Loading the content... Loading depends on your connection speed!

The Jewel Tones of Fall

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Jewel Tones of Fall

 

African Luxe - a trio of marriage curtains decorate with cowrie shells adorns the wall of Marisa Tomei's living room. Very rare artifacts that would have originated in South Africa

 

Even if you don’t live in a part of world that sees the stunning autumnal transformation, it’s nice to mark the change in seasons by switching up accessories in the home.

In the northeastern part of North America, the changing the leaves of fall is a sight to behold. The transformation into these spectacular jewel toned trees is utterly jaw-dropping, especially if you’re lucky enough to get away into nature to appreciate the full the effect.

Beaded Accessories

Clay Beaded Bangles

 

Home accessories are a wonderful way of updating your interior and changing the mood of your space. These clay beaded bangles and fertility dolls add the jewel tones perfectly.

Namji_Fetish

 

Shop our Beaded Accessories here

 

 

Custom Furniture in Bold Colors

If you’re feeling particularly brave, consider a custom piece of furniture like this one. You can accessorize it’s top differently according to the seasons to really stay current.

GreenSkinCredenzaALT

 

Pillows and Textiles

Pillows – and textiles generally – are another perfect way to pay homage to the changing seasons. Going for something in the colors of fall, or an earthy palette will pull your space together and echo the season.

African Luxe - kuba cloth throw pillow. The textile is created in red, powder blue and brown embroidery

 

Rock-Pillows

 

This pebble pillow by Ronel Jordaan is a perfect piece to celebrate fall, don’t you think? Shop our Ronel Jordaan line here.

Feather Headdresses

The Juju Feather Headdress is another wonderful way to add a pop of fall color to your home. Go with maroons, purples, reds, emeralds, and orange for full effect.

texture 2

 

red headdress

Shop our Juju Headdresses Here

 

Showing Just Enough Skin

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on Showing Just Enough Skin

animal 3

 

Skins sometimes get a bad rap as being ostentatious, a look that can only be pulled off by the Cruella DeVil’s of the world. But really they are a fabulous way to add visual interest, texture and pattern to a space. Used correctly, you can glam up a space, make it cozy, or create an organic and earthy space. But you’ve got to know how much skin to show.

 

A Statement Chair

animal 1

 

Screen-Shot-2016-09-07-at-11.44.35-PM (1)

 

A statement chair is a beautiful and functional way to add a punch of interest to a room. A chair wrapped in a luxe zebra or cowhide will no doubt draw oohs and ahhs as guests sink into your seating. But even adding a sheepskin throw is enough to up the drama or create the coziest of spaces.

 

An Elegant Mirror

animal 2

 

Zebra-Mirror1000-1-400x400

 

MirrorOstrich_cherry1000

 

We love a gorgeous mirror and adding a mirror with a skin or hide clad frame is a subtle way to add all the interest skins and hides allow. We carry mirrors clad in zebra, cow and ostrich hide. The cherry ostrich mirror is far and away, my favorite. Gorgeous!

 

A Custom Piece

 

 

LookBook2015113-2-400x500

 

If you’re bold enough, go for an ostrich clad statement piece like this pretty cabinet. We specialize in ostrich clad pieces and can create one-of-a-kind furniture in a stunning array of colors.

AccessoriesScreen-Shot-2016-09-07-at-11.59.02-PM (1)

Screen-Shot-2016-09-08-at-12.00.38-AM

But if that’s asking too much, you can always try small accessories my a box or tray. It will add that splash of interest without the huge commitment.

Glamourous, glorious bathrooms

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on Glamourous, glorious bathrooms

shower-senufo-stool

 

Bathrooms are a mighty practical room. And perhaps it’s because of their function that they’re not always given design love. But even if you don’t have the space to create a spa-like retreat, you can still make simple and inexpensive changes to elevate the space above mere function.

Organic Materials

Architectural-digest-african-stools

See how the inclusion of antique African stools immediate soften the space? Including organic materials like wood or shell helps to balance the stark use of glass and stone. Shop our African Stools here.

Lighting

Snob-zenza-pendant-WC

Statement lighting is another simple and quick fix that will immediately transform even the smallest powder room. Swap out those builder’s choice fixtures for something that makes an impact. Zenza pendants are perfect for this. The cascading light patterns they create immediately soften a room, making the space relaxing and peaceful.bathroom-lightingRemember when using lights in a bathroom to ensure they meet the standard for a high moisture area.

Baskets

african-baskets-for-washroom

Handwoven baskets are another way to add texture and soften a stark bathroom space. They also are a wonderfully functional item that help declutter a space by hiding away toiletries, towels, dirty laundry and more. This is a dead simple way to create visual interest and solve storage problems. Shop our Baskets here. 

 

 

 

Displaying Textile Art in the Home

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design | Comments Off on Displaying Textile Art in the Home

African-embroidered-textile

 

Across cultures, time and the world, textile arts have been a powerful means of personal and cultural expression. Far more than fashion, many weavings and embroideries from Africa contain important narratives about politics, religion and history are included in intricate and beautiful pieces. To read more, check out our African Textiles 101 here.

African-Baskets

More than just pillows, curtains, bedspreads and carpets, textile arts are a feast for the senses and take incredible skill and imagination to create. They lend a space pattern, texture, color and often three dimensional shape. I am a huge fan of hanging these as you would display art in your home.

Displaying textiles can be tricky. Sometimes it’s hard to create a look that doesn’t scream handicrafts. Here are a few tips.

Go For Scale

African-Mud-Cloth

Textile art is a great way to make major impact using size and scale. Hang a large piece piece to create a focal point in the room. Because textiles are created in a range of sizes, they can be perfect for oddly shaped spaces, accent walls, as headboards and over furniture.

 

Framed

framed-textiles

While hanging on rods really helps you appreciate the intricate texture and skill that’s gone into creating a piece, framing pieces also works well. This is an especially good display technique for antique pieces of cloth that require special preservation. You can group several different textile pieces together, creating cohesion when you use the same frame across the collection.

4f6c24af8940f247bf684ddd8c0fe777

Be sure to go with a glass that is high quality and low reflection in order to be able to fully appreciate all the pieces have to offer.

