Lelanie Slater On Personal Design Style

“For about a year now, I have been following Lelanie Slater’s “of Beauty and Love” blog posts, as well as touching sides with her here and there via email. She is both writer and Interior Designer. As you can imagine the combination of the two skills make for very interesting reading. Recently Lelanie has touched on a very thought provoking issue about developing your personal design style / manifesto.  I was so moved by it, that we asked Lelanie to guest blog for The Design Tabloid on these same issues. The outcome – below you will find a condensed version of her three posts, which if this article grabs your attention, you can pop over to her blog to catch the in depth discussions. Enjoy…”  – love,  Rose 

By Lelanie Slater

I recently realised with a shock that so many designers tend to produce the same results. No matter who you enlist, the end result will be pretty much the same. Almost as if the designer has no personal design manifesto or compass with which to guide his clients through their individual style.  What sets that compass-less designer apart from the crowd??

But designers aside, let’s acknowledge that we spend so much of our time at home. Why not be as particular and personal in our homes as we are with the outfits and accessories we wear.

A home is the most personal thing. It reflects hopes, dreams, desires and it reveals an awful lot about the residents. So why are we so reluctant to make it our own?

Why then do so many South Africans tend to resort to the ‘design strategy’ of: mimic my favourite shop to achieve the show room quality? Replicating the rooms that are to be found on Retail Showroom floors, – a malaise that concerns me greatly and something that I have called ‘shop houses’. Where is personal taste in this?

In an ideal world we should each have a manifesto. Not just a design philosophy, but a personal manifesto, stating in black on white what we stand for, believe in, live for and love.

A constant reminder - Lelanie keeps her personal design manifesto close by.

Over a period of time, I developed a personal design manifesto.  It encapsulates my design philosophy, found in my company name, Of Beauty and Love.   I believe that each and every item in a space should be beautiful and fondly loved by the inhabitants. In short……

            “Design should be a tale of Beauty and Love”….

This manifesto is popped on my desk, and I refer to it when doing any design, styling or other creative work. Sometimes, all of us need a bit of guidance. That is why I love having my manifesto close by, plus I revisit it regularly.


The most important thing with a personal design style, philosophy or manifesto is to be true to you. The first question to ask is if there is a specific style that appeals to you? What decorating style have you used in your space? Country, modern or none? If you have no idea which design style you gravitate towards it is time to enlist our secret weapon, for step number two. Magazine tear sheets. There are few things as accurate, therapeutic and enjoyable as dedicating 40 minutes to tearing beautiful pictures out of magazines. It’s the ideal way to check what your subconscious really prefers.

Tear out images that automatically speak or appeal to you. No matter how different it is to your perception of your style.

Once you have a nice stack, you can begin to sort them. You will need a scrapbook, a display file with clear sleeves, a box or a large envelope for storing these. Go through the images you have selected. . Write it on the image what appeals to you (or use a post it.)

When going over them, begin to follow the clues to your personal design style, by noting colours that repeat and why they might appeal to you. Look at the details in the pictures. If you simply like the overall look of an image, the key to its appeal might lie in the colour palette, the height of the ceiling, the feeling created etc. Try to ask yourself the following:

  *  What appeals to me in this image?

  *  Do I like the colours and why?

  *  What is it about the decor that appeals to me?

Now you can proceed to the next step of the investigation. Ask yourself the following questions:

  *  What decor style am I most drawn to? Why?

  *  What palette am I most drawn to?

  *  Would I be comfortable living with this?

  *  Which are my favourite home magazines?

Remember that this stage, there is no need to begin defining your style.  Just begin to recognise the styling elements that reflect your person.  As it emerges, your style could be Modern Romantic, Whimsical Cottage or Salvaged Chic.  As long as it’s true to you, there is no wrong answer.

Which tools do you like to use when defining personal style or looking for inspiration? Would you like to try any of the above?

