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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Pantone Colour of the Year: Classic Blue | via thedesigntabloid.com

Pantone Colour of 2020: CLASSIC BLUE

Feature image via: Design Monarchy Interior Design Studio

by Marica Fick

Happy 2020 folks! 2020… can you believe?! It sounds very sci-fi. I hope you all had a lovely, rest-filled festive break and are all geared for the new year?

I’m sure by now you have all noticed a certain colour trend flooding your Pinterest, Instagram and blog feeds? You know the colour I’m referring to – it is a bold, almost primary blue… a kind of “delft-meets-school-uniform”.  Well, however you choose to describe it, it is called CLASSIC BLUE and it is Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2020.

I know I mention this every year, but I was once again surprised by Pantone’s selection for Colour of the Year – it is never what I expect it to be. Not that I am going to complain because I just so happen to be a blue-girl. While Classic Blue is a tiny bit on the strong and bright side for me, I generally love all shades and hues of blue.

Thinking back on Pantone’s previous selections for COTY, it does seem that they prefer bold and bright above muted and soft. With the exclusion of 2015’s dusky Marsala and 2016’s soft pastel duo, Rose Quartz & Serenity, the last ten years have been pretty bold and punchy. Think last year’s Living Coral, 2018’s Ultra Violet, and 2013’s Emerald.

Pantone Colour of the Year: Classic Blue | via thedesigntabloid.com
The Classic Blue painted wall of this living room combined with the gorgeous green velvet Chesterfield sofa, quirky art pieces and crisp white painted mouldings and floor make for a dynamic and fresh interior. | source: Anthropologie

The selection of Classic Blue as Pantone’s Colour of the Year also came as a surprise to a good few trend-watchers and forecasters who anticipated a shade of green to win out. Plascon, for example, reflected this in their choice for Hue of 2020, Mulberry Leaf, a gorgeous moody green.

Some trend observers are of the opinion that Pantone was playing it rather “safe” by selecting a generally liked colour like blue.

In an article written for Dezeen, design consultant Michelle Ogundehin stated that in choosing a democratic colour like blue, Pantone played it safe and still missed the mark:

“… seeing as blue is routinely cited as one of the Western world’s eternally favourite colours – no doubt because it instantly recalls cloudless summer skies and warm calm seas – it couldn’t go wrong with such an inoffensive pick. Or could it?

Michelle went on to say that this rather safe choice is a result of the backlash and criticism surrounding last year’s COTY, Living Coral. Design commentators and critics felt the inspiration behind the colour and name selection was an insensitive choice considering the rapidly dwindling amount of coral left in our oceans.

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Season’s Greetings From Design Monarchy

Festive Greetings from Design Monarchy

Wishing all our readers and friends a Merry Christmas and a joyous festive season!

It’s that time of the year again! Time to eat & drink too much, celebrate and be merry – not to mention put the feet up! Thank you for all the tons of support during the year – we truly appreciate every like, comment, share and high five! As always, we loved sharing our passion for design, décor and pretty things with you this past year!

Our studio will be closed for business from 19th of December 2019 and will reopen the 16th of January 2020. Ergo, The Design Tabloid and our social media accounts will slow its pace a bit in terms of posts. Keep your eyes peeled however – next year brings new and interesting changes for us here at the Design Monarchy!

Have a good one, guys and gals! Design Tabloid out!

    Love, Rose & Marica    

Leafy background vector created by Photographeeasia – Freepik.com
Instagram Inspiration | November 2019

Instagram Inspiration: November

feature image: Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home via Instagram

by Marica Fick

Most mornings, while enjoying our first cup of coffee and checking our emails, we also take some time to browse through Pinterest and Instagram. It is part of our studio routine and, I would say, one of the key perks off being in the interior design and decorating trade. Seriously, we get paid to look at beautiful images – let’s just call it “Research & Development” shall we.

Every week we spot these amazing, inspirational, drop-dead gorgeous and down-right desirable images on Instagram. From beautiful interiors, furniture, and fabrics to lovely eateries and spaces, delicious-looking food and oh-so-fashionable apparel.

We would love to share this visual inspiration with you. Each month we will post a roundup of our favourite Instagram finds – anything that made us go “wow” or weak at the knees. The instant-likes that turned into #instalove.

Let’s kick off with the lovely feature image above.

This lovely wall light… (feature image above)

Blogger, Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home, shared this inspirational image of a lovely little corner in her home. If you browse through her Instagram feed you will notice that this living room nook in her apartment in Sweden has changed and morphed multiple times over the years. I love the current configuration though!

The feature that first drew me was the gorgeous dove grey and brass long-arm wall light. The ever-evolving collection of framed art and prints on the gallery wall above her sofa further adds to the lovely Scandi feel.