 

How To Hang Art in Your Home

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , | Comments Off on How To Hang Art in Your Home

 

African Luxe - Cluster of African Masks of various sizes hung together on a wall

Do you ever thumb your way through interior design magazines and marvel at how art is displayed on the walls of these gorgeous homes? It looks easy enough to create a salon style collection of hangings, but when it comes time to recreate the look at home, the results can look sloppy and hackneyed if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are a few pointers to help you get that art onto walls to be admired as it should be.

SIZE AND SCALE

oversized-art

The biggest error I see people making is not understanding what size art a room demands. The wrong size art in a room will throw everything off. Typically folks hang a too-small piece in a room say over the sofa or mantle. If your desired display piece isn’t the right size, try grouping a few pieces together to get the right scale. Play with the grouping on the floor first, before putting nails in your wall.

You also want to ensure pieces are hung at eye level, or that at least your showstopper piece is. Most galleries hang their art at about 58 inches from the ground. That means, in general, the centre of the artwork should be at 58 inches.  To get the placement right, there’s some math to do: Measure the distance between the wire and the top of the frame, and measure the height of the art and divide it in half. Measure 58 inches on the wall, add the measurement of half the art’s height and subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. The nail will go the nail here.

picture-ledge

This 58 inch rule works too when you’re hanging a picture ledge. But disregard the rule if folks won’t be standing to admire the piece. In a room primarily used for sitting, the perspective will change and you should keep this in mind.

CLUSTERING ART WORK

art-2

 

Clustering or grouping pieces on the wall is another way to get the impact and scale you need. I especially love the look of clustered Juju feather headdresses and baskets hung on the wall.

cluster-art-wall

Salon style is the perfect way to make a statement, especially if you have a large bare wall on which to create a grand display. Hang the largest piece show stopping piece in the middle, at eye level (58″), and then build out. It’s okay if it’s not symmetrical it’s okay if your frames are all mis-matched, in fact that’s generally preferable. It’s also okay to mix media here: display a basket, a headdress, ceramics in with your line drawings, posters, prints, pictures and paintings.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-29-at-12.42.30-AM

The grid is a great way to make a bold statement. In this case all frames should match and each should be spaced 2 to 3 inches apart from one another. The grid works to give you the scale of a singular piece of art but allows admirers to focus in on each one. When measuring to hang a grid, lay out the frames on the floor first. You’ll need to use the measurement of the full display to map out where each piece is going.

KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND

art-kids-room

Furniture hung in children’s spaces should be at their eye level. Likewise, if you’re hanging art in a room where visitors are likely to be seated, hang things slightly lower.

Have fun with your art! It’s meant to be admired!

How to Create An Antique Modern Mix

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on How to Create An Antique Modern Mix
Darryl Carter

Mixing styles is a great way to reflect your personality. It says your fun and adventurous, culturally and historically savvy. But there are certainly wrong ways to go about it. Here are a few tips that allow you to mix interior design styles without looking totally off your rocker.

PICK A MOOD

The See-Through House

If you want to mix styles from different eras and different cultures, often times the best thing to do is to pick a mood. If you’re going for something warm and casual, pick warm and casual materials. For antiques, lighter color woods will help you achieve this look. If you’re going for traditional, choose darker woods like mahogany.

IT’S ABOUT UNBALANCE

ferry-feat-interor-new-york-dining-room

It’s not about giving equal time and equal weight to every design element you want to include. Rather choose a dominant style and then accent with a secondary one. Love the antique mismatched farm tables in this decidedly modern space. These function to just warm up the space.

TEXTILES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

third and grace chair

Look at this chair! Kuba cloth inspired patterned textile with gold painted frame. Yes please! There’s nothing that says “stuffy Victorian” about this chair. This is a phenomenal way of combining design elements and eras in one piece of furniture.  Choose one special piece that will become a focal point and have fun!

PICK A COLOR PALETTE

poetryworld-house-dining-living-room
the-apartment-living-room

Another way to effortlessly combine design styles, eras and elements is to commit to a color palette. These rooms marry all sorts of materials, centuries and shapes but each is cohesive because the mood and color choice is cohesive.

What’s your favorite rule when it comes to combining styles?

Behind the Scenes on a Buying Trip

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design, Travel | Comments Off on Behind the Scenes on a Buying Trip

landscape-south-africa

 

Today a fun peak behind the scenes while Denise travels to South African and Cameroon. She makes the trip several times a year to bring back all the one-of-a-kind handmade goodies you find on African Luxe. Above gives a sense at the wonder and beauty of the South African landscape. Ahh, to live somewhere where mountains were part of my day…

stone-bird-man-snob

This is the Bird Man. An amazing sculpture who works primarily with rock and stone. Can you believe these beauties are carved by hand to create such lovely, light and character-filled pieces?

stone-bird-in-lucite1-400x599

Once she’s back, Denise likes to gold leaf the beaks and perches of these winged beauties and then plant them in a sturdy lucite block. The result is a whimsical home accessory, something delicate and yet substantial all at once.

Monkeybiz-studio-snob

monkeybiz-large-animal-studio

 

No visit to South Africa would be complete without a visit to the MonkeyBiz workshop and boutique. Denise picked out some real beauties including human forms and larger scale beaded sculptures. Denise says it’s always such a pleasure to speak with the artists and see all the lovely works together in one place. I love this large scale owl! The skill, time and artistry involved in the making of a piece this big, this patterned makes my head spin!

cafe-artwork-landscape-Snob

cafe-artwork-snob-blog

These pictures are from various cafes Denise stumbled upon during her trip. They are magnificent, aren’t they? They capture both culture abd the beauty of the human form so perfectly.

metal-birds-snob-blog

Birds-1

During one of her wanders, Denise came across these recycled metal work birds. She couldn’t resist and brought a flock back with her. Above they adorn the showroom floor. These would work well as indoor or outdoor accessories. Each is imbued with such personality.

African Luxe - south africa landscape picture

 

Finally a stop in Cameroon, Denise went a little wild, buying up Juju feather headdresses, tonga and senufo stool artifacts, weavings, Namji dolls, sculpture and more. I can’t wait to see these pieces adorning the showroom in the coming weeks!

