Interior Design

What a Set of Legs Can Do

Peg leg entry Want to literally elevate a piece of blah furniture? Change out the legs! Have you noticed how the right set of legs help to define shape, highlight negative space and even echo an era in design? It’s true. The right legs can transform something clunky into a new piece that’s fresh, light and modern. When you’re buying your next piece of furniture or just DIY-ing a piece currently your collection, consider updating the legs. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 1.04.15 AM   NestingTablesWe love these light as air side tables that are defined by their see-through shape. Our nesting tables topped with marble are perfect for small spaces. They help give you a functional surface and display place, while still keeping things light and open.   Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 1.03.46 AM There’s a wonderful company in Sweden called Pretty Pegs that specializes in selling peg legs that instantly update your IKEA furniture. It’s such an inexpensive and fun way to create the look of an expensive and customized piece of furniture. Check them out! They ship worldwide! Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.59.37 AM Oh these are special. Denise came across them in South Africa on a recent buying trip and we have not been able to hang on to them, they’ve all walked out the door with their happy new owners. Luckily more are arriving soon. These are sculptural, architectural. They’re fun but sophisticated. It’s not easy to find a piece of furniture that can embody all of that. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 1.06.01 AM And if you’re looking for something truly unique, try a piece of furniture built on a horn base. I love the curvy femininity of the cow horn side table and the kudu horn table. Really this is statement art as much as it is a table. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.59.59 AM We’ve been building a lot of custom pieces lately on these wooden stands. The strong and imposing shape of this ostrich clad buffet is perfectly juxtaposed by the light and open stand it sits on. And these babies can carry an awful lot of weight. Just check out this wardrobe we built. Standing a massive 7 feet it’s a sight to behold! charcoal wardrobe - small What’s your favourite shape for the legs of your furniture? Do you like to keep your lines strong and modern or a little fun? Isn’t cool how just changing the legs can also evoke a completely new era of design? Take for example the peg legs which add that mid-century modern air to just about anything.

Will it Fit? Getting Furniture Through Your Door

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Today we’re posting some really practical advice. It seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised how many clients we’ve heard from who’ve experienced just this.

oversized sectional

Daily Deal sites like One King’s Lane, online auctions from Ebay to Live Auctioneers, not to mention wandering around your city’s flea markets and home design stores make it easy to want to snap up a spectacular find.

forest canopy bed

King sized mattresses are the best investment, provided they fit through your door

But while love at first sight or the ultimate deal may be hard to pass up, do yourself a favour and keep measurements on hand of key locations in and around your home to ensure pieces will actually fit through your door and into your room of choice. 

Zenza Lights foyer

A narrow staircase with a bend can pose a huge moving nightmare as can low hanging light fixtures.

With older buildings and homes especially, and condo and apartment elevators, it’s easy to get caught up in the expanse of your room and forget about the narrow hallways, the turn in the stairs, the weirdly small doorway or even the exceptionally narrow street, that all pose obstacles to your receiving your new gem.

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While this Snob armoire clad in a sumptuous black ostrich hide can be removed from its base, you don’t want to scratch the beautiful leather fitting it through a narrow doorway

Sofas, king sized mattresses, armoires, dining table and media centres tend to be the pieces that folks purchase (and sometimes even have custom built) that don’t end up fitting through the doors.

 

Here are some basic measurements to keep on hand:

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  1. Exterior Front doorway height,
  2. Exterior front doorway width and clearance to opposite wall
  3. Staircase width
  4. Staircase corner width and clearance to opposite wall if there’s a bend. Also note leaded windows or window sills that could be damaged or otherwise pose an extra obstacle.
  5. Height to low-hanging light fixtures
  6. Interior doorway width and clearance to opposite wall
  7. Interior doorway height
  8. Stairway overhang, beams or light fixture clearance

* Remember to ensure a large delivery truck can fit down your street and into your driveway. Ask for these measurements before delivery.

**Remember to also measure the stairwell leading up to your unit or the height, width and opposite wall clearance of your elevator, lobby and landing floor.

Happy hunting! May you find deals and treasures that will make your house the perfect a home!

