Inspired by Expo

So, every year I patiently wait for the Homemakers Expo. This is your typical end consumer fair and is somewhere in between fabulous! and good value for money. Got it?

Some great trends being presented by the some design houses and then some craftsman. There was definitely a very raw, natural feel coming from many of the displays.

Raw natural look decor

Left: InHouse Furniture Right: Interior Concepts InVogue

InHouse Decor and Interior Concepts show us how do incorporate the raw wood feel with wooden stumps into furniture of the home. A beautiful lamp base and a coffee table/ stool are shown here. The trick is that the wood needs to be treated in order not to deteriorate over time and also be sanded down very well. I suggest you leave this one up to the experts. These items are slowly becoming more well priced.

Light Box wall art left and funky shelving concept right

Light Box wall art left and funky shelving concept right

Tuis/Home shows us how lovely little trinkets can be displayed (right) and a new type of wall art is shown by means of light boxes where you can customize the graphics you use.

When I saw these re purposed wooden creatures, I knew I had to have them. Sadly I cannot remember who they are made by! Maybe comment and let me know?

Repurposed wooden look creatures

Repurposed wooden look creatures


Read more on the expo here.

Bringing the outdoors in

I am always inspired by the sheer size and the work that goes into the national gardens around the world, but let’s face it, space is becoming a rarity and we need to make the most of the space that we have got – and what better way to do that than with style! Let’s have a look at some new ways of bringing the outside – inside – with some hanging gardens in the home.

Mini cactus garden in glass

Mini cactus garden in glass from

Here we look at some examples of space saving techniques using glass with these hanging and wall mounted “gardens”. The wonderful thing about glass (especially clear glass) is that it gives a subtle presence by giving focus to the inspiration within, but yet it is the silent hero of decor. The trick is to choose a succulent plant that will not grow too large, but it will need plenty of sunlight and little water. You will also need to feed the plant with a liquid food as it will not have much room for root expansion.

I came across some inspiring glass planters in the shape of fruit and there are plenty that are made of stained glass too. Planting in these vessels can be a bit tricky, so be careful not to cut yourself.

Glass planters wall mounted

Glass planters wall mounted

Then you can also look into these plants that can grow in water – I am not too clued up on this, but I know certain bamboo variants can grow in water, but you will of course need to feed them and replace with fresh water regularly. Rather consult your local gardening center for more information.

The trend at the current moment is what I call the “pot-less hanging plant”. A plant based textile is used to wrap the ball of roots and soil and then bound with string. The trick to keeping these plants alive is quite similar to most indoor plants – lots of natural light, do not over water (once a week submersion for 20 minutes in winter and twice a week in summer) and do not forget to feed with liquid plant food every two weeks.

Hanging moss planter

Hanging moss planter – image from IdeasRealised

Happy planting!

Feature walls

Visit any home and you will most definitely find a feature wall. Although many of you may think it’s a relatively new feature of the modern home, this ain’t so, but I think it is just that there are now so many options!

Almost anything can now be put onto the wall, from stone cladding, to wood panels, wall paper, foam wall tiles, and for those more artistic, the more traditional murals and mosaics.

Modern looks are done with foam tiles, wooden panels like the below, and wall art.

Inspiration from for bedroom feature walls

Inspiration from for bedroom feature walls

If you prefer a more classic look, perhaps stick to the stone, wood or mural look. This is something you want to be done by a professional for the most part, but things to consider when you are doing this yourself. The wall needs to be pitted when doing stone finish, and the size of the stone pieces need to be carefully considered, based on the size of the wall. The below wall I wanted at the end of the passage, and was done with old wine crates. The wood is great as it has maximum character and is a repurposing of old materials.

Wooden wall cladding with photographs on

Wooden wall cladding with photographs on

Foam panels are a great, lightweight product and they come in the most wonderful 3 dimensional patterns. We careful that you choose a large wall in a big room as art like this can make rooms appear small.

Any type of feature wall is great for entrances and for displaying art or photographs, turning it into your personal showpiece. See below the amazing wall that has been done with leather  – amazing Studioart!