Marisa Tomei, Style Maven

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design, Media | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Marisa Tomei, Style Maven

ELLE_20DECOR_20Marisa_20Tomei_20living_20room2_photo_20by_20Douglas_20Friedman.0

 

We keep up with our design magazines of course. We love to learn about interior design talent and see gorgeous new products and interpretations on style, architecture and home decor.  A few months ago, flipping through Elle Decor, we were totally smitten by the cover story on Marisa Tomei.

gallery-1454701364-edc030116tomei01-copy

 

On the cover, there she was sleek and sophisticated in her Manhattan apartment that is total Hollywood glamour, but also so very warm and inviting. It’s sumptuous and colorful, character-filled but totally balanced.

Check out her sofa covered in Kuba cloth! I loved seeing this textile used in this way.  Read our primer on African textiles if you want to learn more about how this amazing textile is created. The richness of earthy coppers and browns in the Kuba cloth are tamed by the neutrals of the Moroccan rug and marble and lucite coffee table. And while balance is a wonderful thing, the textile is also augmented by the turquoise velvet and rich orange leather of the floor pillows.

elle_decor_marisa_tomei_living_room_photo_by_douglas_friedman_fb2c26152ce3f50ca00d1c7833445585.today-inline-large

 

In the background hung as art are a trio of ceremonial marriage curtains decked out in cowrie shells. These would be quite old and sourced, likely in South Africa. In my travels and in my collecting, I’ve only come across three. She’s got a great eye and clearly knows the culture and aesthetics of Africa.

mt-6

In the Elle Decor 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 hours online at ebay and other online auctioneer sites. It’s a skill she comes by honestly, having spent many hours watching her mom collect and refinish furniture.

 

marisa1

Marisa merges new and old with such a deft hand. Antiques, modern furniture and art, and mid century beauties are brought together with objets from around the world that contribute their voice and story to 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. It is eclectic and sensual, cozy and elegant, and obviously a reflection of the person in the space.

All images via Elle Decor. Visit Elle Decor to read the full story and see the full image gallery.

Will it Fit? How to Measure Your Space When You’re Moving Furniture

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged | Comments Off on Will it Fit? How to Measure Your Space When You’re Moving Furniture

oversized-art

Whether you love scouring flea and antique markets or can’t hit delete on those furniture daily deal emails, there are lots of reasons why that magical furniture unicorn just can’t be passed up. Why just this weekend I fell in love with a gorgeous new dining table. I wasn’t looking for a new table at all, but I  simply couldn’t say no. It was an unusual set of circumstances and over the course of two days we needed to move the current table out and welcome the new beauty in.

charcoal-wardrobe-small

 

But while the ultimate deal or spectacular find may be hard to pass up, it’s a great idea to keep some measurements on hand to ensure the piece will actually fit into your home. Not in your room, but across the threshold or up the dang stairs.  All too often we’ve heard from clients who were swept away by a piece without realizing that though their great room has soaring ceilings and room to spare, navigating the entry way, the low hanging the lighting and the character-filled pillar means that new armoire ain’t making it in.

forest-canopy-bed

Likewise large dining tables, king size mattresses, sectional sofas and entertainment units are those pieces that are constant troublemakers for movers. So we advise you to 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

With older buildings and homes especially, 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. With condos and lofts too, you have to remember to take into consideration the clearance from elevator to opposite wall both in the lobby and on your floor. Be sure to check condo and city by-laws around deliveries that may be another obstacle to getting your piece delivered. From exceptionally narrow streets that can’t accommodate 18-wheelers, to time-of-day restrictions for delivery trucks, it’s worth crossing all your Ts. Not doing so can be costly.

oversized-sectional

 

And while you’re at the market or on the site, be sure to figure out if the piece disassembles for delivery. If it does, get the measurement for the biggest pieces. If spatial relations isn’t your strong suit, have your measurements on hand for both the piece and your home and give these to the delivery service to work out.

Here’s a Measuring Guide to Get you Started

Screen-Shot-2016-04-04-at-1.23.33-PM

 

  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!

Welcoming Spring

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged | Comments Off on Welcoming Spring

texture 3

Done winter! We’re done over here! We are ready for spring. Along with a spring clean, one of the best ways to welcome the new season into our lives, are some quick updatse and switcheroos with our decor. From bringing in some greenery, to changing up  throws and pillows, and updating table top accessories, there’s lots you can do to celebrate the new season.

Flower Power

horns above door

If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful way to welcome spring, bring in some greenery and blooms. Nothing livens up a space like little bouquets scattered throughout your home. If your up to the task, bring in some big thriving potted plants. If this requires too much of a green thumb, even including floral patterned textiles and art can do just the trick.

Eggs

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 1.06.29 PMCreamOstrichEggs

Eggs are such a a sign of spring, and signal of new life. And they make a delicate and beautiful accessory in the home. I love this trio of ostrich eggs on a stand. They are stately yet delicate. A beautiful sign of spring time.

Shop our Eggs and Shells here

Birds of a Feather

Blue walls white headdress

Ardmore-Pillow-Bright

 

Birds! Birds! Birds! I miss standing under trees full of birds in song. Whether it’s a return from their winter migration, their beautiful bright colors, birds are such a sign of spring for me. Why not celebrate spring by showing your love for your winged friend? A dramatic feather headdress, some art, or even a simple pillow. Nothing will sweep those winter blahs out and welcome in the new season.

Shop our Headdresses here

Shop our Pillows here

How do you celebrate the changing seasons?

A Primer on African Textiles

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design, Travel | Comments Off on A Primer on African Textiles



pinterest pic 1

Ever see gorgeous African textiles in design magazines and wonder where they came from? 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, like a coat of arms. Here we’ve put together a little primer on a few of the designs that have made it into North American interiors. Because while we are thrilled to share these gorgeous designs with a wider audience, we want to do so in a way that honors their history and culture. These are NOT just trends.

