Notable Quotables: What I Love Most About My Home…


What I Love Most About My Home…

“Our favorite thing about our home is that it is filled with all the things we’ve collected on our adventures!”

Design*Sponge recently featured the quirky and creative Queen Anne Victorian home of touring musicians Darbie Nowatka and Justin Rice. When the duo is not touring with their band Bishop Allen, Justin writes and Darbie works as a graphic designer and makes jewellery and paper goods for her shop, Field Guide Design. Their home in Kingston, New York is filled with art, books, vinyl records, quirky collectables and vintage finds.

In response to the question “What I love most about my home is…” their answer had to be all the cherished curated items that they have collected during their travels (and adventures).

Be sure to pop over to Design*Sponge to check out the tour of the couple’s home. They have the coolest, most creative and enviable attic!

Tell me, what do you love most about your home?


Glass Display Cabinets in the Kitchen

Want to know what we here at Design Monarchy are currently crushing on? We absolutely love the idea of using glass-fronted cabinets or vitrines as additional kitchen storage. While the concept seems rather traditional, these type of cabinets can easily fit into a style of interior – anything from farmhouse to contemporary. As one blogger described it, “they are as versatile as jeans or a white t-shirt”.

A cabinet with glass doors allows for practical storage – you can immediately see what dishes you have without having to root around in the cupboard.

It also allows your dishes to become part of the show – a focal point. So much character is added to a kitchen if your gorgeous collections of china, glassware and vases are in plain view. In fact, with the current trend focus on more individual, lived-in interiors and décor, your crockery doesn’t have to be anything special or expensive. It just has to be you.

So whether they are loose-standing or fitted, that is why we have a big ole furniture crush we on glass-fronted cabinets in kitchens. How about you, do you like the idea too?

Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
I absolutely adore the rustic Scandinavian simplicity of this soft grey kitchen vitrine of Tine Kjeldsen owner of the Danish homeware brand Tine K Home. | Image Source:
Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
Don’t you just love the punch of blue in this beautiful rustic glass fronted cabinet? It looks perfectly at home in this gorgeous Industrial-style home located in Cape Town. | Image via
Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
Blogger & interior stylist, Anna Truelsen, designed this lovely glass door cabinet on castors for her Scandi Country kitchen which her grandfather then made for her. | Image via:
Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
A whole wall of glass cabinets? Yes please! Can you believe this is from IKEA’s kitchen range. I especially love the splashes of warm light emitting from the cabinets! | Image via:
Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
When Lynda Reeves renovated her contemporary country kitchen she incorporated this dreamy full-length glass fronted cabinet to show off her prized crockery. | Image Source:
Glass Kitchen Display Cabinet
Can you say Vintage Farmhouse Chic! What a statement this oversized wooden cabinet makes. | Image via:

Whimsical Nicole Long

We interviewed local freelance graphic designer and illustrator, Nicole Long (aka Striped Flamingo). Her whimsy, vintage, girlie, pastel-coloured illustrations are simply beautiful – it’s right up my street. Don’t be surprised if you find Nicole’s work familiar – she has designed a ton of gorgeous stuff for Mr. Price (lucky Mr. Price)!

Nicole Long - Striped Flamingo

Q:  Tell us a bit about yourself… where you’re from, what you do, any likes / dislikes?

Born in JHB, grown up in Durban. I got my Graphic design degree at Durban University of Technology. I work full time for a Fashion retail store and freelance in my spare time. I love illustration and quirky drawings – my children’s cook book, Little Chef was my stepping stone.

Q:  How did you get into the illustration business? Do you have an art or design background?

I have been drawing and painting since before I can remember and I always knew I’d carry it through in whatever I did.

Q:  Where do you draw inspiration from when designing?

I draw inspiration from everything and anything around me – from food packaging, colours, children,  the outdoors, and even things people say.

Q:  Is there a certain style you admire or aspire to?

I like simple, pretty and hand drawn.

Q:  Could you share your Secret Indulgence with us?

Shopping for my home, furniture and interior design.

Q:   What is your favourite current décor trend?

Aztecs and geometrics in fabrics

Q:  Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

Have my own shop

Holiday in Thailand

Publish more books

Travel Africa

Run comrades

Q:  Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

Pastel colours, they are soft and refreshing and bring me peace.

Q:  What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

A bridal magazine, a fineliner, iPod & a white clock from typo

Q:  Future plans?

A few fabric houses are about to stock my fabrics, I’d like to expand my range and get them into more shops.

