Home Magazine April 2016 Cover

Another Amazing Design Monarchy Feature in Home Magazine!

Earlier this month we wrote a blog post, “2015: A Winning Year for Design Monarchy“, about all the exciting projects and experiences we had last year. As mentioned in the post, one of the absolute high points was that Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif featured one of our interior design projects, the home of our client Sharon Turner, in the their January issue. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilling it is to see one’s hard work on the cover of a glossy magazine!

Well, call us doubly blessed, because shortly thereafter Home / Tuis once again asked if they could feature another one of our projects. What makes this home extra special and personal is that our client, Michelle Ward, happens to be Rose’s sister! It was such fun working with Michelle. Since we know her so well it was that much easier to put together the perfect interior proposal for her home that catered to her tastes. Michelle wanted bright and happy, colourful and quirky, with just the slightest dash of glamour.

One of my favourite elements in Michelle’s home is the gorgeous hand-painted Moroccan tiles we sourced for the scullery. I can remember spending a good couple of hours in Moroccan Warehouse in Cape Town bent over stacks of tiles to find the perfect tile repeat. Rose also found the cutest potted plants at Typo which along with the Moroccan tiles made for one trendy scullery.

Another feature I loved was the Mid-Century inspired easy chair we had custom made for the living room. It featured the most beautiful, bold, big floral fabric we sourced at Home Fabrics. It is so happy and colourful – a true reflection of the overall interior.

Michelle found a vintage multi-drawer storage unit for her study which Rose and I took one look at and said: “Let’s paint it ombre!” The carcass we painted white and the drawers in graduating shades of yellow. It looks smashing against the quirky white and black polka dot wallpaper in the study.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the April issue of Tuis or Home Magazine see the full feature and beautiful images (page 16-23). Let us know what you think!

Incredible Indigenus Planters

Recently some very beautiful décor objects came across my path.  Not only are these decorative objects beautiful to the eye, but they are also something of a rarity to be found when sourcing for either indoor or outdoor planters.  Believe me, I know – to find decorative planters that are not the run-of-the-mill is indeed a gargantuan ask.

Indigenus is a collection of contemporary planters that is anything but ordinary.  Design entrepreneur, Peter van der Post, understood that there was a real need for desirable upmarket planters for both interior and exterior, and so Indigenus was born.

To further add to the rarity – these planters have been designed by award-winning South African designers Haldane Martin, Gregor Jenkin and Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design.  Later this year the range is said to expand to include planters by renowned architects Stefan Antoni and Greg Truen of SAOTA.  This also explains why, like most rarities, the price tags are somewhat stiff. Wait for it – R10K and up.

Nevertheless, I have decided that just as I drool over those aspirational homes on Top Billing, this might just fall into that drool-worthy aspirational category too. So, these planters are well worth a share – just because we can. Sigh, true blue eye-candy!

{images via indigenus}

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.

Bathrooms: Don’t replace. Resurface.

beta bathroomsMany years ago during the sale of our last house, I discovered that there two areas of a house that buyers are always drawn towards like magnets – the kitchen and the bathrooms.  It seems that if your kitchen and your bathroom don’t measure up, it could potentially work against the sale of your house.  Having a lovely lounge, dining room and bedrooms just won’t compensate for bathrooms and kitchens that are seen to be rather sad.

Today we chat with Robyn Lambrick.  Her hubby’s business, Beta Bathrooms, transforms existing bathrooms from drab to fab.

Q: Robyn, what can be done to give one’s bathroom and sanware a facelift?

We so often receive enquiries from homeowners who want to refresh their outdated or worn bathroom but are daunted by what such process might entail. Just think about it – ripping out tiles, sanware and cabinetry – what a mess! Not to mention the high cost of replacing those fittings and finishes.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most permanent aesthetic fixtures in your home. To refresh any other room in your home can involve as little as a lick of paint and few new cushions. A bathroom or kitchen makeover is far more complex and expensive. Or is it?

The new trend to renovating these days is not to replace, but to resurface.

Q: What is resurfacing?

A: Resurfacing, also called refinishing or re-enamelling, is the process of refreshing the surface of worn, damaged sanitaryware, such as a bathtub, to a like-new condition. This process typically involves repairing any damaged areas and then spraying the surface with a durable enamel coating in-situ.

This bathroom facelift is far less expensive and disruptive, not to mention time-saving – we are in and out in 24 hours!

Q: Any last words of advice from Beta Bathrooms?

A:  Again we say – Don’t replace.  Resurface –  save the planet and your pocket!  Resurfacing is not just restricted to baths – basins, toilets, even tiles and kitchen cabinetry can be resurfaced. Also, don’t stress too much about the state of your bath, we have perfected a coating and procedure that is able to mend all damage to any bath – that includes scratches, stains and cracks.  Beta bathrooms are able to assist sorting that issue for you within a 45 minute period. Please feel free to contact Stephen Lambrick for an onsite consultation and a free quote: here.

Stay tuned for the next “episode” of this series in which Robyn chats about the different types of baths.  Adios Amigos.

Suzelle DIY – How to make a Terrarium

Suzelle DIYI am sure most of you have seen the hilarious “How to make a Braai Pie” video that recently launched Suzelle DIY – “a bitesize do-it-yourself webseries” – into local stardom.

I can completely understand why Suzelle has taken country by storm. There is something so distinctly South African about her quirky yet helpful DIY clips. Her humorous portrayal of a certain Afrikaans stereotype is SO easy to relate to and love. I especially love the videos that feature Suzelle’s silent and awkward best friend, Marianne.