Mud Cloth from Mali

pinterest 2

Mud cloth (bogolanfini, or bogolan)  is a culturally important tradition in Mali dating back to the 12th century. Cotton fabrics are created on special looms and  are dyed using fermented clays and muds, that give the cloth the rich dark colours and patterns. Historically, the cotton fabrics are woven by men, while the intricate patterning created in the dyeing process is done by women.

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.  As I leaf through designer magazines and surf online, I’m seeing Mud Cloth everywhere these days.

Kuba Textiles

light-fixtures

kuba cloth - design sponge

Kuba cloths are generally rectangular or square pieces of woven raffia that are embellished with embroidered geometric patterns from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). 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 product are pieces that resemble velvet in texture.

The pattern and repetition you see in Kuba cloth tell complex stories that are a source of great interest to modern mathematicians who are excited by the geometric language these textiles speak. The geometric patterning in Kuba cloth 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

kente-cloth

Kente cloth is made by by the Asanti people of Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire.  Kente cloth gets its name from kenten, for basket, because its woven look is similar to the basket weaving. The fabric itself is woven using specialized looms and this particular textile is known for its brightly coloured and intricate patterns. Every colour used in Kente cloth carries 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.

Kente Cloth-500x500

Add to this that various color combinations also carry special meanings and you’ve got a hisotrically and narrative rich textile. I love the richness of stories and cultures each piece holds. They really are one of kind for this reason.

 

 These textiles should never be treated just as home trends, but understood in their context of history, geography and culture. I love to listen to the faraway voices that echo through my home with each of these treasures on display.

Interior Design Trend Predictions for 2016

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on Interior Design Trend Predictions for 2016

00f804d9544393886aa3accceb0f9429

While I don’t necessarily like to follow trends, I favor timeless and unique pieces and style, I’m going to go ahead an make some style predictions for 2016.

Geometrics

Moroccan-Table

Retro geometric prints are going to be in for 2016. We’ll see this in tile choice, rugs and textiles and even in the shape of furniture. I do love how these patterns immediately add all sorts of level of interest to a room. Through pattern and colour and shape, there’s dimension in one fell swoop.

Think Pink

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 7.18.57 PM

 

main.original.640x0c

Pinks from fuchsia to blush, even pink infused metallics like rose gold and coppers are going to be celebrated and celebrated properly. Sadly, I find pink is such a misunderstood color. Relegated as girly, and not girly-nice, but girly as in too childish and too feminine. Depending on the shade and styling, pink can be powerful or soft, sophisticated or playful, and yes, certainly romantic. I hope to see bold uses of pink in 2016, like a daring fuchsia Juju Feather headdress or in an over-sized piece of furniture.

Eco Chic

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.34.23 AM

It’s long past time to even have a choice about paying attention to how our furniture, accessories and art are made. Sustainable and organic materials are going to dominate in 2016, as they should. It’s going to be about upcycing, reclaiming, salvaging and a return to traditional techniques, not only for the betterment of the planet, but also because this imbues pieces with a sense of authenticity. As the digital age creeps into more and more of daily life, the need to surround ourselves with things from nature and made by hand will become ever more important.

 

Honorable Mention: Marble

IMG_2495 (1)

I also think we’re going to see a return of certain luxury stones like marble. We’ll see it as a top for coffee tables, as blacksplash and wall tile. I think we will likely see more interesting veining too. Love, love, love the pink in this kitchen backsplash!

What do you think? Do any of these trends speak to you? Do you see things differently?

The Story Behind the Namji Doll

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Travel | Comments Off on The Story Behind the Namji Doll

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 4.43.06 PM

Dolls have long been a treasured plaything, talisman and display piece across the globe and throughout history. They’re among the earliest toys created for children, designed to teach care and help with the development of empathy. Every culture has its own traditional doll and throughout the centuries they’ve been fashioned from everything from wood to clay, soft versions weaved, sewed and knit,  stuffed with paper and grass.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 4.43.34 PM

African Luxe has a gorgeous collection of dolls made by the Namji People of Cameroon. We have both centuries’ old artifacts and new dolls that are made using traditional techniques by our master doll-maker. The Namji dolls are a sort of fertility amulet. They were presented to brides on their wedding day to speed the chance of pregnancy. Men too would be gifted with them. Each would carry them around, as they would a baby in a wrap-style carrier. They are also handed down to children and become an honored plaything.

traditional namji doll split image

These beauties are hand-carved from African rosewood from a single block of wood. They’re adorned with all sorts of beautiful pieces – tassels of leather, fabric and metal strips, colorful beads, coins and cowrie shells. These adornments are said to give each doll protective powers that they bestow on to their owners. How wonderful a mythology is this to pass on to children?

Baby namji dolls

The detail that goes into making these is really something. I love their expressions, they do seem as one-of-a-kind as people. Grouped together you can’t help but think they’re sharing some special story!

 

namji doll 2

In the modern home, they make a fab table top display. I love having accessories around the home that tell such fascinating and rich stories. These are what make a house a home, what give our interiors a special voice and warmth.

Dolls – and certainly these – conjure up the magic  of childhood and echo the cultural voice of their makers and land.

Pretty Please: Holiday Gift Guide

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Pretty Please: Holiday Gift Guide

gift-wrap-ideas-12

image via Apartment 34

Tis’ the season of giving.  Today we’ve put together a handy gift guide for everyone on your list who could use a little luxury at this or any other time of year. Whether you want to get something special for a loved one, or are looking for the perfect hostess gift, here are a few ideas that are sure to wow.

Grey-Ostrich-Feather-Pillow-1000

Ostrich Pillow in Grey – Available here

How about something soft and decadent to warm up their home during the cold winter months? These beautiful pillows are handmade in South Africa and covered in elegant ostrich feathers that have been dyed a versatile and soft shade of grey. Perfect for any decor!

EthiopianProcessionalCross_25inEthiopian Cross- Available here

This stunning and intricate cross is the perfect gift for someone who appreciates beautiful objects and unique art. Hand-forged and made out of nickel-plated brass, each piece is an example of impeccable craftsmanship.

