem to us much better than that which is our immediate experience.

So, it comes as no surprise, that as the Nostalgic trend stands on the shoulders of the Past, it has gained huge momentum in all walks of life. We draw our inspiration from décor of eras past, motivated in an almost “pick-me-up” fashion for the strength to push on as those from that past era must have done. Despite the fact that Nostalgic styled décor & accessories have been given a fresh and contemporary twist, in a very real sense it is creating a sense of “time standing still” or timelessness.

  

The Nostalgic vein runs though most of popular trend of the past year – think Vintage, Shabby Chic, Retro & Mid-Century Modern, Rustic Scandinavian, Contemporary Country, and even the glamorous Hollywood Regency, the list goes on. All of these contain tributes to the past, little collections of bygone eras.

As we sat down to review the trends and styles of the past year, it is evident that Nostalgia is the TREND, into which ever expanding styles from the “Golden Ages” of past eras have come to find home.

I am very grateful for the rise of this Nostalgic Trend, as it is a very necessary phase, a breathing space in which to appreciate the past, in order to continue moving forward.”

Handmade Revolution:

 

A lot of emphasis has been placed on craft this past year – this Handmade trend is definite secondary arm to the primary Nostalgic trend. Who would have thought that crafts like crocheting, knitting, quilting and other general DIY decor projects & products would become so overwhelmingly fashionable? Is it a protest against consumerism or an attempt to save some moola?  I don’t know, maybe it’s the emotion behind Handmade that makes it so popular – it’s personal, it’s sentimental, it’s my own…it’s perfectly imperfect.

REcycled / UPcycled:

  

It makes me happy to see that decor & design trends have, in some small way, taken a cue from our planet’s environmental crisis and adopted a waste not want not approach. We have seen some excellent examples of innovative use of old, discarded trash transformed into beautiful pieces of design. Also, slotting in with the Nostalgic and Handmade trends, a lot of Upcycled designs – like the painted vintage furniture trend or converting an old suitcase into a chair or a rusted cheese grater into a lamp, etc. It’s all about being eco-aware – REclaim, REpurpose, REcycle. This trend is far from dead.

Mid-Century Modern:

Eames Lounge Chair

Seen as one of the most influential and significant design movements, the Mid-Century Modern style is synonymous with furniture design greats like Charles and Ray EamesArne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen (to name but a tiny few). The Mid-Century style can also be linked to Scandinavian Design, as they had a significant influence on each other. The use of Mid-Century Modern furniture and elements in interiors and decor has always been an admired choice between decorators, designers and architects alike. However, the Nostalgic trend of the past couple of years has boosted this classic vintage style back into mainstream popularity. It is said that Mid-Century Modern is the perfect balance between function and aesthetic. And I don’t know about you, but I sure want to own an Eames chair….

Industrial:

  

This funky style has made a smashing comeback in the past couple of years can also be tied to the Nostalgic and Mid-Century Modern trends. The core of Industrial Style is to expose elements that are usually hidden – brickwork, exposed I-beams, unfinished wood and all the nuts, bolts and mechanisms that we generally hide.

Nautical:

  

The Nautical interior & decor style spilled over from the recent nautical fashion trend. Bold stripes in shades of blues and splashes of reds and oranges, rustic and distressed timbers, and ocean-inspired baubles make for a perfect sailor’s sanctuary. Rehashed this cool and fresh style is often paired with Industrial and Mid-Century Modern elements.

Stick around for Part 2 of our 2011 Trends report where we discuss the past year’s colour and pattern trends…

So, what trends patterns did you notice in 2011? We would love to hear about your favourites!

Images sourced: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


A Love Affair With Interiors

Tabloid skinny – Read all about it! Read all about it! – The truth is out… about Rose’s love affair.

When I set out to write this post, I did not have the content that you will read below in mind. I find that happens to me more often than not. But I have learnt to allow the stuff in my head and in my heart just to flow out onto the page. I recall one of the most moving blog posts I have read was when Holly Becker of Décor8 wrote and told about her journey. She walked us through some of her childhood activities, likes and desires, right up to the present day, which as it turned out was the time of her book release and launch.

Seems that today it is my turn to tell a little of the story of my journey in the field of interior décor and design. Its more than a journey tale, it’s about a growing Love Affair with interiors. Something that was destined to happen, yet not planned. It is amazing that like Holly, I find myself taking this look back, at a critical juncture in moving forward to the next important stage of my business life.

