Trend Watching 2012 – Part One

By Marica

Just like last year, Rose and I sat down earlier this week to discuss our favourite trends of the past year. We might not be good at predicting future trends (yet) but we love to observe the evolution of current and past trends – we call this little exercise “trend watching”.

As predicted many of the 2011 trends we wrote about last year continued on into 2012. Since most of these trends are still relevant and to refresh your memory you can read the 2011 trend reports here: Part 1 (Style), Part 2 (Colour), and Part 3 (Pattern).

Interesting to note that the primary style trends have not changed much over the past year. Trends like Industrial, Mid-century Modern, Scandi, and Vintage are now more popular than ever – especially since trend-related items have finally reached the retail market. More and more emphasis is also being place on designing green and buying homemade.

Rose and I also read a fascinating article on Freshome recently concerning the link between fashion and interior trends. In recent years the world of interiors has seen about a 2 year lag from runway to living room. Now that gap seems to be closing in at a much faster rate. The article also addresses Pantone’s Colour of the Year and its trend influence – it’s a very interesting read.

Now, today we’ll be looking at our favourite colour trends of 2012…

The most surprising colour trend of 2012 would have to be Neon! First hitting the runways as part of Spring/Summer 2012 fashion collections – my first instinct was to run for the hills. However, this current neon trend is not a rehashing of the horrible, unmentionable neon trends of the 80’s. It’s contemporary, it’s refined, it’s balanced – it’s interesting!

Within months (maybe even weeks) this bold trend made its transition into the world of interiors and décor. Vibrant and eye-catching, pops of fluorescents adds an unexpected element to any interior. I’m not saying you should go paint all your walls a shocking pink – just add one or two bright accent pieces. It’s cool, it’s brave, it’s not for everyone – I totally love it.pastel

Pastels are by no means a new trend – it has been around for yonks. However, we have noticed a pastel evolution over the last handful of years. No longer restricted to kid’s bedrooms or fluffy girly spaces, we have moved away from the predictable cotton-candy pastels. The current pastel palettes – including those of 2011 & 2012 –  have a lot more depth. We saw the introduction of “bright pastels” – think corals, salmons, mints and aquas. These spring-coloured pastels where much the rage last year.

A new addition, which I’m sure we are going to see a lot more in the year to come, is what I like to call “dusty pastels“. Not as saturated as “bright pastels“, it has an almost time faded appearance – think dusty lilac, faded rose, or powdery moss.

Another delicious current trend is to combine pastels with pops of neon – the result is absolutely stunning!


Various metal finishes have once again made a comeback. However, it is not the shiny, glam, and gaudy metallics of trends past. It is an aged, faded kind of metal trend – no blinding, polished golds and silvers. Old gold, antique silver, and especially brass and copper have seen a revival. There is just something about these rich, warm-hued metals that adds dimension and a sense of vintage luxe. I have seen some gorgeous brass and copper light-fittings and décor accents, and it works so well with our other colour trends!

Stick around for Part 2 of our 2012 Trend report where we discuss the past year’s pattern trends…

{So, what colour trends did you notice in 2012? We would love to hear about your favourites colour!}


A New Home For Chandler House

There is an exciting new addition to Church Street, Cape Town. Designer, Michael Chandler has recently opened the doors of very own Chandler House shop.

Visi appropriately described the little shop as a “rabbit hole” – and what a creative and magical warren it is!

Michael has meticulously curated a veritable wealth of desirable products to complement his own exceptionally exclusive and beautiful designs. The tiny shop is filled chock-a-block with gorgeous ceramics, cushions, Kenyan scarves, beautiful suzanis, art, antiques, and other collectibles.

Over the past couple of years, Rose and I have excitedly watched Michael’s development of Chandler House from a handful of designs to a growing collection of exceptional pieces that have now found a permanent retail home.

The aspect that we admire most about Chandler House is its distinct and unique identity. In a design climate where originality is a rare find, Michael’s love of Cape heritage has resulted in something truly matchless. His designs celebrate Cape Town’s history and culture, and as designers and proud Capetonians we think that is bloody marvellous.

