Category Archives: Interiors

My dream living room is a quirky one

I never thought of myself as quirky, but as I have grown as a Designer, I find myself more and more drawn to the unusual.

General Geography Lamp

One of my designs – a desk lamp made out of a used book-end (Lilly Loompa)

So much so, that I am trying to break away from the traditional in so many areas of my life. Some may think I am a rebel, but maybe I just don’t like the conventional. Conventional is boring!

My most recent stint to fuel my hunger for the off-beat, is my home. My family and I live in a shipping container, called “House Madeline“.

It is far from complete, but it is a labour of love. We have been living in this home for close to 2 years and have recently shipped it to our home province, the Western Cape, where we live in it now.

As mentioned, it is far from complete. We have big plans to make it a comfortable, yet stylish home with personality! (maybe my personality…don’t tell my husband!)

Another design inspired by the environment I find myself in…Jozi Art (Lilly Loompa)

I want our house to reflect our true style and personality. I want it to be filled with items that make me happy and pieces that tell a story…just like my furniture pieces. So I have some ideas of what our living room should look like:

Crushing on Marissa Tomei’s apartment

I love Marissa Tomei’s style (not to mention that she is my hubby’s TV crush!). I really like the animal-skin tripod chair and the lamp, they add a uniqueness to her apartment.

I love retro furniture, especially this couch!

Again, above the natural elements speak to me! The nguni skin rug and the leather couch make the space feel warm and inviting.

The artwork is unique but unified by framing it all in black

Light and airy spaces are essential for me.

Patterns, texture and plants are also non-negotiable!

I have recently seen a beautiful couch on Arhaus. I have decided to build a mood board around it:

Neutral colours for the base furnishings

 

Continuation with neutral colours and pops of turquiose

Colourful accents

Obviously these are ideas of what I would want to see in our living room. As a Eco-Designer, I have to stay true to my values and principles by re-using and buying green products. But I will use this as my guide for inspiration.

Have you designed your dream space? Are you living in it right now? Would love to hear from you! 🙂

Sources: Lilly Loompa, Arhaus, Nkuli Mlangeni, Marisa Tomei 

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Clever decorating tricks: Creating areas of interest

Every home should inspire.  After all it is where we wake up in the morning, and recline to at night.

A house becomes a home once you start living in it.  Your house can either fill you with joy or make you depressed.  Bare walls and empty rooms can cast down your demeanor, whereas cheerful, decorated rooms can fill your spirit with peace and joy!

Walking through your house should make you feel happy!

Easy ways to create a happy room is to paint the walls and put up pictures.  Also put personal memorabilia on display and create little reading nooks.

Below are some inspirational pictures of interesting areas created by home-owners.

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Now, creating these corners does not have to cost a fortune.  A little imagination and creativity goes a long way.

Here are examples of how I created interesting, inexpensive little corners in my home.

Kitchen wall

Kitchen wall

Read DIY post here.

Reception room and leading to dining area

Reception room and leading to dining area

Read about how to make the funky dining table.

Travel

Travel

Read DIY post for this cool lampshade:

Reading nook in lounge area

Reading nook in lounge area

Read DIY post for this funky lampshade:

Wall of hearts

Wall of hearts

There you go.  Prove that it style does not have to cost you a lot!  Send me some of your inspirational areas in your home!

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Clever decorating tricks: Using mirrors

Mirror ~ {Polished surface that forms images by reflecting light}

Every home needs a mirror…primarily for personal grooming and admiring oneself.  Then, secondary we use mirrors for architecture, decoration and design.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with mirrors…they can either make you feel good, or you might hate the sight its reflecting!  They almost mimic the character of a best friend…and they tell the truth without saying a word!

However mirrors are a vital part of Interior Design and Decorating.  It can transform a space from drab and dreary to fabulous!  They can do wonders—from illuminating dark corners to adding elegance and drama to an area, to creating the illusion of space. They can even serve as works of art.  Here are some pics of clever use of mirrors.

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Venetian style mirror above bath

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Playful, yet elegant mirrors as headboard

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Small square mirrors joined to form one big unit

Whilst studying, my final assignment was also my very first Interior project.  It was a newly-build house and the clients wanted a warm, cozy living room.

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Before

The one side of the room had some dark corners that needed some light.

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My solution: Add some mirrors on the opposite wall!

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I installed two mirrors on each side of the folding, sliding door which reflected light back to the dark corners

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This illuminated the whole room.

The mirrors reflected light in the direction I wanted.

