Friday Finds: ZCafe Rope Dining Chair

Currently Coveting: ZCafe Rope Dining Chair

by Marica Fick

I recently fell in love.

Who, you might ask, has captured my heart? Well, my dear readers, it is not a who but rather a WHAT. You see, I have fallen in design-love. My eyes have been a-wandering and my heart has been a-coveting.

Last month I was doing a little bit of online research and sourcing for our blog article, 10 Sleek & Chic Bar Cabinets for Your Home. The search for some locally-designed bar cabinets led me to Egg Designs where I not only found their eye-catching Parquet Cabinet (featured in our post), but also a gorgeous chair that had me crushing hard.

The ZCafe Rope Chair is a gorgeous dining chair with a funky, contemporary African-chic feel. The chair has an almost tub chair-like design with a steel frame that features a woven two-tone rope back and a brown leather seat. I found the various colour combinations especially beautiful. The copper frame with turquoise and orange nylon rope detail must be my personal favourite… although the black, burgundy and yellow combination is just as lovely.Read More »

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Ask Décor Diva: Living Room Dilemma

I just love it when our readers write us to assist with their interior décor and design dilemmas!  It gives me the opportunity of sharing my experience with them.  So, please friends and readers, if there is a question or a dilemma you have that you know you could do with some professional advise, don’t hesitate to write, no matter how simple you may think it is.  We will all benefit from it – and just to sound real cliché – never fear Décor Diva is near.

Just recently Jaajal wrote in about her living room dilemma. Jaajal writes:

I’m sure this must be a common question perhaps. But in any case here goes.  I have recently just sold an old 4 piece lounge suite, and we kept the sleeper couch (image “1”) we don’t want to rush and purchase another couch, instead we though perhaps getting 2 occasional lounge chairs would be sufficient. We bought about four scatter cushions previously (image “2”). Do you think those cushions will go with these chairs?  (image “?”) and with the sleeper couch we have.

Décor Diva says:

What I really appreciated was that Jaajal has made our response to her query easier by supplying the images.  We could see what we had to work with and where her thoughts were heading.

There are so many ways of skinning this cat, but to answer your question in sequence:

{1}  Two occasional chairs are always easier, since most folk prefer to inhabit a seat of their own, rather than sharing – given the choice.  Two occasional chairs have more flexibility in terms of moving the furniture around.

{2}  The scatter cushions work very well with your existing sofa and what I like about them is that it seems to be a textured stripe. In the future, when purchasing your scatters, try to mix it up a bit more. Instead of all 4 scatters being the same pattern, size and colours, you could mix stripe with floral or geometric patterns, or maybe even a plain fabric. The element that holds it all together would be the colours.  That is where harmonious blending comes into play.

While we are talking accessories – a full bodied textured throw to accompany the scatters on the sofa will add further depth of the décor.

{3}  The style of the occasional chairs- again the object is to find harmony in terms of the fabric finish and the style of the existing sofa. In this case you have a high back sofa, with a shallow buttoned design and 90’s style specific metal feet. The chair that you are inclined towards is quite a departure from your existing sofa, more particularly with the very dark wooden base and feet.

My personal décor style strength has always been eclectic. The fact that eclectic style is currently trending is such a pleasure for me. But there is a real knack to good eclectic styling. Ultimately it must sit comfortably in the eye of the beholder.

In your case, I would suggest a few options to work into your existing sofa and cushions:

[1] Existing Sleeper Couch…. [2] Eames Chair Replica – @Home…. [3] Additional Scatter Cushions – Loads of Living…. [4] Haldane Martin Poof – 5rooms.com

{A}  Let’s start with Mercedes class of chair – the Eames Lounge Chair, or a more affordable replica like Norman Relax Chair with Footstool in white for @Home Furniture. This is a mid-century modern classic that could work with that eclectic style I spoke of. I like it because it has the same features as your sofa – high back, shallow buttoning and metal base. It is pricey though. And if after due consideration you go for it, I would only buy one. It has a footstool that can be used for additional seating. Instead of the 2nd chair, think of adding in big leather textured ottoman like this one from 5Rooms.

{B}  Please don’t be put of by the price of a really good piece of furniture. I have always encouraged folk to have at least one really quality piece. It may mean saving towards it and having to live with delayed gratification, but that piece will be with you for life. It is certainly worth the wait.

{C}  Furthermore, I will leave you with a few images of occasional chairs that I would consider for your living room décor. In terms of the fabrics for these chairs, I would veer towards a plain textured fabric, such as linen, or textured faux leathers.