Cow-Horn-on-Lucite

Cow Horns on Lucite- Available Here

These naturally gorgeous and sculptural cow horns are an easy decorating piece imbued with rich colour and texture. Each horn is mounted on a lucite stand making it a breeze to display anywhere. Available as a single horn, or in a set.

Namji_LadyRed

Lady Red Doll- Available here

A Namji doll is a symbol of fertility and harmony for a couple or family. Their whimsical appearance and gorgeous beadwork make them a perfect gift for the recipient to treasure. The dolls come in a number of styles and colours and are all handcrafted in Cameroon.  

ForestGreenHeaddress

Forest Green Headdress – Available here

A Juju feather headdress is a great gift for anyone who loves big drama. It can look beautiful hung on a focal wall, over a headboard, or anywhere else you need an extra pop of colour. The dying process of the feathers means each headdress has slight variations, making each a one of a kind. To learn more about how these headdresses are made and their traditional uses you can find more information

here

.

SpringbokChangePurse

Springbok Change Purse- Available here

Sometimes the smallest gifts are the most appreciated. This change purse made of springbok hide will be an exotic luxury that is also a useful accessory. This purse is so gorgeous it is equally well suited to being tucked in a larger bag, or displayed on a dressing room table.

Hope you have found the perfect thing to make someone’s day and season extra special. Plenty of additional gift ideas can be found throughout the shop, so have fun exploring!  

Making Artful Use of Animal Prints

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on Making Artful Use of Animal Prints

animal 1

image via bungalow classic

You know that saying a little goes a long way? This is often a good thing to keep in mind when styling with animal prints. Choose one or two pieces, like a zebra print mirror or a snakeskin console table and you’ll add instant visual interest. Of course, there are always those who balk at traditions like this, and sometimes more can be great too. So without any further delay, here are a few of our favourite animal print looks.

animal 2

image via Apartment Therapy

Zebra print sometimes gets a bad reputation for coming off a little dated or tacky, but we think it can be super chic in the right space. Besides, what’s not to love about black and white? The zebra print mirror pictured above adds glamour and drama to an otherwise tame room.

zebra mirrorHorizontal Zebra Mirror- Available here

zebra mirror 2Vertical Zebra Mirror- Available here

animal 3

image via Mimosa Lane

The intricate and unique patterns in snakeskin make it a luxurious and beautiful way to bring a touch of the exotic into your space. Due to the size constraint of snakeskin you will often see it applied to small surfaces like  decor accessories, but we think a snakeskin covered table really shows off the patterning and texture.

snake skin console

Snakeskin Table- Available here

animal 4

image via my domaine

You often come across cowhide in rustic or country inspired interiors, but it can be equally at home in more traditional or elegant rooms. Not only is cowhide gorgeous to look at, it also feels amazing, so using it to upholster a chair or bench is a fantastic idea.

Cowhide-Bench1000-500x500Cowhide Bench- Available here

Cowhide-Ottoman-500x500Cowhide Ottoman- Available here

animal 5

image via Marcus Design

Springbok is another hide that feels as beautiful as it looks. The distinct white stripe is what sets it apart and the tan and brown shades in it make it versatile. Most often you see springbok utilized as throw pillows, upholstery or small rugs.

Springbok Daybed

Springbok Daybed- Available here

Springbok-Pillow-500x500Springbok Throw Pillow- Available here

4 Places to Add Extra Seating

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on 4 Places to Add Extra Seating

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 9.58.43 AM

image via Queensland Homes

If you’re planning on entertaining for the holidays you may be wondering how to make room for everyone. Today we’ll be looking at some clever ways to add some extra seating throughout your home. The best thing about many of these seating options is that they can be moved from room to room whenever you need an extra spot for guests to sit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 9.59.11 AM

via Style me Pretty

The Living Room

If space is at a premium it can be challenging to find a place to store extra seating, that’s when multi-purpose options can be your best course of action. An ottoman can double as a place to sit and as a coffee table or side table. If you have empty space under your existing coffee table you can store a shorter ottoman underneath freeing up precious floor space.

african Luxe cowhide ottomanCowhide Ottoman – available here

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 9.55.18 AM

via this is glamourous

The Bedroom

A bench or a pair of stools at the foot of the bed can make a bedroom feel more welcoming and relaxing. Look for stools or benches that are roughly the same height as the bed or a little shorter. For an opulent touch consider seating upholstered in hide or leather.

Emerald-OttomanEmerald Ottoman – available here

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 9.59.23 AM

 

via deco atelier

The Bathroom

Besides giving you a place to sit, one of the benefits to having a small stool or seat in the bathroom is it can sometimes make the room feel more spacious. A wooden stool placed beside the tub is a great place to for your towel or a book.

Braid-Stool-11000

Braid Stool- available here

African Luxe Asanti Stool - elephant form

Dark Wood Elephant Stool- available here

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 9.59.51 AM

In an Entryway

One of our favourite looks for an entryway is a bench paired with a tall console table, as pictured above. This versatile combination gives you plenty of surface area for mail and keys to be dropped off as well as a comfy place to sit and put on or remove shoes or boots. In the event of an extra guest a bench can easily be added to the dining table or living room.

African Luxe cowhide bench on metal x frame

Cowhide Bench – available here

 

Styling a Bookcase- Tips and Tricks

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , | Comments Off on Styling a Bookcase- Tips and Tricks

African Luxe - stylish library in the hall
via Home Bunch

The Bibliophiles Dilemma

What to do with the books? That’s probably the first question that needs asking before you embark on a bookcase makeover. Vertical stacking, colour blocking and grouping books together, these are all options. Unless you have an inner librarian who prefers their books alphabetical and neatly shelved, thank you very much.

African Luxe - stylish library - displaying stacked books with your objets d'art and accessories

via Bliss at Home

Create an Unexpected Backdrop

Decorating the back of the bookcase is a surprisingly easy way to add colour and pattern into your room. You can use paint, wallpaper, or even grasscloth (photo above) to cover the back of each shelf. This is an easy, affordable project that can be completed in a weekend and will add major impact.

