Ask Décor Diva: From Bare & Cold To Coastal Cosy?

One of our readers recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice. She sent us an image of her living room along with the following queries…

She asks:

My house is at the coast and I am battling to get this big (lounge) space cosy and inviting. I changed the coffee table to a square and ordered a jute rug. Also, how do you arrange scatter cushions on a U-shaped couch? Do you think I should change the bird cushion as it is not really part of the coastal theme? I ordered 3 striped cushions as well as 3 duck egg blue cushions…”

Ask Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Décor Diva says:

Because you are at the coast, I actually think that you should play on that coastal / nautical theme a lot more. The colours would then be more along the sand, stone, tones of blue, white and even a bit of nautical red can be thrown in there. And for that reason only would I go along with the suggestion of tossing out the bird cushion. I have to admit that I do find the dark script cushions a bit on the heavy side. There is such a variety to be found in nautical designed cushions which you could mix in with a lighter script, typo designs and even a nice blue geo pattern. Stripes are very prominent with the coastal themes.

Right now your space seems to be a work in progress and as such I guess that you are gradually introducing more colour. And accessories are the best way to go here. With your rug being along neutral colour tones as well, you may even consider creating one wall as a feature wall, by painting it a coastal ivory or sandy colour. That effect can immediately eliminate that sense of ‘vastness’ that an open plan area often presents. It ‘pulls the room in’ for want of a better explanation.

You also enquired about the ‘positioning’ or layout of the scatters on the actual sofa.  I think that you have two options open to you:

1)  The way you have it set out on the sofa in the image… that is in each corner is fine – but I would definitely make sure that you include a rectangular or organically shaped cushion.

2)  Move away from the corners of the arms of the sofa – instead position the scatter in the middle of each section, plus the corner where the two sections meet. At least three cushions in the same format as above.

One generally displays the scatters in layers, starting with the bigger ones at the back and working down. The mix of sizes and shapes: the larger sizes at the back should be something like 60 x 60cm, then a slightly smaller one of 50cm x 50cm. In front of that you can either have a long rectangular cushion of about 35cm x 60cm or even a more organic looking cushion like bolster. I like to keep the cushion inners as a feather mix – they are much easier to sit into and less likely to be tossed onto the floor as a nuisance factor.

The best is to fiddle or play with each setting until you reach one that sits well with you. After all – despite all the guidelines around, ultimately it is all about you and how things work for you.

Love, Rose  x x x

{Below find some lovely Coastal décor inspiration and local accessories. Please click on images to enlarge}


Décor Diva: The Secret To A Decadent Boudoir Bedroom

According to Wikipedia a Boudoir is “a lady’s private sitting room or dressing room.” Others have added in the phrase “where she would retire to receive friends.”

The term derives from the French verb “bouder” meaning, “to be sulky.”  Apparently, young ladies were sent to their “boudoirs” to go and sulk in private. Who would have thought of that association today?

More interesting though is to see how the interpretation of a Boudoir has recently come to denote a style of furnishing for the Bedroom that can traditionally be described as ornate, opulent and sensuous. The focus of which is strongly linked to the Renaissance and French inspired bedroom styles. And even more recently, it includes an opulent spin on the “French Country Cottage” style.

This is a very definite style and is all about ambience, ambience and even more ambience.  At the mention of the word “boudoir,” images and descriptions of O.T.T. opulence, glamour, sensuality, intimacy and privacy, dark chocolate, red roses and the like come to mind. You get taken away to scenes from the movies “Moulin Rouge” and “Marie Antoinette”.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to create this decadent private romantic bedroom style, the sensuality of which will seduce all who enter into that chamber.

To achieve an effective boudoir style, lavish layering is essential. In order to add depth to the room, you would include various layers of textures, objects and tones – all of these add further character and dimension.

The Traditional Boudoir

A more “classical” boudoir would be along the Versailles / Moulin Rouge style, with the textures being found in plush, deep velvet fabrics, patterned and plain mixed together; rich silk fabrics (on the lampshades, scatters cushions and bed throws), not forgetting that deep pile damask wallpaper and toiles (non-negotiable). Remember – glamour is key.

The furniture – very much along the lines of the Louis XV style. It can be a chair in the corner, a deep-buttoned headboard, bedside pedestals and ottomans. This style has the slightly curved legs, otherwise known as “cabriole”. The finish on these pieces, either the ever popular gold gilt, dark stained wood or paint. Sheer decadence and opulence.