This very chic-looking bunk bed…

Now isn’t this the most elegantly put together kids room you have ever seen? Designed by Amber Lewis of LA-based Amber Interior Design Studio, this space is all kinds of beautiful. From the sleek fitted bunk beds with wooden ladder and trim to the built-in book niches at the head of each bed. Not to mention the floating shelf storage unit at the foot of the beds and the stunning brass wall light fittings. The bright white and lovely rusty pink / coral colour scheme is so pretty to boot.

It’s clean, it’s contemporary, and it’s chic, yet playful and feminine enough for a little girl’s bedroom.Read More »

10 Sleek & Chic Bar Cabinets | via The Design Tabloid

10 Sleek & Chic Bar Cabinets for Your Home

feature image: PepperJack Interiors via Elle Decor

by Marica Fick

Last month, inspired by a post we spotted on Emily Henderson’s blog, we wrote an article about the current trend of using armoires, traditionally meant for the bedroom, as feature pieces in the rest of the home.

We accompanied the post with a lovely roundup of locally-found contemporary storage cabinets that could serve as statement display units in every room of your home.

10 Sleek & Chic Bar Cabinets | via The Design Tabloid
The stylish and chic LaSalle bar cabinet by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is both sleek and versatile: easy to imagine as a bar or as a statement piece in an entryway. The doors feature a raised diamond-parquet pattern in a rich wood veneer and is accented with antique brass details. | source: Domino

Now, while I was prepping the article and curating our “8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets for Your Home” shopping list, I was quite astonished by the number of striking bar cabinets I came across during my search. Not only were these drinks cabinets absolutely gorgeous, they were also all local available – the majority being exclusive pieces designed and manufactured by South African designers. Elite to say the least!

I immediately bookmarked a few designs and made a mental note to follow-up our contemporary storage unit article with one about bar cabinets.

Where previously the open display of alcohol in the home might have been deemed a tad vulgar and Mid-century kitsch, the ever-growing popularity of boutique and craft spirits and liquors has resulted in a home bar revival. I mean, what is the point of owning beautifully designed bottles filled delicious, locally-stilled, limited-edition drinks and then not being able to show it off?! I bit hipster, I know, but I can’t help it!

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8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets | via The Design Tabloid

8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets for Your Home

feature image: bo bedre

by Marica Fick

Rose recently spotted a lovely article on Emily Henderson’s blog that set the inspiration cogs in our heads turning. In the post, “Why You Should Be Using Armoires in Every Room”, Emily elaborates why furniture pieces like armoires should not be hidden in the bedroom but incorporated as feature pieces in the rest of the home.

Before we get all tripped up over terminology, let’s quickly look at the definition of “Armoire”

As we have previously defined in our Decorating Dictionary, an Armoire is a large loose-standing two-door cabinet, usually containing shelves, hanging space, and sometimes drawers below. Generally used for storing clothing or household items, interestingly enough it was originally used for storing arms.

8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets | via The Design Tabloid
IKEA’s black-painted BJÖRKSNÄS Display Cabinet serves as a sleek and stylish office storage unit in this home workspace. The design has its roots in Scandinavian handicraft tradition – durable natural materials with fine joinery details and proportions that make suitable for any room of function. | source: IKEA
8 Contemporary Storage Cabinets | via The Design Tabloid
The interiors of this classic Victorian mansion has been impeccably modernised for contemporary family living. What a statement this bold and contemporary armoire makes in one of the bedrooms – and the striking deep blue colour is to die for. | source: est living | interiors: Clare Cousins | photography: Shannon McGrath

Emily had the following to say about this atypical trend:

Let’s talk wardrobes, or armoires if you’re feeling fancy, and how to bring it into our modern day lives because even though likely none of us are currently living in a sprawling French chateau, these heavier pieces of furniture can be used successfully (and VERY chicly) in nearly every room of the house. It’s one of those pieces that are often overlooked, but let’s all agree to stop that right now and consider the armoire.

Sure, with a name like “wardrobe,” you’re thinking they have to be relegated behind closed bedroom doors. But we’re all for thinking outside the box around here at EHD and like to be trailblazers in anything if we can. We’re not in this instance, but we’re loving what we’re seeing from other like-minded people. Because really, armoires are essentially just cabinets for storing things so why can’t we use one anywhere and everywhere we need storage, right? Plus, because they take up more vertical space than horizontal, they’re great for smaller footprints.”

In her blog post, Emily shared some gorgeous examples of both traditional and contemporary armoires used as storage and display in various unexpected parts of the home – from the bathroom and entryway to the dining room and living room.

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