Category Archives: 101

Know Your Bath

Robyn LambrickLast week we chatted to Robyn Lambrick about the wonder of “resurfacing” – a restorative process where old and ugly sanitaryware gets a new lease on life (read post: here). Robyn’s husband owns the resurfacing company Beta Bathrooms and the sanware item they refinish is bathtubs…

Today Robyn is going to tell us all about baths (all of which can be resurfaced btw) – and since my bath is one of my sacred spaces in my home, I am all ears (plus both of our baths need a bit of TLC).

Take it away Robyn…

Q: Should I replace my old cast iron bath while renovating my bathroom?

A: Well, if you ask us – we’ll tell you NO!  Most definitely not! It’s simple, we believe that a cast iron bath is one of the best baths ever made!

Q: Could you open that up for us somewhat:

A: Sure thing.  There are a few reasons:

# Firstly, a cast iron bath is a handy man’s dream – no silicon is required for sealing around this This means – no unsightly mould (a biggie believe me)!

# These baths are solid as a rock – no shifting or moving beneath the user – no matter how heavy you are!  It’s important to note here that the fibreglass bath, a much lighter bath, shifts very easily and has been known to crack and sometimes even produce holes in the bottom or sides – much to their owner’s dismay!

# Cast iron baths retain their heat for way longer than any other bath.  Suddenly that long romantic bubble bath soak becomes appealing doesn’t it?

# Buying a cast iron bath is also not a short term purchase.This bath once installed can last a lifetime. It is an element that will work in favour of your home as an investment.

# Cast iron baths are harder to chip & scratch and most certainly won’t develop any holes – unless you purposefully take a drill to your bath!

# They are, however, a rare and beautiful find – as they are scarce and quite sought after!  So if you happen to lay your hands on one – hold on to it and rather resurface or renovate the surface. As mentioned earlier – it will pay its dues!

# These baths are durable and have a classic look that never seems to date no matter what bathroom trends we face.  Therefore, we highly recommend don’t replace. Rather Resurface. That’s a no-brainer.

Q: Can the same be said for a pressed steel bath?

A: No, unfortunately not.  These baths are made from formed steel and have a porcelain-enamel coating.  They are not as expensive and chip and scratch very easily!  Steel conducts heat, meaning the bath water cools way too quickly – leaving the occupant feeling rather chilly!  Pressed steel are way heavier than their brother – the cast iron bath – back breaking stuff moving this bath – so not the contractor’s favourite friend!  We’d go out on a limb and say – a pressed steel bath is not our favourite type of bath.

Q: What about a plastic bath? 

A: Plastic, either fibreglass or acrylic baths, offer the greatest design flexibility because it can be moulded into many shapes –customer is spoilt for choice in shape, sizes, colour and styles! It insulates very well; is light for transport and carrying purposes. The downside however – it does chip and scratch easily – especially with the abrasive cleaners available on the market.

Window Treatments 101: Hang ’em High!

I was recently asked the following question by a client of Design Monarchy:

Do you think I should take the curtains right up to the ceiling or will this make it look too formal?

And this was my short and simple reply back to her (we know each other well enough to keep it simple):

Yes – I always like to allow the curtains to drop from under the cornice. The pole or rail is generally installed about 1 cm under the cornice, with the curtains falling from below the pole. Not too formal at all.  It is not the height of the pole that makes it too formal, but rather the fabric and yours is lightweight and informal.

Hanging your curtains from just below the ceiling or cornice and – if space allows – a good deal wider than the window frame will create the illusion of a loftier, airier space.

Naturally I am aware of the ceiling height of that particular house. I mention this since the ceiling height is naturally a factor to take into consideration.  The average ceiling height can range between 2.3 m to 2.5 m. I was replying with this in mind and even if the ceiling is higher than the average, I still advocate having the curtains drop from just below the cornice.  If you are going to the trouble of buying and installing curtains as your window treatment, then why not make it one of the room décor features, instead of merely functional pieces of fabric that can be dragged open & closed as you need it.

Coming out of my many years of working with window treatments, I have come to appreciate the fact that window treatments are one of the critical décor features in a room.  With the right criteria applied to your curtains, you will be able to create a décor feature that is unique to your room setting/home.

So, if you are ever in doubt just remember – hang them high, hang them wide!

Over the next few weeks, we will take a brief peek into some of these window treatment criteria, since window treatments are attainable to each and every one of us.

Ciao until the next time.

Coffee Tables: A Contemporary Take

Over the course of the past year, we have been lucky enough to be working on interior projects that have given us the opportunity of applying some trendy new industrial/rustic living décor and design elements. I have to admit that trying to source the industrial furniture elements has not always been that easy here in Cape Town. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that it is a great pity that the retail furniture outlets in town that cater for that type of style are so limited.

Thank heavens for Weylandts. Man oh man – they are a forward thinking décor company. We spent hours and hours during the course of these projects trawling their showrooms. During this time I was introduced to the concept of having multiple “side tables” (for want of a better description) of varying shapes and textured being put to use as “centre coffee tables”. Something like a round metal table mixed with a tribal wood stump table as well another smaller and taller side table. A cluster of tables so to speak.