Be sure to check out Lelanie’s blog: here

Mood board images via: 1, 2, 3
Scatter cushion stuffing

Textures Create Warm & Cozy Spaces

“We came across a very cool lighting blog a while back whilst trawling the web for some lighting info and found it to be quite a resourceful source of lighting fixture ideas, trends and information. The blog is run by Arcadian Lighting, a very big and popular American online lighting retailer, and since every now and then they write about more than just lighting we asked them to write an inspirational image décor guest post for us…”

Hi, I’m Susi, a writer from Arcadian Lighting. I am so happy to be visiting The Design Tabloid today. I was inspired by the idea of a Safari lodge and its close connection to nature for my post today. Rather than focus on colour, I’ll be writing all about how texture can create warm and cozy spaces, even when the colour palette is neutral. Hope you enjoy!

Bedroom Designs

We discovered the work of South African designer Kim Stephen through The Design Tabloid. Love how she mixes textures on this beautiful bed. The throw pillow has tons of knit texture that is so cozy.

Bedroom Designs

Take a note from this lodge interior to add amazing texture to your room. Wood on the ceiling and a mix of smooth and nubby linens add warm, organic texture to this bedroom suite.

Table Lamps

Layers and layers of texture make this bed feel ultra cozy. Don’t be afraid of mixing patterns and textures in neutrals; it will add depth to the décor.

Living Rooms

Timber stools add unexpected texture in this South African beach house. The rest of the furnishings have smoother texture so the wood is a great addition to the décor. Love how the under cabinet lights bring into focus the colourful accessories on the counters.

Pendant Lights

Mixing textures in a bedroom can create a cozy environment. Velvets, cottons, silks and linens layered together make for beautiful texture.

Living Room

The Romantic Organic collection by Laurie Owen, a Cape Town interior designer, focuses on amazing texture in neutral colours. Love the wooly covering on the chaise.

Table Lamps

Texture on the walls makes a room feel cozy. Grasscloth is a great choice to add texture and neutral colour to a living room, bedroom, hall or bath.

Table Lamps

Woven abaca, jute, sisal and other natural materials add tons of texture to a room. Look for woven rugs, accessories, furniture and shades for lamps to introduce a little or a lot of texture to your décor.

Using textured elements throughout your home instantly adds interest and cozy details to your rooms.

(Images Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Thanks for visiting us Susi (and the folks from Arcadian Lighting) – that was great! For more lighting and décor ideas and general lighting awesomeness be sure to check out Arcadian Lighting’s website: here and their blog: here

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

The Road To Greatness

“We have featured the works of Gavin Collins in the past (I am one of Gavin’s loyal fans).  He was the artist commissioned to paint the artwork for our one Irish hotel project.  At the time of the art installation, Gavin joined us in Ireland. Since we shared digs together, many a late night was spent talking into the wee hours of the morning over a few glasses of whiskey.  The net result – I got to know a little bit about Gavin, who is so unbelievably passionate about his art.
There being so much depth to Gavin, prompted me to ask him to come on board and write a guest post for us. In his article below, he opens up an issue that hounds most professionals, no matter what your field, myself included.
Introducing, (long drum roll and announcement made in that singsong voice!) Mr. Gavin Collins…”

Painting of Lower Main Road Salt River by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

 By Gavin Collins

Become an Artist, Interior Designer or Decorator in 6 weeks with this easy to understand course – RUBBISH!

You see this type of thing all the time and some people really believe that they can become good at something within a short period.  Ask yourself, who you know who is great at what he does and has not been doing it for more than 10 years. No designer, no decorator and no artist.  Most successful artists have been painting all their lives.

So you want to be an artist, you go out, you buy yourself some canvas, you print some business cards with your name in a nice artistic script with “Fine Artist” underneath it.  You start painting.  Clearly, things don’t go as well as you expected. The immediate most common route thereafter – you change your business card, which now reads like this: your name and “Abstract Artist” underneath it.  At this point after not selling a single painting, or maybe one or two to your great Aunt, you decide to try your hand at interior decorating.  Now your re-decorate your sister’s house free of charge, leading once again to a change of the business card details.

Once again – RUBBISH!!

Here is how it really works. 