The last layers will be the accessories, decadent mirrors with ornate frames, glass, silver & mirrored ornaments, lamp bases, vases and all manner of collectables. Then of course, there are the candles – in varying sizes and colours. Naturally, fragranced candles will enhance your sensual ambience. Take the time to group your accessories together – clusters of small mirrors, prints and pictures and any of the above. Oh – never forget that trendy crystal chandelier!

The floor covering should the deep piled rugs, preferably of along the shaggy style. Your feet should feel embraced by the pile of the rug.

To create that intimate space for the classic style look at applying the deep red colour, rich burgundy, pink, purple, royal blue, grey and gold. For a more masculine touch work with black, silver, white and purple.

The French Country Boudoir

If you find the strong textures and tones of the classic boudoir style to overwhelming you can always opt for the ever popular fresh French Country Style. The sensuality and intimacy of this boudoir style is to be found in the romantic softness. The fabrics by contrast are soft, flimsy voiles, natural linens and silks alike, complimented by some country floral patterns.

The same French furniture style is used, but the finish is different. Paint techniqued to look slightly distressed or aged – tones of off-whites, very pale yellows and soft French blues and greys are ever popular.

The bed would be dressed with linen that draws you into its freshness, using neutral tones as complimentary. To add depth, introduce any soft colour with a faded appearance. Add a glimpse of glamour with a sensuous throw and scatter cushions, with a hint of “glitz”.

Maintain the natural essence of this style on the floor, applying natural textured rugs that are sensual in their ruggedness.

Go out there, style and create your prefect boudoir – achievable even on a budget – just shop around and let it evolve.

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{The Grosvenor Hotel launched its opulent ‘Courtesan’s Boudoir’. The Parisian-inspired Suite has been tenderly created in homage to one of the grand railway hotel’s most infamous visitors – the scandalous courtesan, Miss Cora Pearl.}

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{Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9}


It is no secret that Marica and I are total VISI fans. Naturally, when they approached The Design Tabloid to get the Décor Diva‘s view on blogs, social media and it’s effect on design, for the February 2013 Issue – we were over the moon.

However, the best was yet to come. We found that we had managed to sneak into one of the best issues I have read to date. Brilliant page turner for design lovers such as we are. Seriously – by the time I had turned the last page, I still wanted more – more of those divine VISI-styled images, more news, views, and interviews about the clever local creatives and their products.

This DIY issue even had the unmotivated DIY-er in me going, wanting to get to my trash and make something to boast about with it.

Wanna know what tantalised me most? Here goes…

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1}  Okay as expected – I am going to point you directly to the page that has given The Design Tabloid national print media coverage – Page 14 of the awesome section “32 Reasons to always love smart ideas”.  Altogether now – Whoop, Whoop!!

2}  Dustbin Décor – working with plastic bottles to make a bird-feeder (hubby favourite) and what looks like something so do-able – the Liquid Chandelier.  It just blows my mind that we can create such easy peasy good-looking items from what has always been termed “rubbish”.  You do however need someone with some electrical understanding to stand by you.

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3}  Second Life – I love that there is a trend around taking what would have been considered the unthinkable a good few years ago, and making a creative décor item from it.  Like the pieces made from tyres.  My first thoughts when reading this was “I need a Man Cave to decorate – soon!”

4}  You know how Mosquitoes are not wanted and yet are always around on those hot summer evenings and nights, biting into your flesh.  One of the most effective mosquito remedies I have found is a coil that you burn.  However, the messiness caused by the ash and question “what the heck do I put this on/in?” – put me off that coil.  No more – Catherine Raphaely from Planet Baobab Safari Camp found the perfect solution in a floor polish tin.  Congrats Catherine – I loved the solution. (Page 66)

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5}  Page 84 had a full page image of row upon row of toasters, stretching from what I can only imagine to be the 50s to present time.  That was sobering for me.  Why?  Because I have experienced many of those toasters at one time or another in my lifetime.  NO – who wants to be reminded how many toaster designs you have lived through! Dah.  Just as a postscript here – when Marica and I spoke about this toaster business, she went on to tell me about an awesome lighting project she did while studying design.  It involved one of them toasters.  It sounds totally ingenious, just as she is.  I am trying to get her to write a post on that toaster.  Maybe you can join me in nudging her.