In the video above Suzelle walks us through creating a beautiful terrarium – a perfect and creative gift for a friend or loved one. D.I.Why? Because anybody can!

Interesting titbit: Suzelle is the alter ego of Capetonian designer, artist and illustrator Julia Anastasopoulos. Julia’s beautiful hand drawn works can be seen all around town – on the walls and windows of some MyCiti bus stations, as well as a gorgeous illustrated mural in the children’s section of The Book Lounge in Roeland Street. Julia, who has a background in theatre, teamed up with talented filmmaker and animator Ari Kruger to create the beautifully styled and shot Suzelle DIY.

Love Suzelle DIY as much as we do? Want to see more of her videos? Be sure to check out her YouTube channel: here.

Q&A With Liesl van der Hoven of Fairy Caravan

“We chatted with talented children’s book illustrator Liesl van der Hoven about her online children’s décor shop, Fairy Caravan, and her adorable range of products…”

Meet Liesl van der Hoven and Fairy Caravan…

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your work and Fairy Caravan…

I am an illustrator who loves to draw for children. I believe in the magic of telling stories with pictures and also that stories need not be confined to books, but should be found everywhere they can be enjoyed.

For my business, Fairy Caravan, I have my illustrations printed on a range of high quality decor items for baby and toddler rooms, such as 100% cotton bed linen and pillows as well as matching wall art. These products enable parents and grandparents to add the charm of a children’s picture book to their nursery or toddler’s room.

Q: How did you get into the illustration business? Do you have an art or design background?

Education and work wise my background is very diverse: I started off studying Graphic Design, but then ended up doing my Master’s degree in Philosophy by accident!

I worked in a number of different fields, including for a large book retailer, as an editor, and in marketing.

The children’s illustration bug bit when I did my first short course in children’s book illustration with Marjorie van Heerden at the University of Stellenbosch in 2009. Children’s illustration suited my artistic style and I was inspired to pursue this field. Another, more intensive course in children’s book illustration followed in 2010. I also did a children’s book writing course with author Marianna Brandt.

Q: Why and when did you decide to take the scary step into retail?

After two courses to sharpen my skills as a children’s book illustrator, I felt ready to start freelancing for publishers. I completed a few illustrations for the educational market, but quickly became disillusioned with the opportunities available to children’s book illustrators in South Africa.

I started looking for ways in which I could create my own opportunities for drawing what I wanted to draw and getting paid for it, and that was how Fairy Caravan was born: My illustrations could be printed on a multitude of different surfaces where children could enjoy them!

My diverse background in terms of education and work experience has become an asset in starting up my creative business. I knew enough about retail and marketing to take the scary step towards starting up a product-based business.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?

I have quite a collection of children’s books that I love to page through for inspiration. Often I just look at the pictures and these pictures inspire new stories and ideas for new characters. There is always some kind of story idea behind my illustrations – even if the story is very simple.

I love drawing animals more than anything else. I am a big animal lover so my own pets are a constant source of inspiration. I love that animal characters appeal to people of different cultures – something that is important to me in creating products for the South African market.

I also love observing the way in which children experience the world. I have a little nephew who has inspired many of my illustrations and I am fortunate that many of my friends have little ones that I get to play with.

Q: Is there a certain style you admire or aspire to?

I have loved Beatrix Potter’s books since my very first trip to the library before I even went to school. My favourite has always been Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle!

I love the style of classic children’s book illustrations, and artists whose work look hand drawn. Emily Gravett, Quentin Gréban, Rebecca Dautremer, Marjolein Bastin and Lisbeth Zwerger (to name a few) all do amazing work and I love looking at their illustrations for inspiration.

Q:  Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

I love all colours and my favourites are constantly changing.

Q:  Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?

A visit to The Deckle Edge in Woodstock with lots of time to browse is a huge treat for me. I have a weakness for expensive watercolour paper and tend to overspend on quality art materials because now I get to say that it’s “for work”!

Q:   What is your favourite current décor trend?

I love that the woodland theme for nurseries and toddler’s rooms is not going away. It’s a classic theme and one that is open to a multitude of interpretations. Over the past few years we have seen rabbits, owls, hedgehogs and foxes have their moments, and I am loving the sweet little deer that have lately started showing up in nurseries and toddler rooms.

Q:  Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

1.  Visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona with my husband once it is completed (in about 2026 – 2028) We visited in 2011 while on honeymoon and vowed that we would go back.

2.  Spending at least a week in Paris visiting the Louvre as many times as I want.

3.  Having one of my stories published – with my own illustrations.

4.  I would love to have a garden big enough to keep as many pets as I like, I’m thinking a rabbit or two, a handful of chickens; I’d love to have another big dog and a giraffe!

5.  Owning my dream car – a Jaguar.

Q: What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

My Kindle with hundreds of stories, my smartphone and every morning my husband brings me a cup of tea – I am very lucky!

Q: Future plans? Can we expect to see more Fairy Caravan products?

I have already started planning my 2015 collection of illustrations, I’m not going to say anything about this just yet, but I can’t wait to get started on the drawings!

My plans in terms of products are to add more décor products to compliment the products that I already have, for example cot bumpers to go with my cot duvets and baby pillows.

I really enjoyed creating the animal pillow toys for toddlers this year, and they have also sold very well. I have a few ideas for adding more toy products to my range this year and am excited about where this may take me!

Be sure to check out more of Fairy Caravan’s gorgeous products on their website: here. You can also follow Fairy Caravan on Facebook: here.