Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy

Our Work: Chan Wela Beauty Spa

by Rose McClement

I’m sitting here wondering how to get this article off the ground? Where do I begin? I’m a bit of a storyteller. So I’m wondering, should I start with “Once upon a Time”? …Nah! Not this time around. I’ll leave that for when I write my book. All I ask right now is that you try to stay with me until “The End”.

Back in September 2017, Design Monarchy was commissioned to assist with the interior design and project management of Chan Wela, a nail bar and beauty salon. I’ve always maintained that whether you design for residential, hotel, retail, or any other interior space, the processes and the principles are always the same. That being said, the interior design of a nail and beauty salon was a first for us, yet we were very keen and excited to get on with it.

Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy
Chan Wela Beauty Spa’s manicure bar in Century City, Cape Town. Don’t you just LOVE the gorgeous mint velvet fabric we sourced for the manicure chairs? It was a very hard find!

Before I go any further, I think that it would be appropriate to open up the meaning of the Salon’s name. “Chan Wela” is Thai for “me time”.  To this day, I still find the name and its meaning very enchanting.

There were two major challenges that we faced with this project. First off – the timeframe was extremely tight. The Salon’s PR driven celebrity launch party was to be on the 28th of November. From the time that the deal was agreed upon to the big evening’s launch party, we basically had two months! In that time, we had to tackle challenge number two: converting a typically bland office space, in a typical office block complex, into a compelling top-of-the-range, fully-equipped, upmarket beauty salon. NO pressure!

Chan Wela Beauty Spa | Interiors by Design Monarchy
The Pedicure station featured some beautiful plush and comfy wingback chairs upholstered in a stunning soft pink velvet.

The construction and building process of a project and converting an interior space is always a time-sensitive issue. The processes are all time-consuming – stress trigger points deluxe! Always! If you are planning an interior upgrade, please, factor insufficient time.Read More »

Quirky Workspace | Interiors by Design Monarchy

Our Work: Wonderfully Quirky Workspace

by Rose McClement

While working through our “Office & Workspace” Pinterest board recently, trying to pick my three favourite images for our previous Pinterest Pick post, I kept circling back to the images of one of our own projects. Truth be told, it really was my favourite workspace on that whole Pinterest board, one that I would be more than happy to set up in my own home.

That inspired me to feature one of Design Monarchy‘s own workspaces – one that we designed for a residence in East London. The home office we put together for project Riverside Place was a super cool, quirky and fun-filled workspace.Read More »

Home Magazine April 2016 Cover

Another Amazing Design Monarchy Feature in Home Magazine!

Earlier this month we wrote a blog post, “2015: A Winning Year for Design Monarchy“, about all the exciting projects and experiences we had last year. As mentioned in the post, one of the absolute high points was that Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif featured one of our interior design projects, the home of our client Sharon Turner, in the their January issue. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilling it is to see one’s hard work on the cover of a glossy magazine!

Well, call us doubly blessed, because shortly thereafter Home / Tuis once again asked if they could feature another one of our projects. What makes this home extra special and personal is that our client, Michelle Ward, happens to be Rose’s sister! It was such fun working with Michelle. Since we know her so well it was that much easier to put together the perfect interior proposal for her home that catered to her tastes. Michelle wanted bright and happy, colourful and quirky, with just the slightest dash of glamour.

One of my favourite elements in Michelle’s home is the gorgeous hand-painted Moroccan tiles we sourced for the scullery. I can remember spending a good couple of hours in Moroccan Warehouse in Cape Town bent over stacks of tiles to find the perfect tile repeat. Rose also found the cutest potted plants at Typo which along with the Moroccan tiles made for one trendy scullery.

Another feature I loved was the Mid-Century inspired easy chair we had custom made for the living room. It featured the most beautiful, bold, big floral fabric we sourced at Home Fabrics. It is so happy and colourful – a true reflection of the overall interior.

Michelle found a vintage multi-drawer storage unit for her study which Rose and I took one look at and said: “Let’s paint it ombre!” The carcass we painted white and the drawers in graduating shades of yellow. It looks smashing against the quirky white and black polka dot wallpaper in the study.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the April issue of Tuis or Home Magazine see the full feature and beautiful images (page 16-23). Let us know what you think!

