7 Ideals Design Monarchy Strives For

Do you know what makes us tick? Take a quick peek beneath our bonnet.

by Rose McClement

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.

Ciao,

Quirky Workspace | Interiors by Design Monarchy

Our Work: Workspace Before & After

Quirky Workspace Before & After | Interiors by Design Monarchy
AFTER: The completed fun & quirky workspace featuring the trestle desk made out of a reclaimed vintage door.

by Rose McClement

I am sure by now you are quite familiar with the following workspace as we have shared and chatted about it many times before.

After images of this interior project appeared in the January issue of Tuis / Home Magazine last year, we have received so many compliments on this specific space.

This quirky workspace seems to stir up a stack of enthusiastic comments and questions. We heard a lot of: “Wow, this is awesome!”; “I want a workspace like that!”; “Where did you get that desk?”; “And the boxes where did you buy those?”; “Is that a real brick wall?!

So we thought we would share a bit of the design process involved with this workspace with you.Read More »

Creative SA: Nicole & The Striped Flamingo

The next South Africa creative that we will be sharing as part of our Creative SA series, hits quite close to home as she has had a personal hand in the creation of our brand and the look and feel of our website.

Nicole Bruigom is a graphic designer and illustrator hailing from sunny Durban.  Have you ever walked the aisles of a Mr. Price Clothing or Home store and wondered who designed the trendy graphics and quirky doodles you see on the product? Well, the chances are good that it might be Nicole, as creating lovelies for Mr. P is her day job.

When Nicole is not designing for the Mr. Price shelves, she sells her freelance design services under the moniker “Nicole & The Striped Flamingo”.  Upon spotting her quirky whimsy illustrations back in 2013 we immediately fell in love with them and interviewed her for the “Interviews & Features” section of The Design Tabloid.

design-monarchy-illustrations-by-nicole-the-striped-flamingo-3

Not too long for thereafter, while working on the design of our new Design Monarchy website, we were searching for an illustrator to create some custom graphics for certain pages of our website.  We immediately thought of Nicole as both Rose and I enjoyed her style of illustration and use of colour and pattern. We thought it would perfectly complement our logo, branding and identity, which we perceived as feminine and elegant, yet quirky with a slight vintage flair.

We explained to Nicole exactly what we had in mind and she created the most beautiful illustrations for us. The illustrations consisted of a quirky megaphone for our Home page, a pretty typewriter for our Press page, an old school phone for our Contact Us page, a hipster camera for our Portfolio page, and a toolbox and desk illustration to accompany our Company page. She also redesigned our Design Monarchy “Stamp of Approval” to match and compliment our new branding and graphics.

We were absolutely thrilled with the results and feel that Nicole’s illustrations really “made” our website. Since the launch of the website we have had tons of complements and we have found that visitors to our site find the illustrations had to forget! Feel free to pop over to our website to take a look at the illustrations “in situ”, so to speak.

 

As mentioned in our previous interview, Nicole is also an author. She published “Little Chef”, a quirky illustrated children’s recipe book, in 2010 and it has proved so popular that she released a second edition.

You can also adorn the walls of your home with some Striped Flamingo loveliness, as Nicole designed a range of whimsy wallpapers for Robin Sprong that would be perfect for a children’s bedroom or nursery.

Want to see some of Nicole’s designs in the flesh? If you reside in Joburg, you might want to visit Cafe Hemingways in Kyalami as Nicole has done extensive work for them – everything from the gorgeous murals on the wall to the menus and cake toppers – she even designed a range of postcards for them.

Be sure to check out more of Nicole’s gorgeous illustrations on her website

You can also follow Nicole & The Striped Flamingo on Facebook.

Design Monarchy Press feature

Hot Off The Press

This past year we here at Design Monarchy have been very blessed to be featured in not one but five different issues of Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif. In fact, when I recently updated the press page on our website, it took me quite some time to add all the latest features, articles and mentions.

I would like to thank every follower and friend for being such amazing cheerleaders (especially the network gals). We have been feeling a bit self-conscious about the frequent shares, LOL. However, your support, comments and likes each time we post a new magazine feature on Instagram or Facebook make us feel a bit less “braggy” and boastful. Ultimately, we love sharing our joy with you.

If you have missed some of the issues or just want a brief recap, feel free to visit the Design Monarchy press page to see a pdf version of each of our magazine features.

As always, we endeavour to keep on designing those jaw-dropping, eye-popping, camera-grabbing, magazine-worthy interiors. Here is to many shares to come! Cheers.

Get This Look: Sunny Bedroom

Get-the-Look-Sunny-Bedroom

We have had some awesome feedback on the bed we styled for the Sanders #InBedWithBloggers campaign (you can read more about it here).

As promised, here is our Get the Look article with descriptions and links to all the items we used in this “Sunny Bedroom”. Now you too can get this look, here is what you will need…

Get The Look:

1:  The key element to this look’s success is the stunning watercolour design cushion covers from Touchee FeeleeWe selected the Springbok, Savanna, The African, and Black Herringbone cushion covers for the bed.

2:  The foundation of any well-dressed bed is good basic linen. To cool the sunny yellow and serve as contrast, we chose various linen in white and shades of grey from the Sanders range.

3: The Portable Pendant light in yellow with Squirrel Cage Vintage Filament Bulb and Brass Lamp Cage from Hoi P’loy added a bit of vintage quirk to our bedroom setup.

4 & 5:  The Yellow and Black Eames-inspired chair with Eiffel-style legs are from Robert Thomson Furniture. We used the yellow chair as a bedside table and the black at the foot of the bed.

6:  What’s better than scatter cushions? MORE scatter cushions! We stacked more Touchee Feelee scatters at the foot of the bed for added interest. Here you see the Sunshine Yellow Striped cover and the Black Herringbone cover.

7:  One of my absolute favourite items in this Get The Look is the Walnut & Brass Bureau Lamp from Hoi P’loy. It’s form takes inspiration from some of Thomas Edison’s early original lamp designs.

8:  This trendy overnight Barrel bag from Hertex Fabrics adds an extra dimension to the bed. The smoky tie-dye like design is called “Psychedelic – Strata”.

9:  A casually draped yellow throw is a must for this look. When our search for the perfect yellow throw came up short, we subsituted one of Sanders‘ gorgeous Jersey Fitted Sheets as makeshift throw.

10:  We rounded off our bedroom with this trendy Scandinavian-inspired Swiss Cross Rug in white from Robert Thomson Furniture.