I was trawling through a small pile of emails, the interiors-related kinda email newsletters, this morning. When I stumbled onto the video featured below. I always love a good house tour video.
The extraordinary thing about this video was that I had no cooking-clue who this fresh-faced young man was. He is clearly a celeb of some kind – why else would he be featured?! Still no cooking-clue. Yet, he had my attention right from the very first sentence he uttered! He entusuatically welcomed the public into his home and then the casual house tour kicked in. I wanted to stop the video to go and google this 25-year-old man (who looks like a 20-year-old), but I just didn’t want to miss a beat.
Somewhat different to your normal house tour video. This young man conducted the tour himself. Spoke to the ins and the outs, the décor elements, the whys and the history of his Victorian-Era home. He was seriously entertaining. Plus, he impressed me with his obvious love for beautiful interior spaces. His home is cleary filled with what makes his heart sing.
How was it possible that such a young man could afford the house of his dreams? Well, as soon as he said goodbye at the gate and the video ended, I popped over to Google. I discovered that this unknown factor (to me anyway) is a South African born, Australian singer/songwriter and actor called Troye Sivan! I am pretty damn sure there are millions who know him and his music – well now I do too. I nipped over to listen to one of his songs and really enjoyed his voice and lyrics.
Okay, enough said by moi – Watch the video and listen to his music. I hope it entertains you as much as it did me. I’m so inspired by this young man and his interior choices.
Read more about Troye’s beautiful home on Architectural Digest: here.
I must say, if I were one of Design Monarchy‘s regular blog readers, clients, friends, or followers, I might consider the title of this article rather bizarre and odd! Especially considering this blog has been active (sometimes, with long pause periods) for 10 years. Plus, this isn’t the first time that I have written about who I am and how I got to this place of being the owner and creative director of Design Monarchy.
I wouldn’t blame you if you are tempted to ask “just what more does she want to introduce about herself?” Yes, despite having written about myself in some past blog articles, I have the urge to tell you more about us within the context of our interior design business, Design Monarchy.
Now, WHY would I feel the urge or the need to talk more about myself / us and Design Monarchy?
It is simple really – the “KNOW, LIKE and TRUST” factor! The first time I encountered this as a business principle, was during a social media strategy session with a mentor years ago.
Would you not want to know more about the interior design or decorating professional whose service you would like to employ? You are after all allowing them access to your most intimate space – your home (or you treasured business premises).
It is generally accepted that those whom we know, like, and trust are those to whom we entrust those big-ticket items! It’s either that, or we would entertain a service provider whom others have known, liked and trusted.
Adding colour to the line-drawing which is our / my Story…
So, what else? Oh gosh, plenty, I guess filling in the gaps left in our website’s “About Us” page and past blog articles are where this is going. Consider it as opening up a little of the Personality of Design Monarchy.
What I really feel like sharing with you today, are those values that we embrace. Values that are intrinsic to Design Monarchy as a business. How those fit with valuing ourselves, our clients, and our service providers as we go about doing what we love every day. I see these values as fundamental ingredients for a great recipe for a successful interiors business. The same way something like flour, salt, and eggs are essential to many cooking recipes.
7 ideals we strive towards every day…
My first thought goes straight to that which is high on my personal values list – Integrity! From where I am sitting it takes courage to be an integrous person and run an integrous company, which goes hand in hand with Honesty.
I was schooled in a girls-only Convent. The teaching Nuns constantly liked to remind us that “Honesty is the best policy!” I can still hear our Principal’s voice. LOL. Yet despite their best attempts at brainwashing me, it wasn’t until much later in life, that Integrity and Honesty truly took root in my life.
I am as human as the next person and fear often set the pace for my emotional and verbal reactions. Often it was easier to lie than to be honest. I remember knots in my stomach when confronted by a situation that needed the truth told. That is why I maintain that it takes a courageous person to be Honest and Integrous. #TrueConfession: Somewhere along the path of this life, a shift from Fear to Honesty happened. Now, hopefully, it is at that place where it is as natural as breathing.
Thrown into our value mix – we are big on Authenticity. It comes in many shapes and sizes, particularly in a creative design industry. Over the past 10 or 11 years, I have discovered the absolute beauty of being authentic. It’s so powerful and empowering. That feeling of being the REAL ME is something that I enjoy. The knock-on effect being our clients have the benefit of our “keeping it real” mindset. Some like clients appreciate this, while it might escape others. Experience has revealed that this ideal opens the way for us to create interiors that speak to our client’s own authenticity.
Then there is Excellence and Commitment. I suppose the Convent education also contributes greatly towards this ideal. I know that I inherited my mother’s work ethic. She came from farming stock where the idea of applying yourself to the task was as natural as breathing. Naturally, that goes hand in hand with Commitment. Once we at Design Monarchy set our minds towards a task, we stick with it intent on delivering as good a product or service within our skillset. By the way, when I say “Excellence”, I am not referring to “Perfection”. That is a quite different animal!