Well done Michael, we cannot wait to see what glorious rabbit you are going to pull out of your sleeve next!

Be sure to pop into 53 Church Street when next you visit the Mother City. Until then, feast your eyes on these wonderful images or visit the Chandler House website and Facebook page.

All images via Chandler House

Indigi Designs Do South Africa Proud!

Indigi Designs ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

Indigi Designs is a design label founded by Natalie du Toit, whose passion for design and experimentation is evident in her growing product range. Said to be a fusion between contemporary design and local craftsmanship, each piece is proudly handmade in South Africa. The result – an unique identity with local flavour and global appeal.

Natalie, a qualified interior designer, left her corporate position as a creative director in February 2011 to start her own design company. She launched Indigi Designs at the 2011 Design Indaba in Cape Town where she had a fantastic response. The Undulate Stool, a brightly coloured wire stool with a distinct African flair, was an immediate hit.

In the same year, she developed and launched a boutique fabric range which features some gorgeous South African-inspired patterns and designs in trendy colourways. These textiles subsequently inspired a whole collection of bold scatter cushions (you might have noticed them at Design Indaba 2012).

2012 also saw the addition of some awesome new stool and side table designs to the Indigi furniture range. Similar in concept to the Undulate Stool the new pieces feature, amongst others, a more angular contemporary design that I absolutely adore.

The latest addition to the Indigi range is the brilliant Pumpkin Pouf. First spotted at Kamers Vol Geskenke last year, this funky number was a total show stealer.

Indigi has also recently been selected to be part of the South African Handmade Collection at the celebrated Ambiente Expo in Frankfurt! Congratulations to Natalie and her team – this is such a great honour and we are super proud to have you represent us abroad.

To see more great Indigi products be sure to check out their website: here or follow their Facebook page: here for the latest skinny!

Décor Dictionary: Ombre

I’m sure you have noticed this dramatic, playful trend around the web the last couple of years – it everywhere. Anything from hair and fashion, to furniture and décor… even walls and wedding cakes! It is definitely one of my favourite trends…

Ombre:  is a French term meaning “shaded” or “shading” and refers to a dyed, printed, painted, or woven design of which the colour graduates from light to dark. Said to be an extension of the 60’s hippie tie-dye trend, Ombre can either be applied in a gradual saturation (the “dip-dye” effect) or in stepped, stripe-like shades (the “colour chart” effect).

[Images sources: 12 & 3]

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2013: Emerald

Pantone Colour Of The Year 2013 - Emerald l The Design Tabloid (1)

Another thing we waved goodbye to at the end of last year was of course the Pantone colour of 2012 – Tangerine Tango. I eagerly waited on the edge of my seat for the big colour reveal of 2013… and well, I was a little disappointed…

On 6 December, it was announced that the Pantone Colour of the Year 2013 is… Emerald. It took both Rose and me by surprise – I expected something a little more minty and light. We couldn’t help wondering about Pantone’s selection process. Does a colour become the colour of the year because it’s trending or is the reverse true? Does it become a trend because it is the colour of the year?

Emerald, a vivid, verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony.

Here is what Pantone had to say about Emerald:

“Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the colour of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the colour of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other colour conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.”

“Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other colour in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

“The Colour of the Year selection is a very thoughtful process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, travelling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.”

“Enhance your sense of well-being at home by rejuvenating the interior with Emerald paint, accents and accessories. This jewel-like hue will create a luxurious feel in an entryway, powder room, dining room or study, and bring life to a living room as an accent wall. Add a splash of colour to the kitchen and dining room areas with Emerald dinnerware, stemware and appliances.”

Wondering how to incorporate this bold colour into your home? Consider using them in conjunction with the following colours:

White – it’s fresh, light and easy on the eyes – a perfect balance to Emerald’s loud vibrancy. Play with patterns to add elements of interest and fun.

Black – mysterious and bold. Paired with emerald it speaks of opulence and sophistication.

Blue – another jewel tone that diffuses the bold emerald and adds a beautiful cool and calming facet.

Neon Pink – not for the timid. The introduction of pops of neon pink into an emerald scheme is playful and trendy.