Magazine feature of interior design by Design Monarchy

2015: A Winning Year for Design Monarchy

Marica suggested that I wrote a foreword for our bi-weekly email newsletter about the successes of Design Monarchy during 2015.  However, that would limit it to only those particular readers and despite the fact that bragging still is not my comfort zone, I thought to share some of it with our boarder audience.

So, here goes with a quick look back at the year 2015 and those events, accolades, projects etc. that really are immensely rewarding for us as a young company.  We have been working at increasing our business visibility and interior design projects as Design Monarchy for over 5 years now therein lies the rewards – to see the fruits of our labour…

One of our interior design projects, the home of our client Sharon Turner, located in Chintsa on the east coast of South Africa, was selected to be featured in the December 2015 / January 2016 issue of Home / Tuis Magazine. Although we had always maintained it was magazine worthy project, it came as a fabulous surprise to us. To see the incredible glossy images of our interior project, which was by the way so up our alley style-wise, was simply amazing. It enjoyed front page status and a full 12 page spread!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  I overheard the Home Magazine creative editor and stylist, Marian van Wyk, mention to Sharon (our client) that the editor said it was one of the best houses ever featured in their mag. Whoop-whoop!! We wrote a quick blog article about the feature last year, but due to tight end-of-year deadlines we were not able to make too much of a fuss. Is it too late to crack the champagne now?

Another interior design project that we started punting back in 2012, the upmarket retirement complex, Summerley Court, was given the green light mid-2015.  We worked on that between July and November 2015. The project was a wonderful collaboration between Design Monarchy and LifeTides, a Retirement Lifestyle Consulting company. The partnership produced truly noteworthy, striking interiors. I have to thank John White of LifeTides for entrusting his “baby” and long awaited project into our hands. Although the task was not without its challenges, due to tight timeframes, it was such a pleasurable project.

In early 2015 we completed another interior design project along the East Coast – this one in East London. It can be a challenge to undertake projects out of town. However, we jumped at the opportunity to work on another project were we could incorporate the interior style we so love – eclectic and colourful with a touch of playful quirkiness! Again, right up our alley! The client’s enthusiasm and collaboration adds that flavour of excitement as well. It was such fun.

Furthermore, can I have a drum roll please…

Home / Tuis Magazine once again asked if they can feature this home in one of their latest issues! The interview and gorgeous photo-shoot images will be published in the April 2016 issue of Home / Tuis. Yippee! The issue is due to hit the shelves on 14th March – so keep an eye out. Big thanks to the Media24 team and to our client, Michelle Ward, for getting on board with this publication.

Networking – Okay so I am a born and bred Networker. It is so easy for me to do, plus I enjoy it thoroughly. The XtraOrdinary Women’s Network is where you will find me bleating away. I attend their Coastal Chapter, the Somerset West Chapter and, my all-time-hot-favourite for the past three years, the Holistic Chapter. I am so into that stuff. And the reward, you might ask? Well, that would be… awards! In 2015 I was awarded the Supporter of the Year Award from Holistic Network and this year, from the same chapter, The Networker of the Year Award.  Can you believe it – getting awards for doing what you enjoy! Many thanks to all and especially Michelle Vooght and Gwen Kloppers.

One of the biggest pleasures for both Marica and me is the publication of articles on this blog, The Design Tabloid. The rewards from that is your faithful support as our readers.  That is BIG for the both of us. It may be a powerful marketing tool for Design Monarchy, but being able to share ourselves with y’all – nothing better. Many thanks.

See y’all as we journey into 2016. Stay with us and enjoy the ride.

P.S. I am reading the Divine Secrets of Ya-Ya Sisterhood and hence “y’all” is becoming my new favourite word.

Kelly Hoppen: Queen of Taupe

I guess that no matter what profession or trade you find yourself in, you too must have a leader in that field whose work/art you hold in high esteem.  An iconic figure – a person who has managed to reach world renown and fame. Someone who inspires and motivates you to model your life or work along the same values that helped them achieve success (Sir Richard Branson comes to mind).