Intra Armchair from 5rooms.com
Armchair A-728 from Sevens
Retro tub chair in choc brown leather from @Home

The colours for the chairs – working in with your skin coloured suede, it would be best to look at tones of grey. Slate Grey is a nice contrasting colour. Alternatively soft dove grey or medium shade of warm browns, such as milky coffee colour.

Remember that one of the critical factors to consider when purchasing furniture pieces – ensure that it fits the size of your room. Too many times have I encountered friends, family and clients who have bought oversized furniture without taking the time to check out the dimensions and planning beforehand.

Enjoy the journey of working through your décor dilemma towards a suitable solution. I hope that the tools we have furnished here will come in handy.

As always, yours in service of interior design

Love, Rose  x x x

The Talented Mr. Chandler

By Marica

Please spare me a moment or two of your afternoon to share the remarkable works of Michael Chandler with you – it will be well worth your time. Do you have your coffee in hand… mmm, and a rusk maybe? Ready? Okay…

Browsing through the Chandler House website, Rose and I had to agree that Michael is one clever young man. Most of his pieces have an unique play of old and new – taking an artefact and reworking it into a contemporary interpretation is simply brilliant. He finds inspiration for new designs in South African history & heritage and then uses modern materials and methods to craft it. I also find it admirable how he utilizes otherwise damages & useless objects (like the shards of an old blue & white Dutch plate) to create something beautiful with it – with a completely different use.

Fridge magnets made from shards of blue & white porcelain plates. Clever, hey!

Rose and I were rather interested to find out how Michael’s seemingly contrasting interests came to be…

It seems Michael spend school holidays on family farms that resulted in an early introduction to nature, antiques, gardening and needlework. After leaving school, he enrolled at UCT where he studied one of his most passionate interests – Art History. While undertaking his post grad Michael started working for Stephan Welz & Sothebys, a prestigious fine and decorative arts auction house. Spending every day examining and cataloguing beautiful things, he learnt an enormous amount about the past 400 years of design and was snapped up as a research assistant to Deon Viljoen – a leading expert on 18th, 19th and 20th Cape Visual and Domestic History. Deon’s passion for early Cape furniture and Dutch trade pieces quickly seeded itself in Michael and this is easily recognisable in the work that Michael does today. In July 2010, Michael started a small design studio – Chandler House – and his work is largely associated with the above-mentioned interests.

Beautiful embroidery - the white and blue combination remains stunning!

Deon Viljoen approached Michael in 2010 to find an upholstering solution for these fabulous set of Cape Stinkwood Dining Chairs, circa 1810. Georgian English in design, but made in the Cape. By some happy accident, Michael found shards of discarded English blue and white porcelain and decided to embroider the different porcelain shards patterns on the chair seats – brilliant blue on off-white cotton.

The Kraak Mirror

Based on the rim pattern of a 17th Century Japanese Blue & White Ceramic Plate, the Kraak Mirror, above, is a 21st Century Cape take on the Regency Butler’s Mirror.

Striking Red Embroidered Coral Scatters

I absolutely love these beautiful bold red embroidered Coral scatter cushions Michael designed. Quite striking, hey? They’re available at Pezula Interiors. (I believe  the talented Lanalou took this lovely photo)

Love those busts. So funky!

The beautiful black & white Houdiniware is quite… well… hypnotizing and the quirky busts you see at the top are slip-casts of a phrenology head by Lorenzo Niles Fowler. Michael, viewing the heads as blank canvases started experimenting by painting different features on the various heads – the result is uniquely funky.

The Madam-Style Mirror and Nyanga Mirror = what an unique translation

Based on a Robert Adam Neo-Classical design from the late 18th Century, the Madame-style mirror is made entirely out of white beads. Whereas the Nyanga Mirror has a more simplistic tribal feel – “nyanga” being the Xhosa word for “moon” and ultimately the inspiration for this beaded piece.

On the bottom, from left to right: The Cape Spitoon; Phrenology Vase & the Enlightenment stack of books.

The Cape Spittoon is Michael’s 21st Century interpretation of an old Cape Icon – although traditionally it would have been heavy brass, so unlike this dainty ceramic version.

Here again you find the Fowler’s Phrenology head but now used as a vase – imagine planting some herbs in it – that would be one funky head of hair!

I adore the stack of plaster books! It can be used as a decorative object and Michael designed a lamp base version of it as well.

VOC-Inspired Plate

Fabric man, David Bellamy kindly asked Michael to create an unique piece for an exhibition which aims to raise awareness and funds for the protection and survival of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Michael came up with this VOC-inspired piece, only replacing the traditional Ho-ho birds with a pair of Cape Parrots.

