Vintage-Inspired Treasures

By Marica

Look, look, look what I found! Revel in the complete awesomeness that is Mitat – a local Cape Townian creative duo. They have a collection of gorgeous vintage-inspired products – all beautifully designed and screen-printed by hand. I should really try and get a hold of these talented ladies so we can do a decent interview and post about them! Feel free to drool over these cushions for 15 minutes… that’s what I plan to do!

Images via Mitat

2011 Trend Watching – Part One

By Marica

Rose and I regularly have awesome (and sometimes quite extensive) discussions about design and decor trends. Now, while we are in the process of review and reflection, and before the 2012 trend reports start flooding in we would like to take a look at some of the trends we observed in 2011.

We are by no means Li Edelkoort, but if you watch the blogs and image sharing websites long enough it is quite easy to recognize popular content and before you know it a definite trend pattern emerges. So without further ado, here are our favourite observed trends of the past year…

Nostalgia:

  

The primary trend that explains the popularity of most of the subsequent trends (some of which we are discussing below) is aptly labelled Nostalgia. Rose had the following to say about the rise of Nostalgia:

“Despite the fact that there is never a time when change is not happening on a global scale, the uncertainty of the current times in terms of climate change, economies, etc, has been and is very real to us. Experts have shown that when there is a prevailing sense of threat and insecurity, the over-riding trend towards nostalgia and all things from the past, become evident.

That is exactly what our current Nostalgic trend is all about. We have reached into a time past, back into eras that speak the fundamentals of our value systems, with the hope of finding stability in our roots. Nostalgia is all about being “homesick”, yearning and idealizing the past, while fondly recalling memories of times that seem to us much better than that which is our immediate experience.

So, it comes as no surprise, that as the Nostalgic trend stands on the shoulders of the Past, it has gained huge momentum in all walks of life. We draw our inspiration from décor of eras past, motivated in an almost “pick-me-up” fashion for the strength to push on as those from that past era must have done. Despite the fact that Nostalgic styled décor & accessories have been given a fresh and contemporary twist, in a very real sense it is creating a sense of “time standing still” or timelessness.

  

The Nostalgic vein runs though most of popular trend of the past year – think Vintage, Shabby Chic, Retro & Mid-Century Modern, Rustic Scandinavian, Contemporary Country, and even the glamorous Hollywood Regency, the list goes on. All of these contain tributes to the past, little collections of bygone eras.

As we sat down to review the trends and styles of the past year, it is evident that Nostalgia is the TREND, into which ever expanding styles from the “Golden Ages” of past eras have come to find home.

I am very grateful for the rise of this Nostalgic Trend, as it is a very necessary phase, a breathing space in which to appreciate the past, in order to continue moving forward.”

Handmade Revolution:

 

A lot of emphasis has been placed on craft this past year – this Handmade trend is definite secondary arm to the primary Nostalgic trend. Who would have thought that crafts like crocheting, knitting, quilting and other general DIY decor projects & products would become so overwhelmingly fashionable? Is it a protest against consumerism or an attempt to save some moola?  I don’t know, maybe it’s the emotion behind Handmade that makes it so popular – it’s personal, it’s sentimental, it’s my own…it’s perfectly imperfect.

REcycled / UPcycled:

  

It makes me happy to see that decor & design trends have, in some small way, taken a cue from our planet’s environmental crisis and adopted a waste not want not approach. We have seen some excellent examples of innovative use of old, discarded trash transformed into beautiful pieces of design. Also, slotting in with the Nostalgic and Handmade trends, a lot of Upcycled designs – like the painted vintage furniture trend or converting an old suitcase into a chair or a rusted cheese grater into a lamp, etc. It’s all about being eco-aware – REclaim, REpurpose, REcycle. This trend is far from dead.

Mid-Century Modern:

Eames Lounge Chair

Seen as one of the most influential and significant design movements, the Mid-Century Modern style is synonymous with furniture design greats like Charles and Ray EamesArne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen (to name but a tiny few). The Mid-Century style can also be linked to Scandinavian Design, as they had a significant influence on each other. The use of Mid-Century Modern furniture and elements in interiors and decor has always been an admired choice between decorators, designers and architects alike. However, the Nostalgic trend of the past couple of years has boosted this classic vintage style back into mainstream popularity. It is said that Mid-Century Modern is the perfect balance between function and aesthetic. And I don’t know about you, but I sure want to own an Eames chair….