I have no childhood memories that speak to me of an inner desire for interior décor. Unlike Holly, I cannot recall being drawn to décor books, mags or such like. I do however recall that I did love playing “housey-housey”, with the tea parties, doctors’ visit and the rest. It seems that home was always where my heart was.

Nevertheless, after matriculating I went onto study what I thought my destiny was going to be – social work. University was such a shock to me, I only did a one year stint there.  Thereafter, as fate would have it, I went on to be involved with people and their houses. But as a “Housing Assistant” nothing could have been further away from interior décor – tenant welfare. (That social work side of me)

Fast forward a good couple of years to the year 19?? (Did you really think I was going to spill the beans!?)

It all started as a décor consultant largely in the residential line at one of Cape Town’s more prestigious retail outlets at the time, Milton’s Interiors. I had no particular passion for interiors, no particular desire to decorate and certainly no driving urge for fulfilment in this field. Every bit of knowledge I gained, came from being hands on, listening, observing and doing. After a few years, I had the courage to actually call myself a “decorator” since that was exactly what I was doing. It had indeed been a baptism of fire. Imagine working with Lady so-and-so, with the rock on her finger that would make Liberace look twice. Or Lord so-and-so. Or doing the State President’s Residence!

The Love Affair had begun to take root and by now I was seriously developing a strong passion for my work. It is only in looking back that I realise that I developed aspirations I had no awareness of at the time. I yearned then, as I yearn now to take this fabric and use it there; and take that paint and pop it onto that wall. My love for all things interiors has never faded. But I wanted more – something deep inside of me knew there was more to be experienced.

One of the four Irish hotels we did the décor for. The AbsoluteHotel.com in Limerick, Ireland.

It happened a few years ago; I had what you could call an “upgrade”. If I was an employee it would have been known as a promotion. Yippee! At that time we, as a company, managed to land the interior design & décor contract for an Irish developer’s hotels. It was a seriously challenging time, filled with new experiences, people, places, plenty of stress, loads of plane flights, critical deadlines and excitement galore.

My good friend and then business partner, Miranda and I on way to the AbsoluteHotel.com official launch. There is no party like an Irish party.

PLUS, I got to stay in Kit Kemp’s Soho Hotel; have drinks in her Charlotte Street and Haymarket Hotels. Together with my client, whose love for all things hotel were more operational than interior. I took a day to run in and out of London’s bars and restaurants. No, I had not died and gone to hotel interiors heaven, but it sure felt like it.

Having drinks at the gorgeous Haymarket Hotel in London. The interiors were designed by talented Interior Designer, Kit Kemp

I had hit another of my ever increasing “learning cycles”. I became more involved with the hard finishes, plans, space planning and all and all – even managed the construction lingo.

I now know that I had found in hotel interiors, my one true love. I am totally nuts about hotel interior design. Plus through all my years of working upmarket, I had developed an eye for seeing details that speak of luxury.

But back to the fact that not only was I smitten, I realised just this year, that hotel interiors is my true calling (sounds really spooky but its true nonetheless).

I have many plans still to be fulfilled – a rather big vision ahead of me, but right now, I want to refurbish as many 3 & 4 star / “budget” hotel interiors as possible.  And since my motto is: “home is where the heart is“, I’m going to start with the local South African hotels first.

I have some seriously strong views on the state of hotel interiors and the refurbishment thereof. Why should we who can only afford 3 & 4 star hotels, or “budget” stays, have to put up with room interiors that speak of mediocrity, are totally uninspired and drab. Is having a clean room with totally outdated furniture (believe me, not even your “Uncle” from Joshua Doore wants most of that stuff back again) meant to be good enough for us? Why should the budget stay guest have to settle for less? Why can we not have “Luxe for Less”?

Oh Boy – I am going to slow down here as I am burning up inside. I will leave that for my next post along these lines.

So, that is a touch of my story to date. I am very excited about the future and I hope to be able to make a difference in the hotel interiors, so that we the guests can know that we matter – in all issues of hospitality service.

I would love to hear your story about your career, or your dream, or what your love affair is all about. Be it interiors, food, wine, travel, fashion, beauty – whatever. Hopefully you will take the time to write to me.

Thanks for listening.

Yours in service of Interiors,

Rose xxx