{Find more of Nicole’s AWESOME work on her blog: Striped Flamingo, or follow her on Twitter: here.}

The Hot Hot Metal Trend

I can vaguely remember Rose giving me a rather sceptical look late last year when I mentioned metals might be one of the big trends of 2013. I was in the process of putting our 2012 trend report together and had noticed a slight but gradual surge in interiors and products featuring copper, brass, and other metals. Sure enough, the trend stuck and we are liking it more and more!

As we said before, it is not the super shiny, glam, and gaudy metallics of trends past. It is an aged, faded kind of metal trend – no blinding, polished yellow golds, shiny silvers, or cold chromes. Old gold, antiqued silver, weathered nickel, and especially the traditionally “functional” metals, brass and copper, have become hot décor commodities. The metals are also often hammered and brushed or, in the case of copper, left to naturally oxidise – a process that with age adds beautiful character to the metal’s patina.

The warmth and earthy elegance of these metals can so easily be incorporated into any interior style – be it minimalist, industrial, or upmarket chic. There is just something about these rich, warm-hued metals that adds dimension, depth, and a sense of vintage luxe.

Weylandts Pendant Lights

We absolutely love this selection of antiqued brass pendant lights from Weylandts – we have actually purchased a few for one of our clients!


Anatomy DesignJoburg design studio, Anatomy Design, has been working with brass and copper long before the trend’s current revival! You might recognize Anatomy’s stunning brass Lab Light that won the prestigious Most Beautiful Object in South Africa in 2010.

Tonic Design  LIM

We love the elegant play between the natural grain of the wood and the warm metal of these contemporary nested tables by Tonic Design. LIM has recently added a whole range copper furniture pieces including this quirky table lamp that takes full advantage of not only the metal trend but also the industrial & steampunk trends.

{So what do you guys and gals think? Are you also loving the hot metal trend?}

Before & After: Vintage Radiogram

By Jess Binns of Hector & Bailey

It’s with great pleasure to take the reigns on today’s post for the lovely Rose and Marica from The Design Tabloid. I’d love to share with you the latest ‘Found & Fixed’ item, hot off the press from the Hector & Bailey studio. And, exclusively for The Design Tabloid, I’m going to take you step by step through the whole upcycled process.

So get comfy and I shall begin…

Let me introduce you to Maxwell. An abandoned radiogram, stripped of it’s function and in general, looking a bit worse for wear.

      1. First things first, preparation is the key to a successful outcome, that and patience. So to start, remove handle and any other hardware and start sanding. I use a combination of an electric mouse sander and hand sanding. You need to aim to take off all the old varnish in order to reveal the timber is it’s raw form.

      2. Once this messy job is complete, I washed down the radiogram with a sugar soap solution.

      3. Due to this once being a functioning radiogram, there were signs of missing shelves where large recesses sat. I filled all of these areas with wood filler and allowed to dry fully. {click on images to enlarge}

      4. The next step is to mask off all the areas where you don’t want the paint to reach. In this instance, I wanted to retain sections of wood that were just too beautiful to cover up.

      5. Once complete, I then set to work priming the unit. I only work with water-based paints for all of my wooden items, so I use a wonderful primer from B-Earth, which creates a bond and provides excellent adhesion. Being toxic free, the bond has no smell and dries very quickly, best of both worlds!

      6. Now on to the main colour. For Maxwell, I went for a shade of ‘Greige’ (a grey/beige mix!) in a water-based emulsion. First I painted all the fiddly areas with a small paintbrush… {click on images to enlarge}

      7. The large surface areas were painted with a foam roller. I find this leaves a nice, smooth finish, especially if you have time to build the layers up. I mostly average on 3 coats.

      8. To add a bit of interest, I opted for pale cream painted socks, the contrast from the greige and the rich wood works a treat!

      9. Putting the main body to one side to allow the paint to set, I then turned my attention to the handle. Looking a little tarnished, I decided to spray them cream to match the feet. First you need to prime, allow to dry, then spray on the top coat.

      10. For the inside, I wanted to create an impact by using wallpaper. This is a great way to use up any off-cuts you may have.  This is where concentration levels have to be at an all time high! Especially if you want to ensure the pattern matches on both sides. Using wallpaper paste, I attached each section with a careful eye. {click on images to enlarge}

      11. In order to make the most of the radiogram, I decided to utilize the space underneath, so installed a 3mm ply painted base. Before fitting, I staple-gunned fabric to the grill section from behind to provide a splash of colour.

      12. It’s now time to add a back to Maxwell. For this I used 6mm Marine ply with a section cut out to allow access to the low shelf. This was finished in the same colour and panel pinned on.