The most appealing aspect of this styling method is the fact that it presents a less bulky and fixed look than the coffee table. And of course it is far more entertaining and playful for the eye of the beholder. Plus – the other added benefit is that these tables are more mobile – you can shift them around in that space to where they are most suited and functional.

I would encourage you to explore this concept of cluster tabling for your next coffee table purchase.  It will cost slightly more, but then it is not every day one steps out to purchase a coffee table. So make it good and make it work. Save a little longer and buy wisely. Far too often have I encountered oversized and bulky coffee tables that do nothing for the space and leave very little or no space for traffic flow around them. Far too often very little creative thought is given to this facet of home decorating – coffee tables frequently appear to be nothing more than an afterthought! And it need not be so. Using a collection of different tables gives you the opportunity to be expressive and creative. Just a by the way – although I have spoken of it in the context of the industrial and rustic styled house, this type of cluster tables is not limited to those styles and can be applied into any style.

I challenge you to get out there the next time you want to do coffee or side tabling and dare to be different. Explore the net and the retail showrooms. Research and spend some time thinking outta the box. It can really be very exciting.

Décor Diva: The Secret To A Decadent Boudoir Bedroom

According to Wikipedia a Boudoir is “a lady’s private sitting room or dressing room.” Others have added in the phrase “where she would retire to receive friends.”

The term derives from the French verb “bouder” meaning, “to be sulky.”  Apparently, young ladies were sent to their “boudoirs” to go and sulk in private. Who would have thought of that association today?

More interesting though is to see how the interpretation of a Boudoir has recently come to denote a style of furnishing for the Bedroom that can traditionally be described as ornate, opulent and sensuous. The focus of which is strongly linked to the Renaissance and French inspired bedroom styles. And even more recently, it includes an opulent spin on the “French Country Cottage” style.

This is a very definite style and is all about ambience, ambience and even more ambience.  At the mention of the word “boudoir,” images and descriptions of O.T.T. opulence, glamour, sensuality, intimacy and privacy, dark chocolate, red roses and the like come to mind. You get taken away to scenes from the movies “Moulin Rouge” and “Marie Antoinette”.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to create this decadent private romantic bedroom style, the sensuality of which will seduce all who enter into that chamber.

To achieve an effective boudoir style, lavish layering is essential. In order to add depth to the room, you would include various layers of textures, objects and tones – all of these add further character and dimension.

The Traditional Boudoir

A more “classical” boudoir would be along the Versailles / Moulin Rouge style, with the textures being found in plush, deep velvet fabrics, patterned and plain mixed together; rich silk fabrics (on the lampshades, scatters cushions and bed throws), not forgetting that deep pile damask wallpaper and toiles (non-negotiable). Remember – glamour is key.

The furniture – very much along the lines of the Louis XV style. It can be a chair in the corner, a deep-buttoned headboard, bedside pedestals and ottomans. This style has the slightly curved legs, otherwise known as “cabriole”. The finish on these pieces, either the ever popular gold gilt, dark stained wood or paint. Sheer decadence and opulence.

The last layers will be the accessories, decadent mirrors with ornate frames, glass, silver & mirrored ornaments, lamp bases, vases and all manner of collectables. Then of course, there are the candles – in varying sizes and colours. Naturally, fragranced candles will enhance your sensual ambience. Take the time to group your accessories together – clusters of small mirrors, prints and pictures and any of the above. Oh – never forget that trendy crystal chandelier!

The floor covering should the deep piled rugs, preferably of along the shaggy style. Your feet should feel embraced by the pile of the rug.

To create that intimate space for the classic style look at applying the deep red colour, rich burgundy, pink, purple, royal blue, grey and gold. For a more masculine touch work with black, silver, white and purple.

The French Country Boudoir

If you find the strong textures and tones of the classic boudoir style to overwhelming you can always opt for the ever popular fresh French Country Style. The sensuality and intimacy of this boudoir style is to be found in the romantic softness. The fabrics by contrast are soft, flimsy voiles, natural linens and silks alike, complimented by some country floral patterns.

The same French furniture style is used, but the finish is different. Paint techniqued to look slightly distressed or aged – tones of off-whites, very pale yellows and soft French blues and greys are ever popular.

The bed would be dressed with linen that draws you into its freshness, using neutral tones as complimentary. To add depth, introduce any soft colour with a faded appearance. Add a glimpse of glamour with a sensuous throw and scatter cushions, with a hint of “glitz”.

Maintain the natural essence of this style on the floor, applying natural textured rugs that are sensual in their ruggedness.

Go out there, style and create your prefect boudoir – achievable even on a budget – just shop around and let it evolve.

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (5)

{The Grosvenor Hotel launched its opulent ‘Courtesan’s Boudoir’. The Parisian-inspired Suite has been tenderly created in homage to one of the grand railway hotel’s most infamous visitors – the scandalous courtesan, Miss Cora Pearl.}

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (7)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (8)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (9)

Boudoir Bedroom ǀ The Design Tabloid (3)

{Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}

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