Magnificent Majeka Hotel, Stellenbosch 

It was summed up it perfectly when, as I commented on yet another thing at Majeka House that I wanted for my house, the reply was ‘you want lots of things here for your home!’

Perhaps a few less pigs (the owner Karine apparently has loved pigs since she was a child and has filled the hotel with an assortment of pigs of all shapes and sizes). I like a pig, but I’m personally an elephant woman through and through, as my growing collection attests to. But apart from that, yes, I did basically want everything about the interior design at the stunning Majeka House hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

From Kartell Louis Ghost chairs to the bright electric blue garden furniture, it’s no wonder that Majeka House was crowned Best Design Hotel, Africa and the Middle East, in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2017. I only left yesterday and I’m already missing its beauty.

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Smitten Kitchen

Five of six months building work down and the house is starting to become a home again. I wasn’t sure which new room I was most excited for, but seeing the kitchen today – and the loud ‘Oh my gods’ that ensued – answered the question.

I adore cooking so it was always going to be a strong contender. The old layout lacked light (the staged shot taken by the estate agents was very cleverly lit!) and the edges were just getting a bit tatty.

But the new one is anything but.

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New Magnet kitchen going in, with space for American Fridge Freezer and cooker

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Happy Christmas, from your local Planning Department

So in terms of a 2015 New Year’s commitment to blog about building my dream house, I think the fact that my last post was 21st February is pretty solid evidence that I failed miserably! In my defence, no-one ever really keeps their New Year’s resolutions, and its fair to say that 2015 has been a more eventful and busy year than I was expecting, including not one but two new jobs. As a result overall progress on the house has been slower than I originally planned.

That aside, it has been an incredible first 9 months in my little home, not least thanks to the arrival of two new housemates Freya and Loki, my beautiful tabby maincoon crossed kittens. So despite still having an entire room full of boxes and not even one fully finished room, I’ve settled in oh so happily, especially in my front living room, where the curtains might not reach the floor, but when I walk in I know that I am home.

But… despite all of that, I cannot WAIT to get starting on the works I want done. And following a visit from the local council, a week of waiting and then a slightly hairy moment involving a sash window which my lovely architect Jo kindly kept from me and resolved unaided, I now have my planning permission, delivered just in time for Christmas!

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Fabrics, so many beautiful Indian fabrics

I’ve only been to India once but I forever will be captivated by the colours. My interior design is inspired by many counties, but there’s just not anything else quite like Indian fabrics and silks. I read once that Indian fabrics have been called ‘exquisite poetry in colour’ which seems very apt.

Colour is used in a vivid, kaleidoscopic way.  It takes special meaning in Indian society, from bright pink to celebrate life in the spring festival of Huli, the iridescent rainbow of colours as millions of fireworks explode in Diwali, the festival of lights, through to saffron, the colour of religious asceticism.  The town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan is painted blue to echo the colour of the blue god Krishna – Indian Interiors company

As I said in another post, my mother bought me a little ceramic elephant from Indian a number of years ago and spawned a love for those. She is also one of the reasons that I have such a love for Indian textiles and am building up a little collection! Here’s some that I picked up from Malaysia and that she brought me back from a recent trip to Jaipur. With my new sewing skills, I’m excited to start turning some of these into cushions.

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Design Inspiration from Malaysian Travels….Part One

I’m just coming to the end of a wonderful holiday in Malaysia and with my mind full of interior design, I feel especially lucky to have been surrounded by such beautiful, and colourful, sources of inspiration. Plus the free time away from the office has been absolutely brilliant for a whole host of online shopping! Wallpaper samples and design books galore await me on the return. I may be getting just a little carried away… (Which I think will be a common theme of my new house).

I always try to bring things back from the countries I visit and as such I’ve bought a number of things for my new house (as well as being full of beautiful things, it’s also incredibly cheap here). I’ll post those up separately once I am back and they are unwrapped, but here are a few pictures I’ve taken while visiting Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang which I’ve found especially inspiring for my home (pt one)

This is my first time visiting Malaysia and the mix of cultures here, particularly Indian and Chinese, has been such fun to explore, and can be seen in the mixture of photos. Each is an explosion of different colours, heavily featuring red and gold in the run up to Chinese New Year, and I will never ever tire of visiting Asian temples, which are just the most glorious things to behold. There is something about the colours, statues and structures, that I could look at for hours. Despite not personally being religious, I’ve always loved visiting religious buildings. As well as being incredibly calming, the art is usually breathtaking – I am particularly partial to a mural or two – and I am always captivated by the intricate stone carvings and woodwork. The colour of Buddhist temples is obviously a world apart from English churches and I remember the first time I saw one in the flesh being a little shocked by how bright they were!

Now though I’m wondering if recreating my own in the heart of Bermondsey might just be a little too OTT or whether I could pull it off…. Continue reading