Studioart black leather wall tiles

Studioart black leather wall tiles











**Images from Meklo and Studioart**


Colour me Copper

Copper Comeback with traditional, avantgarde or modern decor

Copper Comeback with traditional, avantgarde or modern decor

If you are like a magpie and cannot resist the glint off the edge of shiny piece of eye candy, guys and gals, this one is for you! We have gone copper crazy….

So, it is clear that we are now in an era where we are no longer living with the choices that brands feed to us, but rather the consumer is the one that decides what we want – and with this comes choice and boy there is a lot of it!

Different colour finishes are now becoming more readily available. I have always been a sucker for copper – running around the 2nd hand stores looking for those old copper titbits that are still in good condition. Don’t get me wrong, 2nd hand shops are still a great place to find copper antiques, but things are exciting now with various industries producing their products in a copper finish as a standard.

I can only tell you the things that I like that I have seen….

Cluster of copper light boxes by Lacoli & Mcallister

Cluster of copper light boxes by Lacoli & Mcallister

Copper light fittings

There is a huge variety of copper lighting available for indoor, outdoor as well as amazing pendant lights to make the perfect center-piece in the home. This is an Iacoli & McAllister’s light fitting featuring a suspended collection of copper cubes.

Carrol Boyes Fire collection – embrace copper vase

“The colour and warmth of this fiery metal gives it an indulgent feel. Now that copper is enjoying a revival, Carrol felt it was the right time to introduce it into the range in a modern form.”

 Copper in the kitchen

I am still a fan of the old school look of copper hanging above the stove in the kitchen, though I wouldn’t dream of using the pots for actual cooking!

 Copper in the bathroom

Again, this is the old school, traditional part of me that likes this look, but there is now a modern revelational twist on this one. Shower and basin mixer taps are now available in this red gold finish from Axor and Hansgrohe.



Repurposed Pallet Furniture

I recently helped in organizing a launch at the company I work for and part of the task was to organize the event furniture. Having some help from a colleague in my office, we had a look at the furniture available for rental. Boy, how things have changed in the past few years. I have heard about people making their own furniture out of crates, but it seems to be a DIY trend in the making….

Pallet Furniture

Furniture is being fashioned from recycled pallets and looks amazing

People are making everything from coffee tables, to chairs and even staircases. This is a great way of repurposing old materials, BUT, the truth is that you probably wouldn’t want to use old materials to make these kinds of structures. The wood has to still be solid and sound, so unless you wish to specifically get the look of a pallet (which you would need to buy new by the way and would be hard to find unless you have connections), you are better off just buying some raw pine wood from your local DIY shop. Either that, or you will find someone who has taken advantage of this trend and decided to retail this style of furniture.

My tips would be, make use of wood that is not too thin, is not too raw or rough, considering whether it is in contact with skin or not, and wood that is unmarked or unbranded.

We welcome this new trend to Decor Design Ideas because it’s refreshing!

Pallet or crate furniture

Pallet table and couch make for stylish decor

**Pallet furniture from Inspire Furniture**




Choosing a tap for your bathroom

I bet if you have never gone through the process of a renovation or building a home, you would think, “How complicated can it be to choose a tap?”. Well myself, working for a premium tap manufacturing wholesaler, knows that it isn’t always simple. Have a look at the interview featured on Signature Living (DSTV, Home Channel 176) for some practical tips of choosing bathroomware and some of the current inspirational bathroom products.


Faux fauna & flora

So, just because you are an animal lover doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the majestic beauty that the imagery of nature brings to a home. Having been a vegetarian myself, I was often challenged by that beautiful cow skin rug and the sheepskin throw, BUT I can happily say that I have not given in and you don’t have to either now that faux taxidermy and textiles are all the rage.

Faux Taxidermy

Faux Taxidermy *Credit Amazon &*

The different types of faux we can find I would categorize into:

  • fur – being the skin rugs and throws;
  • flowers – made from paper, beads or ceramics
  • fauna – taxidermy of animals using paper, moulds and beads

Although generally synthetic, there are the most amazingly luxurious throws and blankets being produced at a price that you can now afford! And you do not have to feel bad. From faux wool to bear and fox fur, you can find almost anything… and they look and feel heavenly!