African Luxe - stacking and layering objects and books together to create an eclectic, textural, and eye-catching display

image via my domaine

The Art of the Vignette

Mastering the art of the vignette is a breeze, and it can be one of the quickest way to make your bookcase look like it was styled by a pro. Start with a grouping of objects that you love (ie. small paintings, bowls, books, objets d’art) and experiment with arranging them in an eye catching grouping. Feel free to layer or stack, add or subtract, until you land on something eye catching.

African Luxe - how to style a library - IKEA billy bookcase hack

via the Makerista

Build it Up

Another great styling trick is to add moulding around a bookcase to create the illusion of a built in. You can use moulding that goes all the way up to the ceiling or just add a few inches to the top of your bookcase. A trip to the hardware store and some basic carpentry skills should be all you need to give your bookcases a substantial upgrade. The Makerista has a fabulous tutorial on how to use three inexpensive bookcases and transform them into something gorgeous.

 

African Luxe - shop this look

  1. Black and White Boxes
  2. Cow Horn on Wood Block
  3. Zhosa Basket
  4. Cowrie Doll
  5. Ostrich Egg Trio- Grey

Accessorize Artfully

An expertly styled bookcase needs a few unique and beautiful accessories. Above we’ve pictured a few of our favourite items for layering on a shelf. Remember to have fun, be creative and let your own personal style be your guide.

Cozy Up to Luxurious Fall Textiles

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Fashion, Interior Design | Tagged , | Comments Off on Cozy Up to Luxurious Fall Textiles

African Luxe - cozy fall textiles

via mechant studios

September is here and with it comes the first hints of fall, and for many of us a fresh start to a new year of school, work and projects. It is also a fantastic time to start thinking about breathing some new life into your home by adding some warm and luxe pieces that will get you through the cooler months.

African Luxe - fall textiles pillows and throws

via camel and grey

The Perfect Fall Sweater

When the leaves start to change and the temperature begins to dip adding the perfect fall sweater into your wardrobe can keep you warm and help you look polished. The same goes for adding textiles to your home; whether it’s a new bench upholstered with a luxurious hide or a few new pillows, adding one or two pieces can make your home fall-ready as well as inviting and beautiful.  

African Luxe - mixing textiles to create warmth and interst

via apartment therapy

Mix Patterns

Don’t be afraid to mix patterns liberally. Sometimes pieces that don’t seem like they go together can create magic when placed side by side or layered on top of each other. The trick to mixing patterns in a way that feels effortless, and not crazy, is to use a neutral base, like a solid-coloured couch or bedspread, layered with mix-matched throw pillows and blankets.

African Luxe unexpected touches to pull a room together

via design sponge

The Unexpected

When adding textiles to your room think beyond the usual spots and try hanging a rug on a wall or adding some casual pillows on the floor beside the coffee table. Not only will it add warmth, it will add drama.

 

African Luxe - add more more more to get the cozy look for fall. here's how

via aphrochic

More, more, more

Often in the summer we pare things down and crave simplicity, but in the fall and winter it can be nice to heap on the layers and textures to create a cozy environment that we are happy to snuggle up in and enjoy a cup of tea or a good book.

Here are some luxe textiles that are made for the beauty of fall.

African Luxe - products to get the look for fall

  1. cowhide bench
  2. springbok hide
  3. kuba orange pillow
  4. Mali Batik and Suede Pillow
  5. Ostrich Pillow

Pendant Lighting Guide Featuring Zenza

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged | Comments Off on Pendant Lighting Guide Featuring Zenza

African Luxe Zenza light display in front of mirrorvia Zenza

Hanging Lighting can be a bit of a mystery to many of us. Getting the proportion just right and deciding how and where to hang a chandelier or pendant can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide to many common lighting scenarios. First off, we’ll recommend getting a licensed electrician to tackle any wiring you may need to do. Some things, especially those involving electricity, are best left to the pros.

African Luxe zenza intricate ball pendantIntricate Ball Pendant- found here

Things to consider when choosing a pendant lamp:

How high are your ceilings? The height of your ceilings will often determine the size of pendant you can install.

What is the effect you want to achieve? Do you want your lighting to make a statement or blend into the existing decor.

What kind of light do you need? Whether you’re hoping to shed some light on a worksurface or evoke a specific mood in a room you should choose your lighting accordingly.

African Luxe zenza pendants featured in Style at Home magazine

via Style at Home

In the Living Room

One or more pendant lights hung over a coffee table or elsewhere in the room can finish a room beautifully. The common height for hanging a pendant light is 12-20 inches below an 8-foot ceiling.

The image above shows how a cluster of pendants can have a wonderfully dramatic effect in an open area.

 

African Luxe large Zenza pendant over dining table

Above a Dining Table

It’s recommended that you hang a pendant 28 to 32 inches over a table. This height will vary depending on the size of your table, pendant size and shape, and personal preference.  As a general rule of thumb

a fixture above a dining room table should be no wider than the width of the table minus 12 inches. For extra impact, or with an especially long dining table, try hanging two fixtures instead of one.

 

African Luxe Zenza pendants in the kitchen

via HGTV

 

Kitchen Lighting

When hanging pendant lights over a counter, island or bar a grouping of three is typical. This provides ample light for worksurfaces and the visual symmetry is pleasing to the eye.  All rules can be broken though; if you have chosen larger or smaller lights, or are working with a larger or smaller area, you may want to go with more or less.

Master Bed Roomvia desire to inspire

Bedroom Sparkle

Hanging a pendant light in a bedroom can add drama and romance to a bedroom.  You don’t want to be staring up into an bare bulb though, so a closed bottom pendant works best, or position the light beside the bed. Another option is hanging a pendant low over a nightstand to provide a unique reading light.

 

African Luxe bathroom zenzavia HGTV

In a Bathroom

The right light in what is often a small room can do wonders to create a cohesive and interesting space. A pendant hung above the sink that casts a diffused and flattering light will make a guest or master bathroom feel welcoming.

African Luxe Zenza pendants

  1. Romance Intricate Pendant  
  2. Moroccan Intricate Pendant- Large
  3. Bloom Pendant- Medium
  4. Belly Intricate Pendant- Large
  5. Drop Pendant – Small

Seaside Style

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged | Comments Off on Seaside Style

African Luxe beach style

via odi et amo

The hot days of summer have us dreaming of the sun, sand and waves of the beach. Spending a day down by the water is enough to centre the mind and invigorate the spirit. Even if you live miles from the nearest ocean that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some coastal beauty into your decor. Today we’re offering up some seaside inspiration to bring the beach to you.