Industrial:

  

This funky style has made a smashing comeback in the past couple of years can also be tied to the Nostalgic and Mid-Century Modern trends. The core of Industrial Style is to expose elements that are usually hidden – brickwork, exposed I-beams, unfinished wood and all the nuts, bolts and mechanisms that we generally hide.

Nautical:

  

The Nautical interior & decor style spilled over from the recent nautical fashion trend. Bold stripes in shades of blues and splashes of reds and oranges, rustic and distressed timbers, and ocean-inspired baubles make for a perfect sailor’s sanctuary. Rehashed this cool and fresh style is often paired with Industrial and Mid-Century Modern elements.

Stick around for Part 2 of our 2011 Trends report where we discuss the past year’s colour and pattern trends…

So, what trends patterns did you notice in 2011? We would love to hear about your favourites!

Images sourced: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


Décor Diva: To Paint Or Not To Paint

By now, for those of you who have not yet met me in person, or who don’t know me on a more personal basis, would have gathered that I am not in the thirty-something or even forty-something age bracket.  This means that I have seen trends come and go, and come again.

To Paint or Not To Paint?

One such a trend is the Vintage Revival and more particularly the painting of furniture pieces – the furniture from the 50’s and 60’s era.  (Frankly, I was surprised to find so much of it hanging around still).   This is stuff that my I grew up with – so what is it doing back here again? The truth be known, I just simply did not appreciate the style when growing up.

Revived & modernised – and it only took a lick of yellow paint! These bold beauties are from Vamp Furniture.

However, the beauty of the revival of vintage is that I am able to see it with new eyes and the application of paint is giving it a new look as well.

Isn’t this AMAZING?! Sacha, the talented lady behind “Once Upon A Time” is one of my local upcycling heroes! She transformed this boring piece into an awesome “scrabble” desk!

I have a few pieces that I have inherited and suddenly the ball-and-claw coffee table and chairs, which I thought was too awful and could not wait to get rid of, have become meaningful again.  This together with my mom-in-law’s old 50’s radiogram cabinet as well as the 2 Queen Anne high back chairs – plenty of potentials.

Some more Vamp awesomeness. LOVE the blue!

But do I paint them or not?  I am a whole lot slower in applying paint to furniture, only due to the fact that many years ago, we used to discover the most amazing piece of wooden furniture hidden under layers of paint.  And the declaration of the time was: “how could they do this to a beautiful piece of furniture.  We thought they were all “Eijeets” (idiots pronounced EEGGIITTS – by the Irish).

This Canadian chick from “4 Men 1 Lady” seriously knows her stuff – her furniture transformations are stunning!

So, I have decided to apply a standard against which to judge whether to paint a piece of furniture or not.  I take a long hard look at the quality of the wood and the finish.  If the condition is still good, showing natural movement & texture in the wood – NO PAINT (like my little ball-and-claw table).  BUT, if the wood has no particular value or happens to be non-descript and just generally in bad shape, then PAINT IT.

Another talented local company, Restore, works their magic on vintage & mid-century furniture.

I doubt you will find me painting Yellow Wood or good Mahogany grain.  At times, I am even hesitant to tackle an Oregon Pine piece.  I realise that I am somewhat of a purist.  But by contrast, something like the Radio Cabinet – it is coated with layers of furniture polish which has made it particularly ugly to appreciate – being painted will grace it with a new lease of life.

More Vamp goodness.

Vamp Furniture is a shop that I have noticed exercises discretion as to what to paint and what to keep in its natural state.  Let’s follow the trend with discretion – evaluate what to paint and what not to paint. We don’t want to be the Eijeets of the future.

Check out these painted furniture heroes:

Vamp Furniture: website

Restore: website

Once Upon A Time: website

4 Men 1 Lady: website

Dear Me…

By Marica

Rose and I recently had a “town day” – a tradition we instituted after our move from our beloved little Victorian office in Kloof Nek to our current studio in Edgemead. We use our town day to soak up some of the City Bowl-inspiration & zing and to have a good scratch around Town for new or hidden treasures. We found one such treasure tucked away in an inconspicuous part of Longmarket Street.