There is nothing more beautiful than an orchid in bloom, but you would be surprised at the plastic, beaded, ceramic and paper flowers that are on the market these days. They often look better than the real thing and the bonus is that they don’t die.

Faux orchids, ceramic flowers & faux bear fur

Faux orchids, ceramic flowers & faux bear fur


So, by fauna, I was alluding to the the idea of the poor woodland creatures that are hunted and then put up on a wall. Obviously taxidermy doesn’t stop there as it includes all sorts of other creatures. The new faux taxidermy comes in all sorts of materials from paper, to beading and textiles. What is awesome about the new trend of faux taxidermy is that it includes all sorts of imaginary animals too, like unicorns, giant squid tentacles and hell, even the rear end of a beaver! Loving the creativity shown here by The Crafty Gentleman.

You can now be kind to animals and decorate your home with faux fur, flowers and furry friends.

Fireplace 101

I think that it is apparent that winter is upon those of us here in the Southern Hemisphere now – the cold mornings, the late rising sun and the woolly winter clothes and boots that get dragged out of the cupboard. But it’s not all grey skies as winter has its fun too, like onesies, hot chocolate and of course those nights by the fireplace.

While I do not claim to be an expert on keeping warm, when it comes to fireplaces there are a few practical things you might want to consider based on your lifestyle.

Calore Fireplace Inspirational

Calore Fireplace Inspirational

Open vs closed?
Gone are the days when an open fireplace smokes you out of your home on the coldest day of winter, but other things to consider would be safety and residual smell from the coals the day after. If you have pets or children, you may want to steer clear of an open fireplace – as much as you would like to convince yourself that it will be fine accidents happen. The second safety aspect of open fireplaces to consider is that they “spit” bits of hot coal out, so use a protective guard to prevent burning your flooring or even worse, yourself. Depending on the wood you use, even if the open fireplace does not smoke out your home, the remaining coals, if left for more than a few hours can leave a home with that distinctive smell. Open fireplaces are also said not to be all that energy efficient, sucking in the cold air through any open vent in your home as the hot air rises up the flue.
Closed fireplaces, while, safer than an open one can still burn you, so consider building a protective guard around it.
Closed fireplaces obviously do not smoke out the home if the vent is used correctly and you can leave the coals in them until it is used again. The closed fireplaces are also often built into the wall, making them appear more streamlined with a room.


Built In Fireplace with Child guard

Built In Fireplace with Child guard

Fuel used
In South Africa, one seems to have the choices of wood, gas or anthracite. Obviously the model of fireplace you choose will determine the type of fuel that is used. Consider that wood can have a smell and only certain woods can be used, especially in open fireplaces. Pine wood will create a build-up of gum on the inside of the flue and can catch alight if not cleaned annually. Gas has potential health risks and the initial cost can be quite high, but is a lot more tidy and a flue is not necessarily a must here.
Anthracite or alternative pellet fuel fireplaces are still a relatively “new” thing and initial installation can be expensive, but this is an extremely efficient heating method.

Open hexagonal fireplace

Open hexagonal fireplace

Size & location
Make sure that the size of fireplace you choose is appropriate to the size and layout of your room or home. Open plan homes will require large kW heat output fireplaces and consider venting and how well the house is sealed against the cold.
Generally, the location of the fireplace will depend on where you wish to maintain the highest level of heat – normally in a living area. No fireplace will really be able to heat an entire home unless you vent the heat through the home, which we tend not to do here in South Africa!

Now that you have more basic knowledge on fireplaces, you can decide for yourself how you are going to keep warm this winter…




Making small bathrooms bigger

The trend is a lavishly large, open plan bathroom, right? Sure, maybe in the magazines and movies, but our bathrooms at home are the best of what we can make of them, still needing to fit in the shower, basin, toilet and sometimes a bidet and/or even bath. I would like to give you some stylish tips on how to make a small bathroom space appear that much larger – the do’s and don’t’s.