The mirrors reflected light in the direction I wanted.

I’m very proud to say that the decision to install the mirrors landed me full marks in this assignment!

Suffice to say…you can never have to many mirrors in your home.  If they are carefully and tastefully placed, they can take totally change the feel of a room, and take your decor to another level!

Have you used mirrors in any clever way before…share!

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For the love of Harties

I have been hiding from Cyberspace and the blogging world for a few weeks now.

* been extremely busy…not intentional, I promise.

An immense workload have been consuming my time.  So much so that my body signaled me to take a break today.  Sometimes we need to listen to our bodies.

Anyway, in short I am project managing a new build in another province, in the holiday town of Hartbeespoortdam or Harties (pronounced ~ har-tees).

A few months ago…

Now…

We’re about 75% done and I have literally a few days to hand-over!  When I am not on site managing the work, I am on the road sourcing products.  My best friends are my cellphone hands-free kit and my diary! *I so need an iPad!

The pressure is on!

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At last it is done!

My favourite kitchen is at last done! Well it is actually not mine…

Today we had to rip up this perfect kitchen to fix our “little” problem!

The guys removing the granite tops

Everything went really well…and what we thought would be a 2-day job was completed today! Praise be to God!

The appliances now fit!

All done and the client is extremely happy! I couldn’t be happier too! 🙂

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Another gorgeous kitchen on the way!

We are in the midst of creating yet another gorgeous kitchen. I am really beginning to love doing kitchens!

The clients are young and hip, but love classic design.  I suggested earthy tones and cool shades. I suggested the following design to the client and she immediately loved it!

Classic yet chic!

This is the old kitchen before we started demolishing:

We started off by demolishing the kitchen. The old cupboards, tiles, everything had to go.

After that, we laid the floor.  I suggested the following sample for vinyl flooring:

The client chose a similiar colour and design but in porcelain.

Then we installed the kitchen structure:

As with all projects, there are always challenges.  At the moment the project is on hold after we a realised the granite we chose and the slabs that were delivered today does not look at all the same!! Eish! (aysh) – a very popular saying in South Africa used to express surprise, wonder, frustration or outrage.

As you know, granite is extremely expensive and this colour is totally different to the sample we chose!
If you’re able to distinguish, the bottom square is the sample we chose.  It is called Ghibli.  It is very neutral and has a light brown tone.  The actual slab has a definite red tone that will definitely spoil the original design.
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So tomorrow the client and I are heading to the manufacturer to try and sort this mess.  I am very hopeful that we will be able to.  Until then, all is again on hold.
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Otherwise I am very excited about this kitchen…will keep you updated!
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Bathroom bliss!

These are the words my client used when she thanked me for a job well-done!  That is music to the ears of an Interior Decorator. That makes all the blood, sweat and work worthwhile!

The challenge was huge…to re-do a teeny, weeny, outdated bathroom.  These are the before pictures:

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Inspiration for bathroom

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The idea was to create the illusion of space by installing reflective surfaces like glass, brushed steel and mirror.  Because the space also has a small window, it created a mould problem.  So Ashley and his team gutted the place and started the work:

The guys at work

The project took a little longer than expected (due to various reasons), but alas we are done!

Brushed steel light fixture

Fresh paint

 We installed an extractor fan to eliminate the mould problem.

New bath

We took out the outdated shower frame and installed a glass screen on a swivel.  We also moved the taps and mixers for the bath to the opposite side of the shower.

Swivel bath screen

Suspended vanity & basin

The once dark, mouldy bathroom now feels airy and light.  The clients are happy which in turn make me happy!  We stayed within budget and for a relatively small amount of Rand we managed to add a lot of value to the property.

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Things I love…

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This is the inspiration palette for my latest project.  The client stays in the Lowveld, Mpumalanga where the temperatures soar.  The idea is to create a cool, tranquil atmosphere throughout the house.  

Watch this space as the project unfolds…

 

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Growing on the walls…

I mentioned in our bedroom makeover before that some of the walls still needed art.  Read about it here.  So this space has been like this for ages while I decide what to do with it.

Empty wall space

So I recently came across an interesting recycling project on the Internet that totally excites me!  I love re-using and recycling so this project is right up my alley!  Check out this great wall art:

Recycled toilet roll tubes into wall art

This comes courtesy of http://noisypitta.blogspot.com.  It is gorgeous and brilliant!  I have been saving all of our toilet tubes for weeks and I can’t wait to start on this project.

