Can You Do Minimal Interior Living?

One of my favourite design blogs, and has been for about 5 years now, is Design*Sponge. What I appreciate most about D*S is that it is written for the man in the street. The homes and spaces that are featured are not styled to the nth degree before they are photographed, to make them look picture perfect. No – the featured interior décor and design is for everyday living. Just a quick P.S. here – everyday living however, does not amount to ordinary living. You encounter some extra-ordinary & unique interiors.

What makes these interior spaces extra-ordinary and unique? The very fact that they reflect the personalities, values and characters of their owners. Probably the most important element in any home or office space. After all, Home is where the Heart is!!

True Minimalism
A true Minimalist interior – stark linear lines, minimal furniture and décor, neutral colour palette, and a focus on architectural features and hard finishes.

However, one article in particular recently grabbed my attention and got the mind chatter going. Particularly the whole matter of keeping “stuff to a minimum” which it seems is the creed of the owner. De-cluttering is her business, so it was grand to see her apply her values into her own interior space. As I looked at the images of her house, I was struck by the fact that it is so vastly different to what we had come to know as “Minimalist Style” since way back. True Minimalism, where the lines were linear, the furniture more along stark contemporary lines, and the predominant colours were grey and neutrals.

So much of that type of Minimalism is still to be found dominant in European homes. Maybe just a little bit more upbeat than before – furniture and other interior décor elements are kept to an absolute minimum, while the over-arching features are to be found in the interior hard finishes – such a wood cladding etc.

New Minimalism

New Minimalism (2)
The “new” Minimalist home of minimalists Cary and Cam Fortin. Cary has been able to train herself to live with less while still maintaining a truly personal and layered abode.

But, this lady was presenting me with a new kind of Minimalism – a home filled with pattern, plants, retro furniture pieces, loads of colour and textures layered into her home, while still being true to her ideals of living with less.

Which just proved to me – it can be done. You can have minimalism without sacrificing layering and textures. It is being done.

Nip over to the article (here) and challenge yourself by asking yourself the question: Could you let go of all the stuff you don’t need in your life with a view of allowing some really good features to stand proud? As I sit here – I think I could do it. I could do New Minimalism.

Take note of the article’s last paragraph – it’s poignant:

Far too often the expectations for what is considered “minimalism” are set at an unattainable degree. That’s why I find Cary and Cam’s home so refreshing. It ushers in a new way of perceiving the movement by showing what a contemporary and lively family deems “the essentials.” It also doesn’t hurt when that family has impeccable taste, like these two.

New Minimalism (4)

New Minimalism (1)

New Minimalism (3)

{Images: 1, 2-4, 5}

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Ask Décor Diva: Where Can I Buy Retro Cushions?

One of our readers recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice…

She asks:

“I have a dark brown suede L shape couch and want retro, bright scatter cushions but not sure where and how to get them…

Décor Diva says:

This is actually a tricky question, without a particularly straight forward answer.  The reason being that the term “retro style” could mean one thing to me and another to you, coming out of our individual perceptions of “retro”.

In décor & interior design “retro” basically speaks of a trend or style that is reminiscent of those styles of the 50’s and 60’s.  However, the definition of “retro” is in actuality anything that is older than 20 years.  To some retro means “vintage” or “mid-century modern” or the pop culture styles prominent in the 60’s and early 70’s.  In recent times even those fashion and décor items and styles appropriated in the 80’s is gaining momentum.

This all then begs the question: what is your perception of retro patterns and styles?

But in an attempt to assist you with your scatter cushion décor dilemma, I think it best that I just simply point you in the direction of some of the local suppliers of fabrics & cushions that we would regard as retro – in a more universal sense. You take your pick from these and hopefully it will help you to move forward. If you struggle to find ready-made scatter cushions in the shops, there is a good few fabric houses that sell awesome retro-inspired fabrics that can be made into scatters. In the event that you are not needle and tread capable, approach a local curtain manufacturer to make up the scatter cushions for you.

Here is the suggested suppliers of retro patterned fabrics:

Unfortunately most fabric houses do not sell directly to the public BUT luckily if you see a fabric you like you can contact us and we will order it for you!

  • Local Cape Town designer Skinny laMinx (not necessarily bright, but certainly retro)!
  • Hertex has a handful of quirky fabrics with retro comic strip motifs on it.
  • Then there is a fabulous range of fabrics and patterns to be found from Design Team, especially their Young at Heart and Baha ranges. Their website has a full and comprehensive range of fabrics to be viewed. If want you could spend some time looking through their range, you may strike it lucky.