6}  While in the Obsess & Collect section, another truly creative and authentic SA collection by Ekim Falconer of Bone Idol (cool name) was a display of rusted implements, crockery and skulls.  Mostly stuck onto the front of his house!  It blends beautifully into the natural surroundings.  Which is what makes it so clever?  Man oh Man – some people might think that they are “bone idol” but ingenious they are!

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7}  I am not too sure whether it was 2010 or 2011 that I first encountered the “Yarn Bomber” – Cape Town’s own Isabeau Joubert.  She had a field time bombing various iconic statues or public arenas with huge knitted coverings.  There was a time when I knitted some and that is why I was intrigued by this yarn bombing sub-culture.  Read about her on Page 180.

This issue of VISI has once again brought home to me what a plethora of creative talent is to be found in South Africa. Creatives that take our natural and cultural aspects to broadcast our unique South Africa brand. I am reminded that The Design Tabloid came about for this very reason – to showcase SA talent.

My question to you in closing is this: “Have you read the I Love DIY issue of VISI?” If not, why not? JUST DO IT!

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Chevron Flash Sale On Citymob

Well, look what we have here! The Design Tabloid is hosting a flash sale over at Citymob! Now as you know from our trend report last year – geos (especially chevrons) where, and still are, super dooper hot. And now these fabulous bold zig-zags are FINALLY hitting the S.A. homeware & décor shops! I small selection of awesome bespoke chevron products where curated for the Citymob sale (not too shabby prices I might add)! The sale ends in 9 days, so pop over to Citymob to check it out… here.

A Reflection On 2012…

Like we did at the beginning of last year and to ease ourselves back into the blogging groove, we would like to share with you some stats on our blog’s activity in 2012. Here are some interesting facts…

We wrote exactly 100 new blog posts in 2012 and uploaded a whopping 572 images. Our busiest blog day was June 7th, the most popular post that day being the CrazySexyCool Wall Decals give-away. Our blog readers are spread over an impressive 178 countries, and just like last year, the most visitors came from South Africa. The United States & The United Kingdom were not far behind.

The stats indicate that the most popular posts to be…

Decor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency1.  Décor Dictionary: Recycling & Upcycling attempts to define the rather elusive terms, recycling and upcycling – specific to the design industry.

2.  Décor Dictionary: Hollywood Regency Style – we asked Capetonian Interior Decorator, Kim Stephen of In A State Of Luxe to define this trending glamorous décor style for us.A Valentine’s Picnic - without the corny clichés

3.  Consol’s SUPER Solar Jar! inspired us to try our hand at product styling… and boy, what a ball we had doing it!

4.  Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint in which Rose discuss the current trend of painting vintage furniture pieces.

5.  A Valentine’s Picnic… without the corny clichés put new stylish spin on the old romantic picnic idea.

Rose and I also sat down and discussed our personal favourite blog posts of 2012…

Rose said:

“Monday was the first time I switched on my computer since 20th December. It really felt that I had come out on the other side of the Mayan Calendar, almost like Mayan afterlife. Now in the present moment here in the very early stages of 2013, one of the best things I did today was glance back at the blog posts we wrote during 2012. This little exercise also brought home to me some of the business successes that Design Monarchy had in 2012 – big and small. It inspires me into the new year.

Without any further ado, these are the blog articles that stand out for me. I would love to expound the reasons why, but since lethargy still clouds my mind, I just went on my gut feel.

Design Indaba was actually the highlight design activity of last year. It was the first time that I had attended any the conference itself and needless to say, I was blown away. I was inspired to dizzy heights coming out of Design Indaba ‘s talent. That is why I think I was attracted to the article that covered the beautiful Design Indaba ceramic works.

It was via Twitter that I stumbled across graphic designer, Leila Fanner’s work – strangely, since she hardly ever tweets. Since meeting her, we have discovered so much in common and gone onto become friends. Leila is also the graphic designer that is responsible for Design Monarchy’s new look company logo. That new logo was just simply another sign of the maturity that is slowly happening within our company.

2012 also saw the development of the Ask Décor Diva column coming out of design queries from our readers. I loved this, the “feature bathroom” query being one of my highlights! PLEASE, don’t hesitate to let us have as many of your design dilemma queries as possible – the Décor Diva needs to be kept busy.

Marica’s Get The Look article on the Contemporary Lounge so did it for me. She really managed to nail that one.