Here follows the step by step instructions: (I saved these pics from the web last year and for some reason I cannot trace it back to the source. Unfortunately I cannot give credit now as I do not know who owns it.)

  1. First collect all the toilet roll tubes

Toilet roll tubes

2. Flatten the tubes and measure 1cm spaces in between.

Measure and draw lines

3. Cut the strips with scissors

Cut the strips

4. Glue the pieces together in the pattern you like and keep them together with paper clips or pegs while they dry.

Glue strips together

5. Spray paint them in the colour you prefer.  Be sure to do this in a ventilated area.

Spray paint the unit in the colour you prefer

6. If you have a mirror you want to incorporate in the design, spray it the same colour.

Completed recycled art

I have inserted the picture in our bedroom shot to envisage how it would look:

Vision for bedroom wall

I think ours will be slightly different as I want to let it branch over from the corner to the other wall.  I also want to paint the wall a different colour and maybe paint ours white.  I am also still deciding whether I should use a mirror.  You know by now I don’t like spending a lot of money on projects like this.  So I will scour around the site to see what I can find.

I am super-charged for this project and itching to get started.  However it has to wait for a while we host my parents who are visiting from Paarl.  It is so nice to have them here.  The kids are really enjoying having Ma and Pa over.  Ashley and I already made use of our ‘babysitters’ and went to see the new movie: ‘Ek joke net’, last night.  Great for laughs, and proud to see our friend, Solomon Cupido in his 2nd movie for the year!  (Also see him in ‘Superhelde’ that was released in April 2011)

I will post the progress of this project as soon as I can!  Hope this inspires you to start your own!  Please comment and send me your pics…would love to see them!

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What is your intention exactly?

Meaning, how do you re-purpose or re-use?  This question drives me daily.  As you might know by know…I am huge on recycling as you can read right here.

Here are a few small projects I have been busy with this last few months:

Let’s start in the bathroom.  I worked on an event project last year and my boss was clearing out her garage.  Being a natural scavenger, I left with a few ‘goodies’.  This included a bag of empty CD & DVD holders and an old dog kennel.  Yes, I loaded an old rotten kennel in the car.

Normally these ‘finds’ would lie and wait till one day I get a light bulb moment as to how to use it.  So later I got inspired by this picture I saw on the Internet:

Inspiration

I made my own version of it in the bathroom.  It is still in progress as I plan to expand it to fill the whole wall.

CD holder art

Then we also needed a duck board in the bathroom.  I wanted a nice rustic look and decided that the weathered wood from the rotten kennel would be perfect.  I would use those pieces that were still in a better condition.  This project took me about 2 hours  and saved me buying one.

Duck board

Also the girls’ room needed a light fixture.

Need some TLC

When we visited Harties earlier this year, I picked up this box with Styrofoam-like stuff at the mall.

Protective plastic for bottles

I had this drum-light but it needed some spunk.  I loved the organic look of the foam.  So I slowly fixed it to the drum with a hot-glue gun.  Hot, sticky stuff for sure.  I still have a few blisters as a result.

Busy me

This is the end result:

Recycled drum light

I am still working on the design of the girls’ room as mentioned here.  So the light might change, but I like it for now.

Food for Thought:

The average person generates about 2.04 kilograms of rubbish every day – about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Although it is estimated that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled.

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Being a cheapie pays off!

I am an recycling junkie.  I also love spending little to get maximum results.  I guess that makes me a stingy, recycling Interior Decorator?

People always ask me how I do it.  Thus I have decided to give you a practical example of how a space can be transformed on a minimum budget.

This is our dining room…

Dining room

Now this is how it looked a few weeks ago…

Dining room before

Now here is a breakdown of how I personalised the space in a few weeks time:

  • First we cleared the room.  Then we painted it with paint found on site.
  • Then we cleaned the gunk of the floors.
  • We brought in the table we also salvaged from the site.  The chairs are ours but it was an olive green colour.
  • We painted the table and chairs a crisp white colour
  • I decorated the space with items I found in and around the house

Salvaged dining table

Green chairs before

Here is a breakdown of the items in the room so you can get an idea.