Marisa Tomei’s Manhattan Apartment

We are always flipping through design magazines here. We love to see creative takes on room design, new products and profiles on designers. And of course we love to see our pretty wares featured too. Check out our media page for some of our recent coverage! We are so lucky to be included in publications month after month. ELLE_20DECOR_20Marisa_20Tomei_20living_20room2_photo_20by_20Douglas_20Friedman.0 But a few months ago, Elle Décor showed up at our door with a cover feature on the very talented actress and Oscar winner, Marisa Tomei. Standing in her Manhattan living room, I was overcome by her sense of style. It was inviting and warm, sophisticated, colourful, balanced and absolutely full of hollywood glamour. gallery-1454701364-edc030116tomei01-copy Check out her sofa covered in Kuba cloth! Striking and artful to use the textile like this. I love the richness of the colours in the textile and how they’re balanced by the neutrals of the Moroccan rug and coffee table. And while balance is a wonderful thing, the Kuba cloth is also perfectly augmented by the turquoise velvet and rich orange leather of the floor pillows. Read our 101 on African textiles if you want to learn more about how this amazing textile is created. elle_decor_marisa_tomei_living_room_photo_by_douglas_friedman_fb2c26152ce3f50ca00d1c7833445585.today-inline-large I was also impressed to see a trio of ceremonial marriage curtains decorated with cowrie shells hung as wall art. These would have come from South Africa and are very rare and quite old. I myself have only ever come across three in my travels and on my buying trips. mt 6 Marisa merges new and old with such a deft hand. Modern furniture, antiques and mid century beauties are brought together with objets from around the world that each have such a rich story to tell. The look is never precious, never too done. It is eclectic and sensual, cozy and elegant, and obviously a reflection of the person in the space. I for one am impressed by her eye. This is a fine collection of furniture and art. To pull everything together, she hired Alexandra Hayden, an interior designer, based in LA and NYC. I am totally smitten with the space. marisa1 In the article, Marisa mentions that many of the pieces in her New York apartment are the result of scouring the world’s flea markets and many many hours online at ebay and other auctioneers. It’s a skill she comes by honestly, having spent many hours watching her mom collect and refinish furniture.   All images via Elle Decor. Visit Elle Decor to read the full story and see the full image gallery.  

Spring Fashion Trends

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Fashion images form Harpers Bazaar

I got lost in the pages – both virtual and magazine – of some spring fashion trends for 2016. As always I am amazed by the artistry and technique we\’re seeing from some of the top fashion houses. Sometimes if I\’m not bold enough to take on a fashion trend, I celebrate it in a small way by introducing it into the home. Want to do the same? Here are a few ideas. \"Mali-Batek-Pillows1\"

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Lots of designers seem to be embracing tie dye! Silky textiles, dripping with vibrant colour were seen in the collections of Altuzarra, Baja East, and Thakoon. If you want this look at home, try our Mali Batik Pillows or other silky throws and pillows. \"Spring We called it earlier in the year: we think pink is going to be huge this year in interiors, and this season we\’re seeing it a lot in fashion too! I love how versatile pink can be. From bold, strong and passionate, to romantic, to girly. Pink does it all and I\’m so glad it\’s getting it\’s moment of glory. \"Screen   \"Monkeybiz-XLarge\"

Shop this here

Get the look with a funky home accessory, like one of the amazing MonkeyBiz figures, or maybe our lovely pink marble coffee table which brings just the right amount of feminine dazzle.

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Rock and Roll is another Spring 2016 fashion trend. Designers like Alice + Olivia, Coach and Rodarte are totally paying homage to the 70s rocker chick. I love the layers, the mixed textiles and materials, the contrasting prints! It\’s over the top and it\’s awesome.

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Want to introduce something with a little edge in your interior? There are so many ways we can help you celebrate your inner rock star,

from feather headdresses to ostrich leather furniture, to something a touch more subdued like a suede or leather throw pillow. Come on, you know you want to!

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And last but not least, I noted lots of weaving happening in the textiles used to create some pretty gorgeous and avant garde fashion. You know how we feel about things handwoven! I love how weaving using natural fibres celebrate organic form and brings a little nature in. I also love it\’s sculptural quality and the movement it can create. Such a visual treat.