Does that mean that this internal drive to serve well and with commitment make us doormats? Or open to abusive behaviour from projects or clients? Not at all! Both Marica and I have learnt this lesson the hard way. Yes, we have been so keen to do our best that we give way too much. That said, we are gradually finding balance in this regard.
Some ideals are easy because they come naturally. The concept of Respecting the Choices of others can be challenging for both the Interior Service Provider (i.e. us) and the client. Interiors ultimately is all about making choices. Choosing the style that speaks to you; choosing the floor plans, hard and soft finishes basically all interior finishes from start to finish of the project. That is where the service, experience, talents and skills developed over many years of Design Monarchy team comes into play. Facilitating the choices that best suit you and work in your space.
But what happens when the choices that the client leans into doesn’t sit well with the Interiors Professional? Million-dollar question? We constantly find ourselves in the dilemma of being the experts who have beat this Interiors path every day as a profession, encountering resistance to the proposals. It is and will no doubt continue to be a tight rope walk, a push and pull movement. We accept this, knowing it is a two-way street. That said though, much as we aim to respect the choices our clients embrace, we need our professional opinions to be given due consideration. I regard our journey with the client as a collaborative one. We aim for Win-Win.
When it comes to owning one’s Expertise, acknowledging talents and delighting in our skills publicly wasn’t an easy fit. I still need to throw on my Courage Cloak to do that one. Thank goodness it seems to be getting easier with practice. Believe me, it really takes courage. Of course, we don’t want to be mistaken for “show-offs”. However, we have come to appreciate that unless we show off a bit, we will be hiding our skills and talents under a bushel. The knock-on effect is that we will be shortchanging someone of the opportunity of calling upon our skills to achieve their dream space. And as the Aussies like to say “Why would yah?”
I’ll leave this here now. Hope that this does help our readers and followers to KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST us.
Wishing all our readers and friends a Merry Christmas and a joyous festive season!
Festive Season is upon us. Can you believe it?
“Can you believe it… it’s the end of 2020 already?” “Christmas is literally around the corner!” “Where did the year disappear to?” If, like me, you are reading plenty of Festive Season greeting emails you could well be muttering the same well-worn phrases!
Every single year, without fail, once we have passed the end of June (the year’s halfway mark) – the days, weeks, months just melt one into the other. Then – BOOM! – before we know it, it’s time for the annual shut down. Every year, at this time, just before we are about to shut our office doors for that well-deserved time out, I feel like the lead-up and the arrival of Christmas takes me by surprise – AGAIN!! I guess it could have something to do with the fact that as soon as the end of September has swung around, our industry busy season kicks in. Or, MAYBE, it’s just a game that Xmas likes to play with me.
I had intended to say something about what an exceptional and strange year 2020 has been. However, Marica kinda reminded me that in our recent email newsletters, I had already kicked-off with a chirp about 2020. So, I had to stop and consider, what is it I would really like to say about 2020?
I think it would be short and sweet: IT IS A YEAR I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET!
It reminds me of 1994, the year South Africans had their very first democratic elections. Previously disenfranchised folk stood for hours, in long snaking queues, to cast their vote for the first time. That too is a year I will never forget.
So, without any further ado, allow me to thank you for being such faithful readers and supporters of The Design Tabloid. Know that we deeply appreciate your presence. THANK YOU SO MUCH! See you on the other side of this unforgettable year in January 2021.
We have lovely plans for 2021. Plans hatched many years ago but found plenty of momentum in 2020. I guess that is one thing we can thank 2020 for.
KEEP CALM AND STAY SAFE.
Ciao, Rose and Marica
P.S. I would so very much love to hear what your short and sweet response to the year 2020 would be? Did you manage to hatch any plans for 2021? Love to hear about those too!
Our studio will be closed for business from 18th of December 2020 and will reopen the 13th of January 2021. Ergo, The Design Tabloid and our social media accounts will slow its pace a bit in terms of posts.
It’s time for a room reveal! Furthermore, what makes this reveal extra special is that this space is in my own home. Yes, I am finally doing it! I have gotten to the place where I am ready to show “myself”. This was especially difficult for me because a room reveal cannot be done outside of revealing a part of who you are.
As I have said so how many times: “Your home speaks to who you are, your character, your values, your preferences, etc.”
So, let me kick-off be saying: Welcome to my home, my world! Grab a cuppa because it’s a long-ish story. Long-ish but hopefully light, easy and fun. I want to reveal the journey of getting into it and doing it. You could say “share the processes” – but that sounds so officious.
Just before I get into the nitty-gritty, I think I should mention something about how I “play this game called Interiors“.
On the one side of the coin, you have designers and decorators who prefer a more structured game plan. They lean towards a more methodical and linear creative thinking (technically-inclined Architects come to mind). On the flip side of the very same coin, you have the designers for whom a more organic and spontaneous game plan is a better fit.
Yours-truly fits into the latter category. Does this make the organic decorator someone who flies by the seat of her pants, or is all over the show? NO – hardly. We still follow a pattern and structure but are open to changing lanes and move into it with a bit more ease. So, this room reveal won’t really be a “5 steps to get to the goal” kinda story.
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 CafinnateAcademy 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.
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.
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!