Toot Your Own Horn | via www.designmonarchy.co.za

Do You Toot Your Own Horn?

by Rose McClement

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 Cafinnate Academy 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.

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7 Home Decorating Regrets

7 Home Decorating Items & Decisions We Regret

by Marica Fick & Rose McClement

Earlier this week I read an article on Apartment Therapy that set the hamster wheel in my head spinning. The title grabbed me immediately: “3 Common Home Items I Wish I Never Bought”. In the post freelance writer, Sarah Lyon, shared that her past home decorating efforts has been accompanied by a fair dose of regret.

Sarah goes on to explain that while some treasured purchases have found a permanent place in her home, others left her with a bad taste in the mouth after a few short months. Her regrets include: cheesy, cliched wall art, cheap wine glasses, and pieces that are “too nice”.

While we did not entirely agree with all of her laments, it did spark an interesting office conversation. So here is Design Monarchy‘s list of home decorating items and decisions we regret…

Beautiful Vinyl Floor
We would opt for a beautiful good-quality vinyl floor above carpet in a heartbeat. | source: Godfrey Hirst via Instagram

Wall-to-Wall Carpet:

The first item on our home decorating regret list is one both Rose and I can’t wait to say “goodbye and good riddance” to. Wall-to-wall carpets. Until recently, opting for carpets throughout the home has been such an ingrain and default choice in home decorating.

We found that carpets take such an effort to clean and maintain in the long run. It just does not have the physical and aesthetic longevity that some other floor finishes have. No matter how regularly you vacuum and deep-clean your carpet, it still becomes a dirt and odour trap – especially if you have pets or little kiddos.

The carpets in my home are a real eye-sore. It was gorgeous when first installed but now it looks grubby no matter what we do. We have had it cleaned SO many times with no real improvement. And these were good quality, high traffic carpets!

Now, don’t get us wrong – we are not saying that you should immediately rip up the carpets in your home and get rid of them. We understand that there are some situations and areas where it remains the preferred application. Especially a bedroom – most people still prefer the added warmth and soft feel underfoot that carpets provide.

When it comes to general areas and living rooms we often recommend a good quality vinyl to our clients as an alternative floor covering. It is much easier to clean and maintain and adds a lovely visual warmth to any space. You can always opt for a loose rug that can be washed or changed as desired.

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Covid-19: Work from Home

Design Monarchy, Covid-19 and Lockdown Musings

Feature image via: Arnel Hasanovic via Unsplash

by Rose McClement

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.

Covid-19: Stay Home
Stay home. Image created by Vanessa Santos. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives – help stop the spread of COVID-19. | source: United Nations via Unsplash

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!

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Decorating Dilemmas: The DO’S & DON’TS

by Marica Fick

Earlier this month Rose was offered the opportunity to do a 5-minute speaker slot at an XtraOrdinary Women network meeting. During the 5 minutes, the speaker gets the chance to briefly chat about their business or share something thought-provoking concerning their industry or trade. It is an excellent bite-sized marketing tool.

A day or two before the meeting, Rose and I sat down and put our heads together. A few ideas were bounced around. We really wanted to keep the subject light, fresh and relatable. What could we possibly chat about? There is only so much that can be said in 5 minutes…

Then we had it! We decided to chat about “decorating dilemmas” and include a few common decorating do’s and don’ts. The topic was a massive success! We, therefore, just had to share these points with you here on our blog.

Let’s start with the decorating don’ts…

Decorating Dilemma’s: The DO’S & DON’TS
source: Design Monarchy

9 Most Common Decorating Mistakes:

One of the services we as Design Monarchy offer is site consultations. Rose and I frequently get called out to consult on a home or space where the owner has reached their wit’s end. On arrival, we often encounter the same decorating blunders over and over again. The house, owner, year, trend, and location can all be different, but the blunders are always the same.

Here are some of the most common decorating mistakes we’ve noticed:

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The Evolution of Pink

The Evolution of Pink

by Rose McClement

When Beatrice Moore-Nöthnagel of Media24’s Tuis / Home Magazine recently approached me for a quotation as an “Expert Opinion” on the topic of “why pink remains ever popular in decor“, I was thrilled. Especially since the colour pink has been on my decor radar in recent times. This is for a few reasons, one of which being, that we had only recently completed the interior design and decor of a Nail & Beauty Spa which featured the colour. We selected a soft, silky tone of pink for some of the seating. Furthermore, it was upholstered in a velvet fabricyummy! – another one of my favourite decor elements right now.

The Evolution of Pink | Home Magazine
Rose of Design Monarchy is featured in the May issue of Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif

I’ve always been a lover of pink – no matter what the shade or tone. Way back in the late 80’s our main bedroom had walls painted in a very bold “shocking” pink.

Furthermore, I’ve never really been afraid of using it in our interior projects. There is one particular project that springs to mind. We installed two bold pink sofas in the lounge of Galway’s The House Hotel back in 2006. The Irish folk were delightfully gob-smacked! It actually became the talk of the town for a while.

Here is what I had to say on the undying popularity of pink:

Over the last few decades, the global psyche has slowly been undergoing a shift from a purely male dominated world order towards the inclusion of the feminine energy. As women have slowly moved out of the shadows towards the centre stage, so too has the colour pink.

Like a woman, what can the colour pink bring to a space? It can melt and softens linear lines. It brings with it a sense of deliciousness. It has the capacity to lift the vitality of a space, to make it light and frivolous if need be.   Yet it can also raise its voice to make that big, bright and bold statement.

As women continue revealing their intrinsic value, so too will the colour pink continue revelling in the limelight. 

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African Women's Crowning Glory

African Women’s Crowning Glory

by Rose McClement

Two weeks ago, on the 27th April 2018, we as South Africans celebrated Freedom Day.  On that day 24 years ago ALL South African, of every colour, race and creed over the age of 18 went to cast their vote.  For the largest part of our citizens, it was the first time ever that they got to experience the right to cast their vote. That was a freedom that was hard won and a liberation that exacted a heavy price from many of our nation’s people.

As I cast my mind back to 27th April 1994 and scanned what has happened in our country since that momentous day, a stirring within moved me to write a tribute to African Women. As one who loves colour, texture and pattern I have often admired and been mesmerised by the African Woman’s “crowning glory”.

African Women's Crowning Glory
Nigerian actress, Ini Edo | source: Nollywood Community

Even though this blog is mostly all about interiors and all related interior design and decor “stuff”, we are going to feature some fashion statements today.

Fashion statement made by incredibly beautiful African Women. Fashion statements that I regard as a total works of art and often stand in awe of the women who wear them! I feel sure that you would have to agree, that these African women wear their “headgear” and fashion accessories with such dignity and pride, that their audience is often left breathless.

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