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Get the look in your home with a woven pouffe, a crocheted vessel or one of our many amazing baskets.

What do you think? Are you having a favourite fashion moment right now? Does it translate as well in design? Do tell!

The Versatility of the Tonga Stool

tonga stool lookbook natural Do you routinely find yourself in need of a few extra seats in your home but don’t really want to commit to another bulky chair or bench? In the foyer, especially while readying multiple kids for a winter’s day; in the living area, when large parties of guests are over; in the bathroom while bathing the kidlets. These are a few of the places where extra, but not permanent seating, stools or tables may be nice. tonga stool lookbook How’s this for a marvelous answer: the Tonga stool from Zimbabwe. This beauty is hand-carved from a single piece of wood. A genuine artifact, these stools were status symbols for elders of the nomadic Tonga people of Zimbabwe. They carry significant meaning, for the Tonga people, then and now. Each is carved to incorporate unique lines, shapes, and patterns, making them easy to transport but also breath-taking to behold. tonga stools pinterest

Via Queensland Homes

Genuine Tonga stools date from the late 19th and early 20th century. Some have been repaired with metal patches that just add to their beauty. There are also many contemporary versions and recreations being made today by artisans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. tonga birthday cake What I love about these is that they are truly unique sculptures. They are art. They are strong and graceful displayed on shelves. Stack multiples together to play up their curves and lines. And displayed under a console in the foyer, they are also a continually used seat, stool, and side table. tonga arlo copy In fact you may even find your Tonga stool continues its nomadic trek, albeit on a much smaller scale, moving between rooms as well as inside and out of the house. gold leaged tonga stools We are lucky to have a few of these one-of-a-kind gems in the showroom now. We’ve been playing around with gold-leafing in the showroom and love how these have turned out. Stop by or email to see what’s available. Or check our our African Stools and Tables page for a brief selection.

Spring’s Flock

birds - Tasmin Jonson

Image via My Domaine

Winter blahs got you down? It’s time to let spring into the home. Nothing says spring quite like birds to me. Their return from their winter migration. The songs that fill the trees. Nests full of new life. If you want to introduce a little bit of avian life into your home, we’ve got a gorgeous and eclectic collection for every taste. Dramatic Art blue bird room If you log onto Pinterest and you may just get lost in a tropical bird paradise with the search ‘oversized bird art’. There’s something about these magical creatures – their fine feathers, the majesty of flight and the range of form they take from the flamingo to the penguin, the hummingbird to the hawk. Adorning your walls with these birds bring whimsy, drama and a link to summer skies. We currently have a small selection of animal and bird prints in the shop. Stop by as they’re sure to be snapped up fast. birds - paris apartment If you want to go big with your avian love, there’s no better choice than the Juju feather headdresses. Hung in multiples or by itself, the feather headdress will instantly make your space pop. The texture of these is an extra sensual layer adding interest and warmth to a room. Though white headdresses are the most popular, I am partial to the richly coloured versions. Go bold, I say. Shop our feather headdresses here. Simple Accessories Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.07.00 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.06.29 PM

Shop our Eggs and Shell Collection here

From ostrich eggs to metal sculpture, hand-painted boxes to hand-carved stone birds our beautiful avian accessories work in any space and with a range of decor. A single ostrich egg can feed a family of 7. In regions like South Africa they really are a source of sustenance and life. These eggs perfectly juxtapose power and exquisite delicacy, just like life itself. stonebirds-95-ea-sold-out-but-will-get-more These stone birds, which we’ve written about before, are the perfect combination of heavy and light. Carved by hand from polished stone, we’ve mounted them on gold-leafed perches in blocks of clear lucite. Perfect on table tops, they bring a little joyous nature inside and all year round. Shop our Stone Birds here Pillows Ardmore-Pillow-Bright

Ardmore Birds PillowNavy-Ostrich-Pillow1

Blue Ostrich Feather Pillow

And of course the easiest-peasiest way to freshen up a space is with pillows and throws. Updating your pillows with something that echoes the coming spring is a wonderful way to welcome a new season. And as we love, love, love birds, we’ve got you covered if you do too. From ostrich feathers to bright avian prints, there’s no better way to warm up your space. Shop our Pillow selection here.

