Category Archives: Past Projects

Is There Heart in Your Home?

One of the vloggers I regularly follow starts off a video blog by greeting her audience with this salutation: “Hello all you Shiny Puppies”. I’m thinking – maybe I should also come up with an opening catchphrase for my blog posts. Any suggestions?

I kicked off the year attending a network meeting of note. One of my fellow networkers, Melanie – such a cool gal – was looking at the Home Magazine article of January 2016, in which one of our interior design & decorating  projects was featured (this has now become my brag book). Melanie is a Real Estate Consultant and a comment she made is what motivated me to write this article.

Quirky Workspace designed by Design Monarchy

This quirky, creative workspace we designed for our client Mrs. Turner was one of our favourite nooks EVER. Many of the elements, including the desk made of an old door and the wall boxes, Design Monarchy designed and had custom made. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

Many homes lack “heart”…

She said that what she loved about the interiors of the featured house was the fact that one could see it was full of “heart”.  She went on to tell me that since she deals with many upmarket houses, she has seen many interiors.  What strikes her is the fact that most of the houses have all the interior finishes you can want for, but no heart. Nothing that particularly warms the cockles of one’s heart. Nothing that stands out as being unique to the occupants of the home. By “interior finishes” she meant that the house has the granite kitchen top, the right tiles, the fairly updated kitchen, good furniture etc, but that is where it ends it seems. Pretty much what fellow blogger, Lelanie Slater, once coined as being a “showroom type interior”.

Quirky mismatched dining chairs

To add a creative and playful touch to the dining area we selected a mismatched mix of chairs. We had some chairs painted and sourced gorgeous fabrics from Skinny laMinx and Design Team for the seats. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

I so get what she is saying. I too have seen so many houses like that. It remains a house that people occupy but not a home. The interior décor lends no expression – no heart or warmth. Nor does it reflect the personality of the folk who live there. Such a great pity, because that is not what a home is meant to be.  We at the Design Monarchy, fulfil the desire of our own hearts, by helping our clients find expression of who they are in their home, in a heartfelt way. We do this by way of their interior decorations!  It is actually a very powerful process and loads of fun.

Does your personality find expression in your home?

I often wonder why it is that so many people are unable to connect with their home as a heart space. Why it is that this disconnect even exists?  It’s almost unthinkable for me in my world. But it is there and I feel I would like to explore this in a few blog posts to come. Why the superficial interior space? I am going to rope Marica in to share her views as well.

Vintage industrial styled entrance foyer

I spent a good hour or more arranging all the décor items and vintage accessories we sourced to create this perfect table vignette. We also used some of our client’s existing pieces, including the table and art, to style this amazing personality filled space. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

Maybe some feedback from our readers can help me here.  Are you able to suggest why so many folk have a heart disconnect to their home interior space? Is it money? Is it fear of finding expression? Can you help me here?

Cheers all – for now.

For The Love Of Klimt

Just yesterday Marica and I were discussing our love for the art of Gustav Klimt – Austrian symbolist painter. Today, his work is often seen as clichéd and cheesy (same happened to the work of poor Tretchikoff) however here at The Tabloid we still think it grand and romantic! We especially adore Klimt’s “Golden Phase” – many of his paintings from this period include the use of gold leaf – his famous “The Kiss” is an excellent example of this.

During the course of one of our Irish boutique hotel projects in Galway, I met a South African artist who works in a very different art medium. She would paint beautiful scenes on glass, cut the painted glass into puzzle-like pieces, and then tile it back together again in a mosaic-like fashion. The resulting artwork is absolutely stunning!

Through her I was introduced to the art work of Klimt – at the time she was creating some unbelievably beautiful Klimt tribute pieces in her shattered glass method. Well, needless to say I fell in love with his Klimt’s work right there and then. Naturally, we commissioned three big pieces of Klimt’s ladies from our glass artist to proudly display them in the reception area of the hotel.

There were a few unique art pieces in that hotel, but these three gorgeous ladies were the first the guests encountered. I always liked to think they were not only welcoming the guests, but also entertaining them and watching over them.

Now for your enjoyment, I’ve include our favourite works by Klimt below…

Industrial AV Unit Concept

We are currently working on an AWESOME interior design & décor project here at Design Monarchy. Rose and I have always dreamt of doing a project in the now-trending Industrial Style and were therefore super excited when we finally got the opportunity to do so earlier this year! Whilst the project is ongoing and the house is still in the construction phase, most of the furniture, décor, and finish have already been selected. As you can imagine, Rose and our lovely open-minded client had an absolute ball during the recent furniture sourcing expedition!

We could however not find a fitting AV cabinet, and after stumbling across some beautiful precedent images, we designed a unit that would fit perfectly with the rest of the interior. We thought to share it with you as a little teaser until the rest of the project is completed. What do you think?

{precedent: 1, 2}

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 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 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 LUXE.

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 am setting out on a campaign to take those many hotel interiors in the 3 & 4 star / budget hotel category from “DRAB TO FAB.  And being that my motto is: home is where the heart is – my market is all hotels local and South African. (For starters)

Our DRAB TO FAB campaign that we unofficially launched the end of last year. It's our aim to give the South African hospitality sector a facelift.

I have some seriously strong views on matters such as: 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. (But clean!) 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 in particular this campaign and 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

Drab to Fab” and “Luxe for Less” is the intellectual property of  Design Monarchy.

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