Is There Heart in Your Home?

One of the vloggers I regularly follow starts off a video blog by greeting her audience with this salutation: “Hello all you Shiny Puppies”. I’m thinking – maybe I should also come up with an opening catchphrase for my blog posts. Any suggestions?

I kicked off the year attending a network meeting of note. One of my fellow networkers, Melanie – such a cool gal – was looking at the Home Magazine article of January 2016, in which one of our interior design & decorating projects was featured (this has now become my brag book). Melanie is a Real Estate Consultant and a comment she made is what motivated me to write this article.

Quirky Workspace designed by Design Monarchy
This quirky, creative workspace we designed for our client Mrs Turner was one of our favourite nooks EVER. Many of the elements, including the desk made of an old door and the wall boxes, Design Monarchy designed and had custom made. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

Many homes lack “heart”…

She said that what she loved about the interiors of the featured house was the fact that one could see it was full of “heart”.  She went on to tell me that since she deals with many upmarket houses, she has seen many interiors.  What strikes her is the fact that most of the houses have all the interior finishes you can want for, but no heart. Nothing that particularly warms the cockles of one’s heart. Nothing that stands out as being unique to the occupants of the home. By “interior finishes” she meant that the house has the granite kitchen top, the right tiles, the fairly updated kitchen, good furniture etc, but that is where it ends it seems. Pretty much what fellow blogger, Lelanie Slater, once coined as being a “showroom type interior”.

Quirky mismatched dining chairs
To add a creative and playful touch to the dining area we selected a mismatched mix of chairs. We had some chairs painted and sourced gorgeous fabrics from Skinny laMinx and Design Team for the seats. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

I so get what she is saying. I too have seen so many houses like that. It remains a house that people occupy but not a home. The interior décor lends no expression – no heart or warmth. Nor does it reflect the personality of the folk who live there. Such a great pity, because that is not what a home is meant to be.  We at the Design Monarchy, fulfil the desire of our own hearts, by helping our clients find expression of who they are in their home, in a heartfelt way. We do this by way of their interior decorations!  It is actually a very powerful process and loads of fun.

Does your personality find expression in your home?

I often wonder why it is that so many people are unable to connect with their home as a heart space. Why it is that this disconnect even exists?  It’s almost unthinkable for me in my world. But it is there and I feel I would like to explore this in a few blog posts to come. Why the superficial interior space? I am going to rope Marica in to share her views as well.

Vintage industrial styled entrance foyer
I spent a good hour or more arranging all the décor items and vintage accessories we sourced to create this perfect table vignette. We also used some of our client’s existing pieces, including the table and art, to style this amazing personality-filled space. (As featured in Home Magazine January 2016) Photography: Francois Oberholster | Stylist: Marian van Wyk (for Home Magazine)

Maybe some feedback from our readers can help me here.  Are you able to suggest why so many folk have a heart disconnect to their home interior space? Is it money? Is it fear of finding expression? Can you help me here?

Cheers all – for now.

Décor Diva: Make it RED

It’s strong, it’s vital, it’s bold…

it’s RED

WARNING: This post is a longer read than normal.  If you endure, you may well be entertained and enlightened…

In the last post on colour, we showed you that the Personality ABC tool used by some Life Coaches actually manages to categorise the different personality characteristics into three easy colour references, namely: (please bear in mind that I am describing it in the most basic terms)

RED strong leadership skills, proactive, risk takers, competitive, ambitious, driven, aggressive

YELLOW– warm hearted, friendly, co-operative, team players, sociable, easy going, sensitive

BLUE – Thinkers, contemplative, precise, logical, independent, analytical, systematic etc

Essentially we all display the characteristics of all three colours, but one colour will dominate, with the second colour being less dominant and the third colour just trailing in.

To make it easier to understand: – I am a yellow person, followed by red with blue characteristics being the little sister. (Hey – with my scant understanding, I wondered whether Oprah would be a yellow, red and blue person as well??)

What does that mean – I am a warm, friendly, co-operative person, whose loves playing in a team, capable of being proactive, competitive and ambitious, not given to much analytical thinking.  I certainly do not like reading a manual to find out how to operate my new cell phone.  I am a do-er so let’s get down to the task at hand and if you don’t do it quickly enough, then I will do it for you. I like to lead within my comfort zone. (Such honesty!)

Now Marica on the other hand – she is equal parts blue and yellow (maybe a tiny bit more yellow than blue) and the little sister is red.  She is so given to fiddling when trying to figure out new stuff and coming to terms with the ‘how to’ matters of life. She likes to design something that will show that she has put a great deal of thought into it. Plus she is a really friendly team player, sociable with a wicked sense of humour.  But she is quite happy for me to be the leader of the pack.  So, you can see how we compliment each other’s personalities and skills.

What on earth does this have to do with interiors?  Lots – let’s take a quick look at someone who is dominant in the RED ZONE:


The colour RED speaks of power, authority, boldness, risk taking, passion, excitement, opulence, superiority and of course tradition.  It is stimulating (hence often being associated with dining), it is confident and it reflects prosperity.  Just think of how many strong, famous brands have RED in their brand identity.  Absa Bank, Virgin, Wells Fargo and Revlon to name a few.  When you speak of a Ferrari motor car, what colour comes to mind RED?   The senior priests of the Roman Catholic Church, namely the Cardinals wear RED.  

You can so easily see why that colour relates to the leaders among us.

This Nico van der Meulen Architects interior is an excellent example of a RED personality space. It's big, it's strong, it's filled with texture and statement items.

And when you go into their homes, you will find that the architecture and the interiors will be making those exact same statements.  Please don’t think that you are going to see red walls, carpets and cushions everywhere.  No, instead you will find architectural and interior features that are bold, strong and express authority (even if it is a quiet expression of authority).   These features could be strong linear lines in the architecture, with concrete floors or walls, strong wooden cladding, spacious rooms, with high ceilings, big windows, big or bold, or both kitchen and bathroom designs.  The Interior design will be done in such a way as to command your attention.

The shocking pink table shouts "look at me, look at me!" These bold colours make a definite statement. Image via Living Etc

The soft furnishings could include luxurious fabrics draping the windows, comfortable custom made seating, designer furniture, an art collection, other collectables of note, Persian carpets – modern or traditional.  Everything will be immaculate and the quality the best. Unique items – plenty!

Proof that a RED personality does not equate to a red interior. This bold, lavish blue Todd Romano interior has all the hallmarks of a RED personality. Image via Architectural Digest

These are the types of homes of successful business leaders in SA and globally.  One such a person is Marguerite Macdonald owner of Mavromac Fabrics.  A recent Visi article featuring her home she was quoted as saying:  “I don’t like puny, I like bold.  I don’t like skinny, I like fat”.

Marguerite MacDonald's lofty kitchen & dining area. Image via VISI

Those leaders who have not yet attained the wealth to develop interiors along these lines can also make the statements in their spaces, even if it is only one or two décor elements that speak of your ability to be bold and confident. Take a look around your space and notice how you express your personality.  If you are not doing it, then I would like to suggest that it is time.

A RED personality's home will be bold & lavish no matter what style it's done in. Take this glamorous black & white lounge as an example. Image via New House of Art

That then is a peep into the characteristic of the dominant RED, but remember, it is always brought into balance by either yellow or blue.

More next time!!!

Images via:

Nico van der Meulen: here

VISI: here

Architectural Digest: here

New House of Art: here

Living Etc: here