Love, Rose  x x x

{Below find some awesome local retro-inspired scatter cushions. Please click on images to enlarge}

Quirky Eclectic Industrial Home

This quirky, eclectic-industrial home was featured in House and Leisure Magazine a few years ago. Back then, it was probably a little bit ahead of it’s time – now Industrial Style (not to mention Eclecticism) has become a powerful global trend. Located on a small holding on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, the house is owned by sculptor Wehrner Lemmer and his wife, Annette. The house interior boast with a bold and interesting mix of industrial, mid-century modern and other vintage elements along with a striking use of colour – the couples personal style and interests are evident through out the interior and décor.

“A study of contrasts, it is, essentially, two quite distinctive and complete units, designed by different architects – Adrian Beyleveld of Hix Architects, and then later Quinsley Sale of Kiü Architects. One is all raw concrete, exposed brick and gleaming glass, from floor to clerestory windows; the other, quite literally, a balau-clad box. ‘We love concrete, glass and wood,’ says Annette. ‘But the most important element was for it to blend in with the natural surroundings,’ adds Wehrner.”  –  House and Leisure

All info & images via  House and Leisure

Mid-Century Furniture Finds

To conclude our little, unplanned, random blog series of Mid-Century Modern musings we thought inspire you with some local Modern furniture finds. The Mother City’s trendy style, hipster vibe and appreciation for all things vintage ensured a natural affinity to the global revival of the Mid-Century Modern trend. Cape Town is littered with flourishing shops dedicated to the import and restoration of Mid-Century Modern furniture & décor. Sigh, what can I say – we just love it…

This gorgeous mid-century chair is something different – not a Scandinavian import, it was made in the good ole R.S.A. Manufactured in the 1950’s, this armchair was made by the well known furniture maker G.H Starck Limited, who opened their doors in 1936 in Parow. Salvaged and restored by one of my favourite local mid-century upcyclers, RESTORE, they re-sprayed the chair in fresh white and upholstered it in this striking geometric fabric by Lulu Fabrics.

Another beautiful space filled with mid-century furniture, gifts and quirky vintage kitchenalia and collectables is that of well-known, VAMP. I loved this quirky two-seater Mahogany couch and love set of Maple nested tables with inky grey tops.

This striking and fun mid-century modern arm chair was revamped by SAKS CORNER. Their vintage restorations usually have funky unique and playful twist.

We have mentioned SPACE FOR LIFE before – they specialise in the import of beautifully designed and well-crafted mid-century furniture pieces from Scandinavia. This gorgeous teak easy chair above, manufactured by Soren J Ladefogde & Son in 1959, still has it’s original dark green wool fabric upholstery. The tall teak side board dresser cabinet is also a superb piece of craftsmanship.

The MID-CENTURY MODERN showroom & gallery in Durham Avenue, Cape Town has a gorgeous array of mid-century originals (as well as some awesome Bauhaus pieces) It was their remarkable collection of mid-century lighting that caught my attention this time. The well-known “Contrast” pendant lamp by Poul Henningsen (circa 1962) and the striking teal hand-blown glass pendant light by Luciano Vistosi (circa 1957) were my favourites.

MID-CENTURY MODERN also import pieces from the Danish furniture manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son, who has been manufacturing the designs of renowned mid-century furniture designer, Hans Wegner since 1949. The Y-Chair (also know as the Wishbone Chair) and the stunning upholstered lounge chair (CH445) is just two of Wegner’s most recognizable designs.

Then, or the mid-century lover on a budget – you can take the less-expensive route of purchasing mid-century replicas. The Eames lounge chair and rocker replicas are available from 5ROOMS.COM

And there you go – some lovely mid-century awesomeness to carry you into the weekend!

Décor Dictionary: Contemporary vs Modern

In the field of design & décor, you have to be very careful with what you label “Modern” or “Contemporary.” So often we see & hear people incorrectly referring to an interior or furniture piece as “modern” when they actually mean “contemporary.” We have even seen this grave mistake in design blogs and magazines!

In design & décor (and even other visual departments such as art & theatre)  “modern” is a static term referring to the era  & style of what we today call “Mid-Century Modern.” So Sista, if it doesn’t smack of delicious Mid-Century retro-ness – it’s not “modern.” Contemporary is a little more difficult to explain in design terms as it is a dynamic, ever-changing “style.”