Dining room breakdown

  1. This lampshade is one of my own designs.  I made it from a old bamboo blind. The stand I bought at a factory store years ago for R120,00.
  2. The glass jar I picked up for R5,00 at a Boere-basaar when we stayed in Philadelphia a few years ago.  We now live on a grassland, so the grass I picked outside.
  3. The artwork of the Cross I painted myself in 2008.
  4. Ashley loves red.  He picked up the red Chalice glasses at R15,00 each a few years ago.
  5. The cutie-pie teacups and saucers are an heirloom from my Granny who stays in Cape Town.  She is 97 years old and still going strong!
  6. Our friends Frank and Jo-Anne brought the coconut from Mozambique earlier this year.
  7. I bought the grass place mats in Jeffreysbay in 2007 at R20,00 for the set of 6.
  8. The table we salvaged and painted ourselves.  The paint cost R110.00
  9. The white dinner set was a gift from my mom on my 29th birthday.  Over the years I have added to it.  That’s the advantage of having a white set.
  10. The chairs we bought at Weylandts annual warehouse sale in 2008 at R 99.00 a piece.
  11. The “Holy Spirit” branch I picked up while taking a stroll with the kids last year. A friend made a remark the first time he saw it and said it reminded him of the Holy Spirit hovering over us.

So if you add the totals we spent R 600,00 over a period of 4 years.  Take into account that most of the stuff I bought before we moved here. This brings the total of the project down to R110,00 for the paint we used for the table and chairs.  This is proof that with little money, creativity and time you can transform your place into a beautiful space that you love coming home to!

PS: I guess you saw the shortage of Cornishes and Skirtings.  We also need proper lighting. We are working on it, will keep you updated.

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Overhauling

” Perfection is attained by slow degrees, it requires the hand of time.”-Voltaire

Like some of you might know, a renovation can either make or break you.  So far, I am standing.  Or should I say WE are.

Everyday is an adventure.  I have always been a DIY girl.  I just adore drills, and power tools.  So chopping and changing comes naturally.  I am so fanatic about finishing and perfection, it can sometimes drive me mad.  Many times I find myself laying awake at 03h00 in the morning mulling about what colour I should paint the wall in the bedroom or how I can fix the squeaking door in the kitchen!

We have been overhauling on a zero budget for the last few weeks. This drives me to always think out of the box.  So with little (or sometimes no) money, here is a summary in pics of what we have been up to the past 9 weeks:

Bathroom

Before

After

Main Bedroom

Before

After

Kitchen

Before

After

Before

After

Dining Room

Before

 

After

Before

After

That makes me smile.  Alas! We are not done yet.  I think it will always be a work in progress.  The brain of a creative is never satisfied, ask me!

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Bedroom bliss

So last week I updated you on the progress of our kitchen.  Now let’s move over to the main bedroom.

It was filled with office articles…

Bedroom full of office furniture

We started clearing it…

Almost clear

lifted the carpets and made a wonderful discovery!

Cleared bedroom

The floors were parquet and still totally in tact!

Parquet floor

I was elated!  But, my excitement was short-lived as it turned out to be a nightmare to clear up the mess left by the blue carpet.

Trying to clean-up

I tried to use paint/glue stripper but it quickly became a sticky situation. Then I opted for the planing machine, but that didn’t help much either. So I had to come up with an interim solution.  But first we had to paint the room.

We had loads of tins of paint that we found on site.  These were some of the colours we had.

Paint colours

So I chose a green colour as well as gray to make a feature wall behind the bed.  I wanted to keep it simple and aesthetically pleasing.

Painting main bedroom

So this is what I did.

Paint effect on wall

I painted the bottom half in a grayish tone.  Sorry, the paint tins didn’t have proper labels so not sure what the true name is of the colour, but it is a Plascon product.  Then I made a white strip level with the door-frame.  So it looked like this when done…

White stripe on wall

Back to the floor dilemma.  We still had a piece of carpet left from our previous casa but it was way to small to fill the room.  We also had to find a solution for both our room and the girls’ as well.  On one of my trips to our “stockroom” and found a roll of raffia.  So I cut the carpet in half and put the carpet center and the raffia around the borders.

Temporary flooring solution

Raffia carpet

I was actually pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  It’s nothing fancy but it managed to create a feeling of being on holiday.  It conjured up some memories of being at the beach on a nice sunny day.  Which was really welcome considering we haven’t been on a holiday for so long.

Oh, where is my head?  I forgot to mention what my inspiration was.  Check the header on my blog.  I love the tranquil colours and the mood it creates.

Inspiration

I also added a dark brown floating shelf above the bed which I painted in a lighter gray colour.

Painting floating shelf

So with some accessories and artwork this is what the room looks like now…

Main bedroom at night

It is not complete yet.

I would like to replace the curtains which I bought more than 8 years ago!  I know that’s quite shocking considering my trade is interior decorating!  Anyway, I will hopefully update them soon.  Here is a picture from another angle.

