Thursday, November 29, 2012

Modern Traditionalist

A great way to bring together the beauty of African tradition and the comfort of modernity - by Francois Halard,  via the always inspiring Megan (on pinterest for the pin) and Mark (for his awesome tumblr).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I have a magazine problem - I have piles and piles of them. I can't stop reading them. I wait anxiously for my subscriptions (an addict knows how to save money!) and then systematically read through them. It's a problem. I can't not do it. That's not really healthy. Plus, I have got to a point where I recognize homes from magazines on pinterest (oh ja, there's Keri Russell's house from Elle, again) and other places, and it's seldom now that I see a home that blows me away. I know, I know,  who's a fancy-pants know-it-all now? But it made me wonder why I still look at mags.

Then a wonderful friend gave me South African Elle Decor (Oct/Nov issue) and in the beginning the editor, Laureen Roussouw says this -

"Homes are not about trends. Home are about people. Elle Decor only showcases beautiful houses that tell the stories of the people who live in them. Minimalist? Hoarder? It doesn't' matter. It's not about doing something that has never been done before. It's about the conversation between the the house and the people who live in it".

And as a designer, who can sometimes believe that our lives are our greatest project, I really agree with Laureen. I read the magazines to see how other people live, and it inspires me to live more beautifully.

So anyhoo, random self-analysis aside, here is a house that blew me away. The perfect blend of history, charm, practicality, beauty... and the story of the people who restored it and live in it.


I could move in there tomorrow.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Solange on the Cover of Elle

As I mentioned last week, one of my favourite discoveries reading about South African Fashion Week was Loin Cloth and Ashes. So I was pretty excited to see Solange (sister of Beyonce... no, I don't actually know what else she is famous for) wearing their shorts on the cover of Elle South Africa. (The top is by Tart)

She wears some other gorgeous South African designers in the article... I'd love to get this outfit. Imagine this jacket with some jeans. Perfect.

The jacket is Loin Cloth and Ashes (duh), and the bustier and skirt is Gavin Rajah.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lasting Impressions

A Well Traveled Woman posted this last week. It made me stop in my tracks!  She also has a blog (the other link is a tumblr) and she has been describing her trip to Kenya. It's been interesting reading, can't wait to see how her story ends... everyone I know from the States who has been to whatever part of Africa they've been, has been deeply moved by the beauty of the continent and her wonderful people. A friend of mine's sister went to South Africa and declared she had found her "zen place". Frankly, I'm not surprised. If you ever consider going to Africa, do it. It will change your life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

South Africa Art & Design: Heating Up the Internet

Ah yes, two great blogs highlighted some awesome South African art and design this week.

First Habitually Chic, showing a feature from a recent Elle Decor. I loved this house when I saw it - I'm so not rock 'n roll and it would be so much fun to live here for a weekend to enjoy feeling like I was.

Its not immediately obvious (which I think makes it nice) but there are touches of South Africa here - the Pieter Hugo photo in the hallway, the porcupine lampshades in the kitchen, the traditional wooden furniture in the living room and I think that fabric on the chair in the last pic is a South African design, too. Love it. Everywhere but not obvious. Liveable.

Then, Erin Gates at Elements of Style, had me laughing at her excitement at discovering Londolozi. I guess it's a place I taken for granted as being awesome - although it nice to be reminded how great it is by a newby (although, no I haven't been, and I'd give my left arm to go). I could've sworn I'd shown more pics of it before, but I guess not! Enjoy:

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Home: Welcome

I have a few pics of our place, if you'd like to see.

We are still living in the same house (we've been here nearly six years!) - we just moved upstairs. Mostly because winter was coming, and a couple of years ago our landlord did an upgrade to forced air heat. For my readers who don't live in a cold climate, what that means is our beautiful radiators were removed and replaced with ducts in the floor that literally blow out hot air to heat the apartment. I think in most cases it works well (and you can also hook up air conditioning in the summer - bliss!) but it didn't work so well for us because my husband has asthma and I struggle with allergies. The air moving around and kicking up dust was working against us. When the upstairs apartment became available (it wasn't upgraded) we decided it was time to move - we also got some more space into the bargain!

Welcome to our home!

Our entry is one of my favourite places in the new apartment - we never had one before! Now we have dedicated space for putting on coats and shoes. The coat rack is just out of sight, a couple steps up on the left hand side on the stairway. We keep our rain boots down there (peeking out from behind the door on the right) and hats, gloves, etc in the basket under the bench. Cricket hats, hockey sticks, umbrellas, pirate's swords etc, stay in the umbrella stand. One of the reasons I love this spot is that the red fabric was brought for me by a friend from China. And the blue and white fabric on the bench seat was brought for me by a friend from South Africa. Its good to think of them when I see the fabrics!

This house has some lovely details and charm. We have a beautiful stairway, and its a great place to hang the dogs' leashes. Unfortunately the wood detailing has been victim to some reckless inhabitant (see how some of the wood is missing?) but I suppose it adds to the charm.

Other great details in the house are things like the door knobs on some of the original doors, and the radiators. I look forward to owning our own house one day but I think I'll miss these things - although the yucky white blinds you see behind the radiator are something that I could always do without!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spring has Sprung... in the Southern Hemisphere

As I write this, Boston is expecting its first light snowfall. But my mind is thinking of spring, because of this room:

Isn't it glorious? Wouldn't you like to wake up there? That light! That floor!

(Click on the image to see it bigger... you deserve it! click on it!)

This room is from the spring issue of South African Elle Decoration (issue #86)... thanks to Hayley for bringing it for me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: South Africa (part 1)

I recently followed the highs and lows of the South African leg of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week on one of my daily blog reads, Style Guide Cape Town. Here are some of my faves:

Thula Sindi (also image above)


David Tlale

KIKI Clothing

Ituen Basi

And probably my favourite favourite, Loincloth and Ashes

More next week!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sart in South Africa

 I was so excited last Thursday when I went to the Sartorialist's blog and saw this:

Sart was in South Africa for the Cape Town leg of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week! The shot above was taken in my neck of the woods, Johannesburg. I've picked some of my favourite of his pics, which were taken all over - and what I like most about them is that he got shots of people we'd see every day, just looking fine, and others who seem to do a bit more work to look good, but we appreciate none the less.

That's right. A good looking nation!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Little did I realize it would take me two months to get back to blogging! When I last wrote, it was hot (hot, hot!) and in the tail end of summer. Today its chilly, and its clearly autumn. Some of the lovely colours we've seen in our neighbourhood lately (this is our back yard). The reds, yellows, golds and oranges have just been spectacular so far.

The other big news, obviously, is Hurricane Sandy. The outer bands of it came through here on Monday. Luckily our area wasn't hugely effected - having said that, we had high winds and lots and lots of rain. I cannot imagine what it was like closer to the storm centre. We've been here for ten years and this is the first day my office has been closed due to weather (with our snow storms, that's saying something!) but we didn't lose power (although lots of our friends did), and our biggest news was one half of a tree behind our garage fell down on it, but luckily didn't cause any damage. We really haven't got much to talk about, and thank goodness for that.

I hope you are all well and have only good news from the passed two months! 

On my end, I'll have more posts soon. Back to talking about the awesome design, art and crafts from South Africa, and getting inspired by the creativity of South Africans and other people from lots of places. I promise to also give you a house tour of our new place - I'm hoping for some decent light this weekend so I can take some shots of my favourite spots... after really thinking we were sacrificing niceness (it was kind of a dump before we got our hands on it!) for space I think we're going to be really happy here.

Here's a quick peek at the view from our upstairs - little bits of color peeking through... I can't wait to watch some snow fall from up here!