Kiddies bathroom

Corner baths, wall storage and shelf heated towel rails save space in small bathrooms

Tip one: DO prioritize your bathroom choices
If this bathroom is not the only bathroom in the house, chances are that you may only need a bath or shower in a few years time. We decided to put in the shower floor, shower mixer and the rail set, but with no shower frame or glass. (We needed  the bath as this was a child’s bathroom.) This allowed us to use the shower floor as platform to put the baby bath on when bathing Ryan – no bending over and killing your back. Most baby baths can be bought with a frame and we stood this on the shower floor within reach so that the hand shower could be used to fill the bath. We can later convert the rather poky shower space into a proper shower using frameless, clear glass that creates the illusion of more space.

Tip two: DO use a drawing or paper cut out scale

Upon discovering that there was in fact not enough space to fit in that much needed bath in our soon to arrive baby boy’s new bathroom, my husband and I had to make a plan! We literally sat with cut out shapes in a centimeter scale and rearranged all of the “origami” bathroom items until they fit and there was still enough space to get out of the shower, bath and toilet – it sounds silly, but don’t forget about that and the door that will need to open and close.

Tip three: DO use corner baths and floating furniture

Corner baths can be very appealing and often fit into difficult, small spaces. They more than often normally have steps in them too, which means you can sit on the step and even bath the baby when you sit on the step.
Floating furniture creates the illusion of space as they are open underneath and are a lot easier to clean too!
Using toilets that have the concealed flush cistern in the wall are also a great way to save a few centimeters of space.


Child's bathroom

Small bathrooms bigger with screeding and floating cabinets

Tip four: DO NOT make the space too busy
Do not use small tiles or busy tiles for flooring. Larger tiles with fewer lines make the space appear larger. Even try to use mosaics that have slightly larger tiles. We decided to go with screeding on the floor as it was the best way to create an open, seamless look in our small bathroom.
Use wall mounted space cleverly and keep the space as simplified as possible. My one condition about my children’s bathroom would be that it would not be scattered with hundreds of toys, and while I had an illusion of making a built in storage piece underneath the bath (which can most definitely be done), I decided that window sills and walls can make tasteful and practical storage spaces in small bathrooms. Also, I used a “shelved” heated towel rail where you can pack the towels.


Inspired by the simple life

Fynbos Header

This past week took me on a journey to the Cape Winelands where I stayed in a stone cabin in Tulbagh for 4 days. While I went there in part to find myself, I also found that the simple, nature inspired means of building is in fact very beautiful, but also very, very clever.

Use what you have around you – this is how our ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years and perhaps we should take a page from that age old book and incorporate this into our own lives, especially if it looks this beautiful?

The cabin I stayed in was, as mentioned, made of stone. This type of stone is clearly indigenous to this area as the ground is saturated with it. It would in fact be very easy to gather up enough of the correct size to accommodate a small cabin like this of 30 square meters or so.

Raw wood trusses

Raw wood trusses inspired by the simple life

The next thing that caught my eye was the natural, raw wooden trusses used for the pitched, open ceiling. They are finished in a clear varnish, which I think shows off the rustic nature quite nicely. The poles appear to be made from the either pine or blue gum (the latter I think is more likely). The retreat is running an alien tree removal program, which making using these flora species all the better for building materials – bonus!

The last little feature, I thought quite the splash of luxury – excuse the pun. The little 2 x 1 m splash pool is built into the patio and works by a simple “fill when needed, empty when not needed principle”. At the time when I though about it, I thought, “Gosh, that doesn’t seem all that eco-friendly, now does it?” But when I thought about it some more, I realised that if you are using it a few times a year with your own source of water (either borehole or a spring), you can simply and inexpensively use a small pool like this to cool down instead of an air-conditioner, right? I think so…

*Images are of cabins at Blue Butterfly Retreat in Tulbagh*

Splash pool inspired by the simple life

Splash pool inspired by the simple life