The beautiful Cape Pendant Collection

Michael says he has several things in the pipeline. He’s working on a revised smaller Cape Pendant Collection – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a jewellery range based on the key-plates found on old pieces of Cape Furniture (and it’s freaking beautiful). Lanalou also did a beautiful post about it here. Michael is also currently focusing on a range of Kitchen Linens – Aprons, Tea towels, Dishcloths and Napkins inspired by china patterns, 18th century etchings of the Cape and esoterica. So, keep your eyes peeled people and check out his website for more beautiful thingies.

So, what do you guys think? Which item appeals to you most? I have to say I would love to own one of those Cape Pendants, how about you? Give us your opinions please!

Nature Inspired Design

By Marica

I wanted to write a post on Organic Design, a movement, or rather a motivation in design, which really inspires me and most designers.

Organic Design is a very broad term that encompasses anything from environment sensitive architecture and engineering, to nature inspired design, structure, materials and pattern. It also plays a big part in the development of sustainability, science and future technology.

So why do we have this great fascination with nature and why is it worth emulating? I would say Nature is the embodiment of perfect design. There is a certain grace, balance and beauty found in Nature that all designers, artists and craftsmen strive to attain. Nature is ultimate “form follows function” standard. Every leaf, colour, branch, exoskeleton, right down to the smallest cell was designed and evolved to perform a specific function in the most sufficient way. It is this ingenuity of Nature’s tested patterns and strategies that we attempt to imitate or draw inspiration from.

The Museum of Modern Art curator, Paola Antonelli, introduces the exhibition “Design and the Elastic Mind” and explains Organic Design.

I truly appreciate designers who mimic Nature’s working designs and evolve it to fit a new function whilst still retaining its aesthetically pleasing appearance whether it is in the way a structure is put together, a slight organic curve in a furniture piece, or an intricate pattern on a fabric. Designs inspired by nature has an elegant quality, maybe we recognize some subconscious symmetry in the organic.

Check out these beautiful nature inspired designs…

The Pod Hanging Chair & The Bloom Chair - Weylandts

The Pod Hanging Chair is reminiscent of a weaver’s nest and the Blossom Chair designed by Kenneth Cobonpue resembles a flower, both available from Weylandts.

Merino Bubble Cushions from Peta-Lee

I adore these cushions from Peta-Lee. They are made from Merino Wool Felt and remind me of alveoli and sea grass, beautiful.

Images: http://www.industrialdesignserved.com
The Chrysanthemum Centrepiece by Michaella Janse Van Vuuren

The Chrysanthemum Centrepiece by Michaella Janse Van Vuuren is a reversible design that can function as either a bowl or a candle holder. The piece was the winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the Design Indaba Expo 2009.

Beautiful Ceramic Vessels by Astrid Dahl Images: http://amaridianusa.com/index2.htm

And these organic form ceramic pieces from Astrid Dahl are truly awe-inspiring. They look so delicate and feminine. Isn’t it absolutely breathtaking!

Scientist, Janine Benyus, in her book on Biomimicry suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor”. We truly live on an amazing planet, take care of it!  May Nature continue to inspire us!

Top 5 MUST Haves: Kloof Street

By Marica

We took a walk-about down Kloof Street on Saturday and saw so many beautiful shops and amazing finds that we decided to compose a little wish list of our favourite Kloof Street items, here is our Kloof Street Top 5…

Mother of Pearl Side Tables – Loft Living:

Mother-Of-Pearl Side Table by Loft Living

What: Mother-Of-Pearl Side Table

Where: Loft Living, Kloof Street

Description: White ribbed side table with mother-of-pearl top.

How Much: R 1,995.00 each

Retro Dining Table – LIM:

Retro Dining Table by LIM

What: Retro Dining Table

Where: LIM, Kloof Street

Description: Superwood top with white Duco finish and solid Walnut legs. Size:  1800(l) x 900(d) x 750(h)

How Much: R 7,790.00

Nguni Loop Chair – Klooftique:

Nguni Loop Chair by Klooftique

What: Nguni Loop Chair

Where: Klooftique, Kloof Street

Description: Nguni hair on hide or leather, legs: timber, stainless steel or caster/wheels.

How Much: R 7,200.00

Brno Chair by Mies van der Rohe Replica – Eddie Zoom:

Brno Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe Replica from Eddie Zoom

What: Brno Chair by Mies van der Rohe  – Replica

Where: Eddie Zoom, Kloof Street

Description: Upholstered in leather with a chrome flat bar frame.

How Much: R 3,200.00 for the pair (an absolute steal!)

Ceramic Protea Candle Holder – O.live:

Protea Candle Holder by Olive

What: Protea Candle Holder

Where: O.live, Kloof Street

Description: Ceramic Protea candle holder in glazed white finish.

How Much: R 160.00 each

Ultimate must haves! What’s your favourite…let us know!