African Luxe beach style insidevia coastal style

Exotic shells can be displayed almost anywhere to instantly evoke the ocean and add some sculptural beauty to your decor. A collection of unique specimens of shells, like the tiger shell and bronze madagascar shells below,  can also make wonderful conversation starters.

 

African Luxe Tiger shell on stand

Tiger Shell- available here

African Luxe bronze Madagascar shellsMadagascar Bronze Shells- available here

African Luxe coastal style via sf girl by the bay

Beachy style is a staple of summer decorating but it can easily go kitschy if you add too many sailboats, stripes and anchors. Luckily there are ways to bring that beachy cool feel into your space in a more subtle way. Try sticking with natural textures and materials like shell, untreated wood and stone. These elements, paired with a soft shade or even simple white, can give you an understated seaside feel.

African Luxe grey stone or rock cushion by Ronel JordaanMedium Grey Felt Rock- available here

African Luxe Blue Pillows

Blue Pillows- available here

African Luxe textured woven accessories to bring the seaside invia my paradissi

One of our favourite things about decorating in the summer is that you are encouraged to be relaxed. Like the room pictured above, sometimes simplicity can be so refreshing. The layered baskets and woven objects with the blue and white is so soothing and perfectly summer.

African Luxe magazine basket

African Luxe fishing basket can be mounted on the wall

Get the look with our range of hand-woven natural grass baskets. Smart storage, gorgeous texture and the beachy organic style is perfect for summer.

 

 

Bead by Bead

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design, Travel | Comments Off on Bead by Bead

African Luxe beaded artvia Ubuhle Beautiful Beads

The art of beadwork is practiced all over the world, but some of the most beautiful examples of this artform can be found throughout the African continent.  Beads are strung by hand and made from a wide variety of materials including glass, ceramic, shell and bone.

The gorgeous piece pictured above was created by Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela. Ntobela is a member of a new generation of master beaders called Ubuhle Beautiful Beads. They create what they call Ndwango, which are paintings made of beads using traditional techniques in a contemporary way.

Here are a few additional examples of masterful beadwork, both traditional and modern.

 

bead by bead 2via africaafrika

There is phenomenal color and texture in this beaded mask made of glass beads from Cameroon.

bead by bead 3via Five Colleges

An Intricately beaded tunic from the Yoruba peoples. Made of glass beads and coconut shells. The Yoruba are well known for their beaded headdresses that are often fantastically intricate and whimsical.

 

bead by bead 4via Bella Naija

Here is a headpiece and neckpiece made by Anita Quansah, a UK based jewelry artist who draws inspiration from her African heritage. The combination of feathers and jewel-toned beads make for some stunning statement pieces.

You can also bring the beauty of beadwork into your home to add texture and colour. Here are a few beaded items that can be added to any space to create an eclectic feel.

 

Screen shot 2015-07-10 at 12.24.36 PM

 

  • Blue Beaded Art- found here
  • Beaded Ceremonial Headdress- found here
  • Bone Necklace- found here
  • Blue Namji Doll- found here
  • Bean Pillow- found here
  • Hausa Basket- found here

Luxe Bedroom Accessories

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Comments Off on Luxe Bedroom Accessories

African Luxe bedroom scene

via Kishani Perera

In ideal circumstances a bedroom should be a restful space that instantly makes you feel at peace, but oftentimes bedrooms are forgotten in favour of more public spaces in the home. So how do you create a luxe and relaxing bedroom? Sometimes all you need is a few artfully layered accessories or a pop of colour. Here are a few of our favourite rooms that use texture, patterned accessories and colour to create beautiful spaces that beckon you to dive under the covers.

 

African Luxe bedroom scene with headdress

via design mom

Bold colour and the soft texture of a  juju headdress and fringed bedspread make for an opulent and inviting space.

 

African Luxe bedroom scene showcasing multiple textiles

via design hunter

Pattern can be intimidating, but this is an excellent example of how sticking with a common colour palette allows you to combine disparate patterns with ease.

 

African Luxe bedroom scene with mounted horns and handwoven basket and pouffe

via remodelista

Here is another example of how layering accessories with interesting texture can make an otherwise plain space feel dynamic.

 

African Luxe mud cloth bedspread and many throw pillows

via Lonny

When in doubt add textiles. A mud cloth blanket, colourful rug or a collection of pillows can give your room instant warmth and visual interest.

Screen shot 2015-07-08 at 11.06.50 AM

  1. Silver Clay Beaded Art- found here
  2. Dome Intricate Pendant Small- found here
  3. Gemsbok Side Table- found here
  4. Zhosa Basket- found here
  5. Springbok Pillow- found here
  6. Forest Green Headdress- found here
  7. Lady Blue Doll- found here

How to Incorporate Texture in Your Interiors

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , | Leave a comment

 

texture 4

Image via Vogue Living Australia

Great furniture. Check. Fabulous accessories. Check. The right lighting. Check.

Of course you need to check these pieces off your list to create a gorgeous interior, but I’d argue it’s including texture that adds that final je ne sais quois element. Texture is what truly elevates a space.

texture 3
This modern family room is made so inviting by the textural elements like the cowhide rug, throw pillows & beaded doll.

Of course every object has an inherent texture to it, like the smoothness of glass, metal and plastic. But what I’m focusing on here is the kind of complex texture added by feathers, unfinished wood, plants, textiles or even beads.Typically pieces with complex texture come from nature.

texture 5

The weaving of grasses, the hand-carved wood stools, the Kuba textiles just ask for hands to reach out and touch them.