There was a moment last year where I had that ah-ha! moment coming out of all the blog reading I do. I realised that Tea Towels were just so cool. Marica translated that into a cool post on these nifty décor accessories.”

For my part – like Rose, the Design Indaba was also the most unforgettable event of 2012! Attending the conference and listen to all the local and international speakers was jaw-dropping amazing.

I also had a ball earlier this year when we did a 3-part blog review on the developing trends we observed the previous year. I think trend-watching has become on of my favourite activities!

Another blog post I thoroughly enjoyed was James Russell’s knowledgeable guest post on the History of Toile de Jouy – it gets the award for the most interesting read of 2012!

Getting our hands dirty with our little Consol Solar Jar shoot was also a blog highlight for me. Running around my backyard in the dark was a lot of fun!

Lastly, I also enjoyed putting together the post on using ladders as décor accessories… so much so that my one friend thinks I ladder-obsessed.

So what do you think? What as your favourite posts of 2012?

Thanks for all your wonderful support during 2012 and STAY WITH US, we promise to deliver the goodies.

Is there anything design and décor related you would like to see us writing about – any local person, place, space, query – let us know – WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!

‘I WAS HERE’ Movement

Look around you at this time of the year. Many magazines, blog and whoever, is out there being touched by Spring Fever. What are they talking about – getting rid of your winter blues by de-cluttering and spring-cleaning, with the view of making way for the hot summer days.

When I was writing for the City Mag as their décor editor, it was something that I had to address as well. At first, I was a bit stumped by what to write about, that had not been tackled before. I mean, spring-cleaning is spring-cleaning.

Needless to say, I was happy that it was not an expectation from me this year. However, in the meantime something else along those lines has come across my path. Last weekend Kim Gray posted an article on her blog titled “I WAS HERE”. In it she featured a video clip of a Beyoncé song produced for The United Nations World Humanitarian Day titled “I was here”. I was deeply moved by the words of this song, because it just resonates with all that is within me concerning making my little mark in the world.

To quote Kim: “For years my husband and I have wanted to get involved in some sort of charity work – not quite finding the right thing. It’s been bugging us that we’re not giving back.” Seems she has found a niche now…

In the article she speaks of “editing her wardrobe, make up, perfumes, etc. regularly with a view of donating to the not-so-fortunate peeps beyond her personal borders. I loved that term – editing – probably a far nicer way of saying ‘spring-cleaned or de-cluttered’. She is challenging her readers to do one good deed for someone else and in turn, she will be rewarding some lucky reader with a super doper hamper. Be sure to check it out: here.

The World Humanitarian Day ‘I WAS HERE’ website gives a few helpful examples on what you can do to help.

But in the meantime, instead of writing the proverbial ‘spring-cleaning’ article I have decided that since this type of paying-it-forward and giving to others is something so close to my heart, I would like to add my voice to Kim’s as she pushes forward with her “I WAS HERE MOVEMENT”.

Why not join us. Take the time to go to your wardrobe and dressing table, bathroom cabinet, linen and kitchen cupboard, books, homeware – wherever, whatever. EDIT out what you don’t need any longer, use any longer and all excess goodies. If you are a crafter or work with wool, fabric or any material, you might want to include any excess materials into the ‘editing’ process. I do it often with the fabrics that we have in our office. So many organisations are in desperate need of materials for their crafters.  

Get a nice sturdy box and pop it all in there. Mark it with the name of your favourite charity organisation or local church / mosque (if you don’t have one, now might be a good time to adopt one – take a common one if you must). Call them and I’m pretty sure that they will send someone around to collect your charity box in no time. Those that I have dealt with in the past never cease to surprise me with their willingness to collect. It is so good for your soul and for those to whom you are giving. Besides for the ‘feel good’ energy that you are left with, de-cluttering is also very good Feng Shui.

Cape Talk 567 Radio and LeadSA are other “I WAS HERE” type movements. Let’s join forces with all these folks and make our mark, as small as it may be.

I would love to hear back from you on this score. Tell me what you have done in the past. What you intend doing or are doing right now. Be it the ‘editing’ exercise, giving or simply supporting someone in need in some form or fashion. I know we don’t like to bleat about our own charity drives, but hey it is all about being a community and as such we encourage one another. Please don’t be shy!

HAPPY EDITING PEEPS! Remember, like Nike – “JUST DO IT!” In fact go one better – “Just do it, NOW!

Yours in service of Interiors 🙂