Kuba, Kente and Mud Cloth Textiles

african textiles desire to inspire Ever see gorgeous African textiles in design magazines and wonder what, where, how? Textile design is a true art form across the continent of Africa, and many designs are specific, not just to a region, but to a particular tribe or family. Some designs are like a coat of arms. Today we present a 101 on some of the designs that have made it into North American interiors. Mud Cloth from Mali pinterest 2 Snob - African textiles make perfect throws and pillows for your seated areas Mud cloth (bogolanfini, or bogolan) is a culturally important tradition in Mali dating back to the 12th century. Cotton fabrics are traditionally dyed using fermented clays and muds, that give the cloth the rich dark colours and patterns. Historically, the cotton fabrics are weaved by men, while the intricate patterning created in the dyeing process is done by women. Mud cloth is enjoying its moment in the sun right now, where these textiles are being incorporated into high end interior design and fashion. Mud cloth is made by bathing the cotton in a yellow solution made from mashed and boiled leaves of the n’gallama tree. Left in the sun to dry, clay and mud is then applied as a painted layer to create the beautiful motifs. There are many artisans who continue to create these textiles using time-honoured techniques, but some modern makers have come up with new processes that speed up their creation. Kuba Textiles kuba cloth - design sponge   light fixtures Kuba cloths are generally rectangular or square pieces of woven raffia that are embellished with embroidered geometric patterns. Originating from the DRC (formerly Zaire), these textiles have been intricately made by hand. Once the raffia fabric is woven, typically by men, women hand embroider the geometric patterns by sewing in the desired pattern with raffia thread, stitch by stitch, clipping or cutting each thread. This makes the embroidery process painstakingly long, but the final effect are patterned pieces that resemble velvet in texture. The pattern and repetition you see in Kuba cloth tell stories. Mathematicians have long been intrigued by the elaborate use of patterning in traditional Kuba cloths and marvel at how they also seem to represent the traditional music and song of the Kuba people, which you see in off-beat phrasing that seems to interrupt an expected pattern. Just think, that’s not simply art on your wall, or headboard at your bed, but hidden within that pattern is a myth, a song, a story. Kente Cloth 05aafda0e3464c5c2b41452bb5b00a13     kente cloth   20151005_060902 Created by the Asanti people of Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire, Kente cloth derives its name from kenten, for basket, because its woven look is so similar. The fabric itself is woven using specialized looms to create the brightly coloured and intricate patterns of the final product. Every colour used in Kente cloth carries a meaning, so that each finished piece of textile tells its own story. For instance:

  • White: denotes purity, peace, innocence and spirituality
  • Yellow: represents gold and signifies royalty, wealth and fertility
  • Black: is the symbol for bereavement and darkness, but also for secrecy and mystery
  • Blue: represents wisdom, humility, harmony and love. It’s the symbol for big spaces like the sun and ocean.
  • Green: denotes life, growth, and youth
  • Brown: is the colour of mother earth, and represents healing
  • Pink: is associated with femininity, tenderness, calmness and the essence of life.

Various colour combinations also carry different meanings. Some weaving patterns represent entire tribes and families.   The richness of these textiles, the stories and cultural narratives they hold make each one uniquely special. These should never be treated just as home trends, but understood in their context of history, geography and culture. I love these cloths and textiles. I’ve never seen any like them and so enjoy these voices in the spaces I live and work.

Layering for Winter

layering rugs 2 It’s winter here, and while we were lucky to get a pretty warm fall and early winter, it’s starting to get pretty nippy. This is the time to layer. And not just with fashion but our homes too. But a lot of people are hard-pressed to know how to pull this off and have the finished look be sleek and stylish. Here are some fun tips that will keep you and your home warm. Layer yourself with ponchos and capes, your home with rugs and carpets

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Denise in a Maxhosa by Laduma poncho. Maxhosa by Leduma from South Africa was recently named one to watch by Vogue Italia.

