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,

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