Painting of Voilinist by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

Something ignites a tiny flame inside you and points you in a direction.  You start looking in that direction. You start yearning to understand it. You start reading and you start doing.  The desire gets stronger, the drive takes over and you don’t stop doing.  Nothing else matters, the lack in sales is a non-issue. You don’t need clients – you just love doing it.

 Then one day you begin to realize that if you had an ounce of talent when you started out , 6 or 7 years down the line, you begin realize you that can almost do this thing.  Clients find you, finances come and the drive gets even stronger.  That is how long it truly takes. Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was 4 years old.  It has taken him a lifetime to become great at it. It is no different for anyone you can think of who is great in their profession.  Imagine this- undergoing an operation by a person who decided to become a surgeon last week.  There is very little difference – he does or he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

I remember the day I decided to become an artist.  The smell of oil paint was the ignition. I remember painting through the night and then sleeping on my school desk in the day. I remember painting on every bed sheet my mother owned until I had to sleep on a mattress. I remember painting before eating, before drinking. It consumed me and still does to this day. There is no place in the world that I would rather be than standing behind an easel. It has been 26 years now and I finally understand what I am doing. I recently looked back at some of my earlier work done in the first few years as an artist (or my delusion of being an artist at the time) only to realize now, that I clearly knew very little at the time. I also realize that there is not enough time left to learn all I want to learn about art.

The most common question asked when someone stands in front of my work is, how long does it take to paint a piece.  It is difficult to answer without getting annoyed because it took a lifetime.  What I would call a Master Series Painting now takes me only hours to complete because of years of understanding what paint does.  Every brush stroke is now exact and intentional, whereas in the beginning it was hit and miss.

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

It takes desire, it takes drive, and it takes hours and hours and hours of practice.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.  For this reason, mastery demands all of a person” – Albert Einstei

So, to consistently create great sellable artworks and note I said consistently, give yourself 6 years at least before you print your business cards.  This goes for pretty much any profession that takes skill of the hand or eye.

There is no protection left in the world for the unknowing consumer.  Gone are the days when an artisan had to do a long apprenticeship under a Master or a designer had to belong to a Designer’s Guild. Your decorator may be able to wing a conversation on the latest colour trends but can he/she measure your curtains?

In conclusion, let me leave you with this thought – the next time you hire a surgeon, decorator, interior designer or artist, consider whether they have all it takes to do the job consistently well.

Beautiful Abstract Painting By Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

P.S.  This is my very first blog, so if is not done well wait 6 or 7 years…

Lana of Lanalou Style visits The Tabloid

“Today we have the absolute pleasure of featuring as our guest blogger, none other than Cape Town’s own talented Lana Kenney. When we here at the Design Monarchy decided that we want to include a blog into our daily life as an interior design company, we naturally jumped onto the net to begin following other bloggers just to become part of this community. Lanalou Style was one of the first blogs that really caught our eye. I remember both Marica and I were so taken with this blog. And being “Proudly South African” – the fact that she is a Cape Townian was a bonus. Over the months of following her regular posts, I have so come to appreciate her talent as a photographer as well – all the images below are her own. Also, I am not known for my fashion sense, but thanks to Lana’s fashion posts, I have developed a better understanding of what it takes to put clothes together.

So, lets hear the drum roll folks – here’s Lana…”

Hi there, this is Lana from Lanalou Style and I’m delighted to be here on The Design Tabloid today. Thanks so much for inviting me over, Rose and Marica!

I started blogging as a way to keep busy during quiet times at work and as a creative outlet. Very quickly though, blogging became rather addictive and a way of life! The inspiration available online and blogging community is just incredible.

These days what I enjoy most about blogging is being able to discover great places in Cape Town and share these with my readers. I love taking photos of places and things that catch my eye whether it be a boutique, café, garden or Cape Town’s eccentricities. Being able to inspire my readers, both local and international, to discover Cape Town’s beauty makes me happy!

These are just a few pics from some of my travels around and about Cape Town, I hope you enjoy and that they inspire you to discover more of our amazing city!

Be sure to visit & subscribe to Lana’s AWESOME blog: Lanalou Style