I for one, love ponchos and capes. They are the height of sophistication. I love the rich texture of wools and the the amazing patterns we’ve seen emerge over the last few seasons. What better way to cozy up in a drafty office or resto than by ever-so-casually throwing on a cape or poncho. layered rugs Carry this look off in the home by layering rugs and carpets. You’ll keep your tootsies happy while also creating cozy and warm ambience. Layering carpets can be done to add loads of pattern and colour, but it’s just as easy to layer in neutrals too for that rich and sophisticated look. Layering mirrors to make the most of sunlight and adding bling to sparkle and shine IMG_2485 While the winter sun can be nice and bright, the fact that it rises late and sets early means it’s hard to feel like we’ve soaked up enough rays. Try layering mirrors on a mantle or using mirror in more than one place in a room to really reflect the light that does make it in. For the fashionable you, get the same dazzle by layering your jewellery. Stacked rings, layers of necklaces, a jumble of bracelets is just what you need to feel and look dazzling. Metal, gems and crystal always pick up the light and add just the right sparkle. Play with texture and length IMG_2486 If you’re worried you will look boxy in layers or your home will look too busy, keep in mind that playing with length and texture is a good way to get the sleek balance you want to achieve. Long flowing drapes with a cozy sheep skin gives this nook the perfect harmony between heavy and airy. Same goes with fashion: a short chunky seater looks great over a long light blouse, just as tall boots look great over tights or jeans. What are your fashion and design tricks to stay warm in the dead of winter?

Pink: a colour trend for 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 7.18.57 PMI’m going to make a prediction about a colour trend this year. I’m not one who likes to stay on-trend in general. I favour timeless, original and eclectic in both my fashion and interiors. But still, I think this year we’re going to be seeing more pink. main.original.640x0c Pink is given such a hard time. It’s so often seen as girly and not in a nice way. Think prim and childish or garish. We think Barbie and Pepto. But it can be so powerful, sophisticated, playful, romantic and subtle. It all comes down to styling. Fuchsia might be my favourite of the pinks. It’s so bright and powerful. It can be playful but it’s also got a luxe factor to it. I love the look of the velvet sofa. While it’s commanding, it’s also exceptionally inviting. 10e0d58983a8a18c60bca478ea3195c1 I think we’ll be seeing pink paired with greys and natural wood. And it goes so very well, it’s amazing we haven’t seen it more before. 0056b4df300817248e9b541a21df8fec

I think we’ll see pink in the veins of marble. And blush pinks will be used in monochromatic rooms to warm them up.

8bc83aad24596988bb79a9a3aff16e85 I think we’ll see it in the use of rose golds and coppers which immediately elevate a space. Rose golds and coppers are even colours the most masculine of men can wrap their head’s around. I think this is the year of pink. What do you think? What colours do you see setting trends this year?

Bonkers for Baskets

20150930_083804 Want a peak behind the scenes? A recent buying trip to South Africa was ever so fruitful. It was baskets galore that I ended up finding. Handwoven works of art these are. It’s quite something the different techniques and versatility of the finished product. Take a look at these beauties. Displayed on tabletops, stands or mounted to the wall, I love the combination of pattern and texture. 20150930_095202 Here are a few that I chose. I love the tassled baskets! And the black and white baskets will look so sophisticated in a grouping on the wall. 20151007_100831_resized_1 The amount of work that went into creating these large and colourful baskets is really quite astounding. The picture doesn’t do them justice, but trust me that they are very large and very very sturdy. Handwoven with all these brightly coloured strands in all those different patterns takes quite a lot of time. I am blown away by the craftsmanship that goes into making these. A gorgeous hamper, toy box, or foyer catch-all, they work just about anywhere and will keep you organized. 20151012_044407_resized These were lovlies were totally new to me and it was love at first sight. The technique used to make them is – ready for it – crochet! The baskets are crocheted and then treated with a resin to give them structure. They look like lace. In so many colours, sizes and patterns to choose from, I couldn’t find just one favourite. 20151012_044426_resized The oversized crocheted pieces can be used as end tables. They are far sturdier than they look. That’s the magic of them, I think. They look light as air, have such an ethereal feel to them and yet they can be used as furniture and functional vessels. 20151012_044442_resized Knitting and crochet has really been elevated in recent years. It’s no longer the pass-time of our grannies. Love, love, love! So do you have a favourite? How would you use these in your interiors? We’d love to hear!