For me that person is award-winning international Interior Designer, Kelly Hoppen. Although Kelly has lived and worked most of her life in the UK, she was actually born here in South Africa.  Her mother is Stephanie Hoppen – also world renowned in her own right within the interiors profession.  Stephanie and her husband took their family over to the UK when Kelly was two years of age. Like mother, like daughter – both of them have authored many books that speak into some or other interior design and decorating principal. Stephanie Hoppen used to pop over to South Africa often and is well regarded in local interior design circles. As is Kelly Hoppen.

DECOR TIP: “Build up your fabric story, to add further layers of comfort, interest, luxury and character to a room by way of textual and tonal combinations.”  –  Kelly Hoppen

Kelly has numerous and admirable claims to fame, but to name a few:

*  Designed for a number of celebrities including David and Victoria Beckham and Martin Shaw.
*  Awarded the Andrew Martin Interior Design Award by Andrew Martin International
*  European Woman Of Achievement in 2007
*  ELLE Decoration Award and Grazia Designer of the Year in 2009
*  Appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours
*  On 19 February 2013, Hoppen was announced as one of the new dragons on BBC Two‘s programme Dragons’ Den

DECOR TIP: “Sand is a great colour to work with, but if you don’t want to use it over a large area, consider making sand the accent colour. A cream room with sand tones is easiest to achieve, to live with and enjoy.”  –  Kelly Hoppen

Her style thus is chic, relaxed and upmarket. Yet despite the fact that she works largely with the higher income bracket, her interior design and décor principals are universal, making them easy to adapt and apply into your personal space.

Recently Kelly has been posting some very useful décor tips and advice on her Facebook Page. Being inspired by them, I thought to share some with our readers. Won’t be right to hold back on sharing. Since Kelly is famous for using a neutral colour palette such as taupe and beige, you will be able to see her renowned design philosophy coming out in these pieces of advice.

In conclusion – as a matter of interest, do you have an iconic figure that you aspire to emulate?

Images via Kelly Hoppen

Décor Diva: At what stage should you enlist the services of an Interior Designer?

During the course of a conversation in the office the other day, one of our old gripes emerged again. It is an old bone of contention that we tend to chew on every now and again. But I feel it is a very valid one.

Well, the beauty of the Décor Diva column is that I am able to express my opinion. Let’s always bear that in mind – it is just my opinion, but in this case I know that I am not the only one that holds this opinion.


Here goes:  It’s all about timing! What timing? This timing – at what stage do you enlist the services of an Interior Designer? The answer to this must seem pretty obvious. “At the time when the actual construction of the house, office, shop commences?  Not so! The correct answer is – during the planning stages. (Please note I am talking about the Interior Designer – not the Interior Decorator. The Interior Designer deals with construct, hard finishes and space planning issues, way before the décor is considered).


If your intention is to build your home or office who would be the very first professional in the design business that you would work with? The Architect naturally – they design and plan the structure that you have in mind.

But, now this is such a special project to you and you want it done right, plus you have budgeted for the services of an interior designer to assist you with features and finishes.

Well then, once the architect has the initial plans up and running, that is the IDEAL time to include the expertise of the Interior Designer, not after construction has begun and the space has begun to take shape. The reason – a good design team consists of an architect, interior designer and developer / construction company – working hand in hand, each bringing their brand of expertise to the project. For this reason there are a great many architectural firms that have an interior designer or dept on board. They work together from the start of the planning phase.


Too often have we come on board after the planning stage, with construction well on its way already. Too often have we encountered big space planning issues on sites which puts us under tremendous pressure to perform, without having the time to go through the proper design process? Too often have we had builders demanding plans from us when we have actually just come on board? Bad Timing!!

Please don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect for architects and their extensive knowledge. They are a breed of professionals who come out of years of University training and carry extensive technical knowledge.  Something that blows my mind at times.


Interior Designers spend more time working with floor layouts, space planning, interior features (bulkheads) etc and have thus sharpened these skills and developed a keen eye. Interior spaces are their turf and as such their interpretation of space is a vital link from the start. A skill which compliments the architect.

I have seen how our skills and services can make a huge complimentary difference to the architecture and so, I would say – for a successful project build, ensure the inclusion of the interior designer happens from the start…