Another factor that is further confusing the matter is the fact that Mid-Century Modern is currently experiencing a revival – the web is littered with contemporary-modern hybrid interiors.

To help you, I will be defining the terms “Contemporary” & “Modern” (i.e. Mid-Century Modern). Later today I will also be “reblogging” 2 excellent articles written by Lindsay form Urban Domesticity. In the articles, she chats in detail about the difference between contemporary & modern. It’s extremely well written and a superb read – be sure not to miss it.

Two examples of the sleek, minimalist, linear style that can be thought of as current (about the last 5 years) contemporary design.

Contemporary Style:   basically means “of this moment.” It is a new current style of design and interiors that exist in the here-and-now. Today, we often relate Contemporary Style to the simplistic, minimal, clean and uncluttered look – think linear lines, neutral colour schemes, stainless, glass, and sleek timbers. However, Contemporary as a style is ever-changing and dynamic – what we view as contemporary today might will not be contemporary tomorrow. For example: In the 80s the Biggie Best country cottage style was BIG in South Africa – it was the contemporary style of the time (i.e. the 80s), yet today it is outdated and vintage.

Here you see two great examples of authentic Mid-Century Modern interiors and the image below on the left is a brilliant Mid-Century recreation with authentic period furniture pieces.

Mid-Century Modern Style:   is a mid-20th-century style of architecture, furniture – and product design that originated in the early 1930s and continued into the mid-1960s. Often referred to as “modern” or “retro”, the style is characterized by simplicity, clean lines, organic forms, and the use of moulded plywood, metal, and plastic. Mid-Century Modern design was greatly influenced by the uncomplicated and practical Scandinavian designs of that time. It was also a golden period of furniture design – gorgeous and innovative designs by masters such as Charles & Ray Eames, Verner PantonEero Saarinen and Arne Jacobsen – but to name a few.

A beautiful example of a contemporary modern interior. Notice the contemporary art, lighting & sofa mix with the mid-century modern occasional chairs & TV unit. Image via contemporist.com
Image sources:
Contemporary images: via
Authentic Mid-Century images: via
Mid-Century Recreation image: via
Contemporary mid-century image: via
How to get the "Mid - Century Modern" look for your lounge via The Design Tabloid

Get This Look – Mid-Century Modern Lounge

By Marica

How to get the "Mid - Century Modern" look for your lounge via The Design Tabloid

Some of you more observant peeps my recall seeing this lovely Mid-Century Modern feature image (source) somewhere before – that is because I have used it in a past Colour-Coded Inspiration post. I simply love this sleek & sexy black & white retro lounge! Mid-Century Modern is a mid-20th century style of architecture, furniture – and product design that originated in the early 1930s and continued into the mid-1960s. Often referred to as “modern” or “retro”, the style is characterized by simplicity, clean lines, organic forms, and the use of wood, metal, and plastic. Mid-Century Modern design was greatly influenced by the uncomplicated and practical Scandinavian designs of the time. This house is located somewhere in Sweden and is an excellent example of modern-meets-contemporary Scandinavian design. Simply gorgeous!

GET THIS LOOK:

1. Love this gorgeous matt black Bentwood Chair from Weylandts.

2. Add a little African flair to your collection (also known as a “gallery wall“) of photos & art by including these lovely prints from Cara Saven available at 5rooms.com

3. Sleek contemporary server is from Tonic Design.

4. These lovely scatter cushions are perfect for this black, white & grey space – all from Woolworths. Choose simplistic geometric patterns & stripes… you can also include one or two with typography designs.

5. Super cool adjustable Zig Zag Floor Lamp from Weylandts.

6. Cute deep-buttoned retro sofa in charcoal via 5rooms.com

7. I rather prefer this more rustic industrial timber coffee table on wheels – Le Grange Interiors.

8. The Mid-Century Modern lounge chairs play a big role in this Get The Look, I suggest trawling second-hand shops, or suppliers who specialises in the import or restoration of Mid-Century Modern furniture like Vamp or Restore. The chair in our Get The Look is a gorgeous vintage Scandinavian import available at Space For Life and the little faux fur cushion is from @Home.

9. Add this lovely woven two-tone throw from Mr. Price Home.

10. Continuing with a little more  African flair – I simply adore this white / grey zig-zag animal hide rug from @Home.