Ag, maybe I’m just a little biased as emerald is not one of my favourite colours. I have since stumbled across many beautiful examples of emerald… especially in the fashion design industry. Mmm, I think it will grow on me…


A Reflection On 2012…

Like we did at the beginning of last year and to ease ourselves back into the blogging groove, we would like to share with you some stats on our blog’s activity in 2012. Here are some interesting facts…

We wrote exactly 100 new blog posts in 2012 and uploaded a whopping 572 images. Our busiest blog day was June 7th, the most popular post that day being the CrazySexyCool Wall Decals give-away. Our blog readers are spread over an impressive 178 countries, and just like last year, the most visitors came from South Africa. The United States & The United Kingdom were not far behind.

The stats indicate that the most popular posts to be…

Decor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency1.  Décor Dictionary: Recycling & Upcycling attempts to define the rather elusive terms, recycling and upcycling – specific to the design industry.

2.  Décor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency Style – we asked Capetonian Interior Decorator, Kim Stephen of In A State Of Luxe to define this trending glamorous décor style for us.A Valentine’s Picnic - without the corny clichés

3.  Consol’s SUPER Solar Jar! inspired us to try our hand at product styling… and boy, what a ball we had doing it!

4.  Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint in which Rose discuss the current trend of painting vintage furniture pieces.

5.  A Valentine’s Picnic… without the corny clichés put new stylish spin on the old romantic picnic idea.

Rose and I also sat down and discussed our personal favourite blog posts of 2012…

Rose said:

“Monday was the first time I switched on my computer since 20th December. It really felt that I had come out on the other side of the Mayan Calendar, almost like Mayan afterlife. Now in the present moment here in the very early stages of 2013, one of the best things I did today was glance back at the blog posts we wrote during 2012. This little exercise also brought home to me some of the business successes that Design Monarchy had in 2012 – big and small. It inspires me into the new year.

Without any further ado, these are the blog articles that stand out for me. I would love to expound the reasons why, but since lethargy still clouds my mind, I just went on my gut feel.

Design Indaba was actually the highlight design activity of last year. It was the first time that I had attended any the conference itself and needless to say, I was blown away. I was inspired to dizzy heights coming out of Design Indaba ‘s talent. That is why I think I was attracted to the article that covered the beautiful Design Indaba ceramic works.

It was via Twitter that I stumbled across graphic designer, Leila Fanner’s work – strangely, since she hardly ever tweets. Since meeting her, we have discovered so much in common and gone onto become friends. Leila is also the graphic designer that is responsible for Design Monarchy’s new look company logo. That new logo was just simply another sign of the maturity that is slowly happening within our company.

2012 also saw the development of the Ask Décor Diva column coming out of design queries from our readers. I loved this, the “feature bathroom” query being one of my highlights! PLEASE, don’t hesitate to let us have as many of your design dilemma queries as possible – the Décor Diva needs to be kept busy.

Marica’s Get The Look article on the Contemporary Lounge so did it for me. She really managed to nail that one.

There was a moment last year where I had that ah-ha! moment coming out of all the blog reading I do. I realised that Tea Towels were just so cool. Marica translated that into a cool post on these nifty décor accessories.”

For my part – like Rose, the Design Indaba was also the most unforgettable event of 2012! Attending the conference and listen to all the local and international speakers was jaw-dropping amazing.

I also had a ball earlier this year when we did a 3-part blog review on the developing trends we observed the previous year. I think trend-watching has become on of my favourite activities!

Another blog post I thoroughly enjoyed was James Russell’s knowledgeable guest post on the History of Toile de Jouy – it gets the award for the most interesting read of 2012!

Getting our hands dirty with our little Consol Solar Jar shoot was also a blog highlight for me. Running around my backyard in the dark was a lot of fun!

Lastly, I also enjoyed putting together the post on using ladders as décor accessories… so much so that my one friend thinks I ladder-obsessed.

So what do you think? What as your favourite posts of 2012?

Thanks for all your wonderful support during 2012 and STAY WITH US, we promise to deliver the goodies.

Is there anything design and décor related you would like to see us writing about – any local person, place, space, query – let us know – WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!