Another angle

Oh, and if you are really attentive, you would have noticed that the door is suddenly another colour!  About 2 weeks ago I asked Chris, our helper, to paint the outside of the door facing to the hallway in that colour.  Turns out he misunderstood me and painted the whole door!  I was absolutely horrified.  At one stage I actually almost started hyperventilating!  Are you crazy you might ask?  Just over a stupid door?  The door was meant to be part of the wall’s design. To top it all, I don’t have any more of that paint left as they were two tins that we mixed.

You tell me which of the two looks better.

Gray wall and door

I am not over it yet…I have just put it on my to-do list.  I am sure eventually I will figure out something.

See another shot of the room from a different angle.

Dressing-room door

Once again, not complete yet.  There is some dead space I need to fill with either artwork or a mirror as indicated below…

Needs artwork

So that is the bedroom as it stands now.

On average, we need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night in order to stay healthy and functional. This means, like it or not, we could be spending up to one-third of our lives in our bedrooms. Yet often we neglect this space and the potential it has to affect our well-being.

Improving the ambience in your bedroom could benefit your health (through leading to sounder, more refreshing sleep), your peace of mind (by providing a space for recuperation and tranquility), or both.

I absolutely love our bedroom.  It is spacious and tranquil and with a few changes here and there, I am sure will bring me much joy and rest in the future.

A little revealing…

I have been meaning to show you some of the progress we have made during the renovations, but haven’t come round to it yet!  So here goes!

We will start with the kitchen.  Whoa, what a mess it was!  Let me refresh your memory…

Messy kitchen

Unsightly tiles

No order!

It was smelly, dirty and had no order!  The house is built quite skew as mentioned before, so nothing seemed level.  Anyway we started clearing and ended up with this…

Cleared kitchen with industrial fridge

We chucked everything but I just had to keep this industrial stainless steel fridge!  It’s not in working order but makes a great work-top and is hygienic as well.

Kitchen sink before

It already looked much better, although it needed major TLC!  At first we totally overwhelmed by the project and we had a few setbacks. Our dear friend, Edwellan’s bakkie was stolen along with the power tools and equipment we needed.  But we stood strong and were determined to get the house livable within 14 days.

Then came the chaos…

I am armed and dangerous!

I hated the back splash tiles and it just had to go!

Kitchen mayhem

We totally went mad.  Statistics say a kitchen and bathroom is the worst and most expensive rooms to renovate and I totally agree! Here is a list of things we had done:

  1. The unsightly tiles were ripped off.  We replaced it with wood panels.  We still need to sort the back-splash at the kitchen sink.
  2. We took the oven out of the rotten cupboard and placed it in our newly recycled office credenza’s.
  3. I wanted an eye-level oven, so we moved the oven in the corner and put the stove plates on the right.  It just made more sense that way.
  4. We used some old garden trellises and made kitchen cupboard doors for under the kitchen sink.
  5. The wall that separated the kitchen and dining area was leveled.  We painted it a grayish colour.
  6. The walls were painted white.
  7. I took a bookshelf, whitewashed it and hung it above the industrial fridge.
  8. I painted the bamboo blinds white.

The kitchen is far from complete but here is a look at it now…

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Kitchen sink and cupboards after

As said, we are far from completion.  We tackled this whole project (including the rest of the house) with zero budget and I am proud to say this far we spend less than R 2000,00 (maybe less).  All you need is a little creativity, time and patience.  We did all the work ourselves and that is already a saver.

Among the things we still need to do is:

  • Install a new floor finish.  We are really into cement-screed floors.  This will run through to the lounge, passage, bathroom and toilet.
  • Install a glass back-splash at the kitchen sink.  We are thinking of frosting the back for a nice clean look.  We found glass on site, so we will hopefully not spend a lot of moola.
  • Finish painting the wood panels…we ran out of white Enamel paint.  Also for a finished look, complete the corners with corner rounds.
  • Paint the walls below the kitchen sink.  We might plaster it not sure yet.
  • Paint the window frames white
  • Fix the rising damp that causes the paint to splinter.
  • Might install a new mixer (depends on the available budget)
  • Might replace all the light switch covers (or we just might re-paint them)

There might be more to do.  You know how it goes…you can do your best to devise a plan but renovating is definitely not for sissies!  You need a lot of perseverance and hair on your teeth.  It’s even more strain on your marriage if your husband is involved.  But I love every minute of it!

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