Dear Me is a new brasserie & bar that opened earlier this year in a stunning 181 year-old, three storey building. Architect & urban designer Mario Bonadei undertook the massive task of restoring the geriatric building. It must have been no easy feat renovating the building to former glory whilst making allowance for the integration of the funky contemporary interiors designed by Francois du Plessis.

The trendy brasserie & deli occupies the ground floor. The predominantly white & gray interior with just a touch of fresh green and some natural timbers here and there compliment the exposed masonry of the existing building beautifully. I love the slightly industrial-looking glass pendant lights over the deli counter and the beautiful green honeycomb-like wine racks under the staircase.

Another quirky little feature is the various potted plants hanging upside down from the ceiling (wonder who waters it every week?) The quirky wall and mirror designs were designed by illustrator Daniel Ting Chong – quite playful.

Rose immediately recognised the beautiful crate-like (and slightly Provencial) storage & display unit as the fine craftsmanship of our friends at Moorgas & Sons.

 

The first floor is mainly used for functions. Open to the staircase is a funky little interlude lounge with quirky retro furniture and decor and a beautiful private dining area containing the “Chef’s Table” which hosts the Thursday evening food and wine pairing.

The private function room offers a blank canvas with its pure white walls and floors and the beautiful crystal chandeliers add just a touch of glamour and elegance.

The top floor contains the striking rooftop bar, Tjing-Tjing, that opens up to a lovely rooftop balcony (perfect for warm summer nights). The dominant feature of this intimate loft space is the beautiful existing timber roof beams, a rustic contrast against the bold & glossy blood-red bar with its gorgeous Tom Dixon brass pendant lights.

Another beautiful element is the black & white photo-collage wallpapered wall with the crochet-patterned mandala-like feature.

Even though this Tjing-Tjing is said to be Chinese-inspired it reminds me somewhat of a Russian tearoom – it must be the brilliant red bar counter and shiny faux leathers (maybe it’s a little of both like Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl).

Chef Vanessa Marx makes delicious unpretentious food and the menu is changed daily. They have recieved glowing reviews so far….well worth a visit.

What an awesome find – Rose, I think we should have town days more often…

Images courtesy of Dear Me (thanks Ilse & Liza)

Dear Me:
165 Longmarket Street
Cape Town
Tel no: 021 422 4920
Fax no: 021 422 4815
info@dearme.co.za
 
 
 

Thistle Cottage – Up-cycled Treasure Trove

Many years ago a very good friend of mine, Margot Ammerman, took the bold step of buying a quaint cottage along Belvedere Road to convert into a shop for her abundance of furniture and objects d’art – a right treasure trove.

Today we classify her style of shop as nostalgic, vintage with up-cycled furniture.  It seems as if Margot was really ahead of her time OR she has been found doing the right thing at the right time – up grading furniture and accessories from the past to that place of being something trendy we just need to have.

She trawls the auctions and other hidden places gathering her wares.  Then takes them to her workshop at the back of Thistle Cottage, where she applies her magic in paint techniques to transform the each piece of furniture to something shabby chic (poor husband has also been found with paint dripping from his hair as well).  In fact, Thistle Cottage has many services to offer, including upgrading your ole stuff.

There are plenty of décor accessories to be had as well for any room in the house. When I go to Thistle Cottage, I have to give myself plenty of time there, just to be able to take in everything.  I am one of those people who get great pleasure from just shopping with my eyes.

So, when you are next going along Belvedere Road look out for the quaint cottage, painted dark grey, with swing plate announcing Thistle Cottage.  One of the latest members of staff there is little Ruby Grace – Margot’s totally charming and beautiful baby girl.

80 Belvedere Road
Claremont
Cape Town
Tel: 021 683 0060

New Vintage

By Marica

You may recall the Cara Saven‘s beautiful Aqua Floral photographic series we featured on The Tabloid a few months back, well the wonderfully talented lady has done it again…

We were quite excited when Cara mailed us her latest series aptly named “Vintage”. The image range consist of various funky vintage & retro objects – my favourite is the old squash rackets. Cara has once again managed to produce something exceptionally beautiful and in keep with the nostalgia, vintage and up-cycling trend that is currently doing the rounds. Brava Cara!

Here is a quick preview of the series, for the whole range please check out Cara’s website: here.