      13. Almost there, I re-attached the opening mechanism and fitted the newly sprayed handles. the last job is waxing the whole unit with furniture beeswax to create a protective barrier. I prefer using wax over varnish as you can build up layers over time, beeswax is eco friendly and varnish always leaves brush marks.

Please meet the finished article……!

{Maxwell and some other Hector & Bailey upcycled treasures will be showcased and up for purchase at the Joburg Food Wine & Design Fair. Be on the look out for the miss+meisie collab – Jess alongside Wendy of SketchBok/dbn.}

Vintage: The New Second-Hand

It really has been a while since I sat down to nattered about some of my décor quirks. Marica and I do a great deal of discussion around quirky décor topics, trends, matters that are hot and not. Somehow, our little office space is just so conducive to these types of discussion. I should actually get a recording devise of some sorts (could try my smart phone I guess), just to be able to recall some of our comments.  It gets pretty awesome at times.

If I happen to repeat myself here, possibly having sprouted out my opinion around ‘old things’ in the past, please just be kind enough to humour me a tad.

Love this collection of old suitcases from Capetonian décor hire company, My Pretty Vintage.

As you might have guessed, I have been around in this trade for many a year and have been privileged to witness interior design and décor evolve, seen the changes that happen ever so slowly, but ever so surely. In fact, it is quite amazing to watch décor and fashion do the full circle. As a Baby Boomer, I have experienced some seriously evolutionary and sometimes even revolutionary shifts.  My Era has spanned from the advent of Rock ‘n Roll in the 50’s; The Beatles in the 60’s; the Hippies and Flower Power of the early 70’s; the Disco and big hair age of the 80’s; The Naughty 90’s right across into the current 20 – something era. Seen it all – been there, done it, got the T-Shirt and tossed it!

Some retro kitchenalia from

Until recently, anything that belonged to the previous decade and had been outgrown – be it jewellery, art and prints, furniture, lighting, ‘ornaments’ (as we called it, but otherwise known as accessories today), kitchenware, etc. – was known as ‘second-hand’. Any of the mentioned ‘old fashioned’ articles / items that had outlived their usefulness, were only good enough to make their way to the shelves of the ‘Second-hand Dealer Shoppe’. And the really-not-cool-at- all stuff was regarded as trash, winding its way to either the church or local school to be sold at the next fund raising fete. Those notorious ‘white elephant’ stalls.

Some random bargain second-hand goodies from The Milnerton Flea Market.

However, I am now in a place where fashion and décor is completing its circle and all things past are now the present trend again. How about that hey! Somehow I did not suspect that this would happen to me. This resurgence of all things past (50s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s 90’s) did not find me very comfortable with having to be faced with the stuff that I grew up with. Why would mom’s old-fashioned lounge furniture and ‘kitchenalia’ be popular again?

“Whatnot and China Town” in Kalk Bay is a vintage treasure trove! Photo: Coda via Flickr

But for many reasons, second-hand has come of age, earning the respected title or label of ‘Vintage’.  Which we have to admit is a much kinder term. The current decade sees the Old Junk Shop in Woodstock Main Road (Cape Town for the out-of-towners) now happily calling itself ‘Woodstock Vintage’ and doing a very healthy trade. Largely due to the fact that an appreciation for all things that have a history continues to gain popularity, with demand on the increase. Now second-hand is no longer anathema, but a trend. There have always been decorators, dealers and people who know the value in something second-hand, but until now it was never a trend.

Despite the fact that there was a definite resistance to seeing my parents ‘stuff’ make headlines again, the appreciate and fascination of all places, spaces and things historical has pulsed through my veins for as long as I can remember. I too have had to re-visit and change my attitude of second-hand goods, to appreciate the vintage qualities in them.

Denise Kiggan of Freshly Found loves her old scales. The one on the right is a heirloom.

In closing let me tell you a story recently told to me by the owner of ‘Woodstock Vintage’. While weaving through a maze of shelves, groaning under the weight of all his ‘vintage-ware’ I asked him how he unearthed all his stock. Apparently, it all started when he took occupation of a new home.  There was a store room filled to capacity with the previous owner’s unclaimed ‘junk’.  When after a few weeks he needed to clear out that store room, he decided on a pavement sale. To his amazement, the junk flew off the tables. This naturally led to another pavement sale and things just grew from there. In his words: “I never knew there was so much money to be made from selling junk (uhhmm… correction… Vintage / Treasures) – particularly now!

Second-hand never looked so good. Having come to terms with this trend now, I conclude by saying: Viva Vintage Trend, Viva – long may it last!

Yours in service of interiors 🙂

[Images sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]