What I mean by complex texture is that thing  that makes you want to reach out and touch it. I’m referring to pieces with movement or an intricate pattern. For instance our Juju feather headdresses incorporate this so beautifully.

texture 1

Texture abounds in this room with Juju feather headdresses, a salvaged wood coffee table, greenery and a mix of textiles in the throw pillows. Image via Gravity Interior

These pieces add dimension to your space, creating a lushness and coziness to the room. It’s what makes a modern room suddenly inviting. What elicits that cleansing, relaxing exhale in a sitting room or library. It’s what make a house feel suddenly like a home.

texture 2

 

From leather to wood, feather to fabric, this room is made visually interesting with the use of juxtaposition of textures. Hard and soft, rough and smooth.

So when you’re decorating your space, keep your eye out for a special textural piece. You can always keep it simple by adding potted plants or even cut flowers.

A few tips:
  • Try to include interesting texture in every room. It doesn’t have to be dramatic art, plants, area rugs and throw pillows will do.
  • Balance the space. Don’t add too much to any one area. Accentuate the part of the room where the eye is naturally drawn.
  • Don’t be afraid of color. Even the most modern space can be warmed with a little pop. If monochrome is more your thing, try adding a wood element to warm the space this way.

Mali’s Fabulous Textile Arts

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Culture, Interior Design, Travel | Leave a comment

mali 1

Mali, a land-locked country located in the north east on the continent is the 8th largest country in Africa. Life in Mali can be quite difficult, and it’s certainly a developing country, however it is also one of my absolute favorites. The people are among the warmest and gracious you’ll meet and the food, is simply incredible.

mali 2

Mali is also known for its textile designs. Textile making, both weaving techniques and the print-making, are a long-standing tradition. Many Malians pass down their print-making methods from generation to generation. These methods include intricate tying off and dyeing of sections of material to create bold patterns, images and symbols. In fact some cloths include moral principles and historical references. Here’s a peak into a recent market visit I made.

mali 3

A centuries’ old tradition, all of these textiles are woven, waxed and dyed in small batches  by hand. I absolutely had to take entire bolts of these fabulous batik prints. The dramatic colors and color combinations, the striking patterns. I just knew there would be a market for these in North America.

mali 4

 

And from the market to home, these are what I came up with. I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. Stuffed with down-pillows, these are sure to make a gorgeous addition to soft seated areas.

mali 5

 

Unlike in other regions, in Mali the loom is foot-powered. They create cottons and other fabrics with such deftness and speed. It’s totally mesmerizing and inspiring to watch artisans as they weave their cloth. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s not just cloth they weave, but also the furniture and home accessories. Truly amazing.

mali 6

Here’s a picture to illustrate exactly how the foot-powered loom works. It requires a level of coordination that is mind-boggling.

mali 7

Mali isn’t just known as its textiles. It’s also known for beading. Many contemporary artisans are making beads from clay or carving them from wood. Working with found materials is also common and some beads are made from metal and wire scraps.

mali 8

 

I simply couldn’t resist adding a few choice pieces to my own collection. This necklace is made from beads that are formed with metal scraps. I just adore the shimmer and chunkiness.

Such a rich culture and beautiful people making beautiful things. I take great pride in the way I do business on these buying trips. I love interacting directly with the artists and artisans who make these wares, I don’t go through middlemen (I do use translators in some instances). In the end the transactions are happy ones for all involved and I really feel it when I’m so warmly welcomed back on my return. And I love being able to share the skill, point-of-view and voice of the makers with you here at home.

 

 

How to Set Up Your Foyer

Posted on by Staff / Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

 

African Luxe - Beautifully appointed foyer features hide away seating, a console, striking art and good lighting

 

Image via Anne Hepfer Designs

Let’s start today with some foyer design basics: 

  • When designing your foyer, keep your eye on proportion and function.
  • The space should be clutter-free and inviting.
  • Don’t be afraid to use color and your favorite accessories. Make the space something that makes you happy to be home. After all, you – and your guests – deserve a warm welcome after a day out in the world.

Here’s why we’re talking about the foyer today. It’s a space that is generally overlooked as we think of designing and decorating our homes. And it should not be. It’s one of the most trafficked spaces in our home! It’s the boundary between the outside world and the sanctuary of home! It’s the first impression made on guests! Taken all together, having an area that is dedicated to and functions as the boundary between inside and out is important mentally and practically. You need a place that allows you to prepare yourself for your day out in the world, just as you should be able to shed the worry of the world when you enter.

Afircan Luxe - mirror, funky lighting, cool accessories and basket storage make this a perfect foyer

 

Image via House and Home

The basic anatomy of the foyer should include a mirror, some seating and of course storage. Don’t think that the space has not room for art, accessories, color and personality. After all this is a first impression space and these things are the fashion of the home, the pieces that express who you are and where you’ve been. For small spaces, dashes of personality can be made with great lighting, throw rugs or a small scale funky accessory or two.

African Luxe fishing baskets mounted to the wall are great storage solution for small scale spaces

 

Image via The Marion House Book

Even the tiniest space can accommodate some baskets for quick storage of the season’s most used accessories. If floor space is at a premium, just look up. Our fishing baskets are beautiful mounted to the wall in groups of twos and threes. Consider giving every family member their own basket to cut down on hunting for the right pieces as you head out the door.

African Luxe - consider a striking mirror like our mussel shell mirror which is art and mirror in one

 

African Luxe Blue Mussel Shell Mirror

Whether your foyer is a grand stand alone space or a place you need to carve out as separate from the primary living area, mirrors are practical additions to the foyer. A quick peek helps ensure you’re world-ready. For smaller foyers, the reflection helps the space seem lighter, larger.

African Luxe - foyer with brilliant blue ostrich skin console

 

African Luxe foyer

A console is one hardworking piece of furniture for the foyer. Not only does it create a drop zone for keys, smart phone and other on-the-go items, but extra storage boxes, baskets or even discrete seating can be stored beneath.

 

No Bones About – Skulls and Horns Make Great Home Decor

Posted on by admin / Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

Pillows 23

When you see skull plates, horns and bones in home decor shops do you think nice but how? I’m telling you, these pieces are not just for man caves anymore. Here are a few interiors that include the sleek sexy shapes of bones for a broad range of looks.

polished kudu skull above fire place

Above the mantle is a time honored place for a skull plate. This interior uses lots of white for a chic modern effect, but it is truly brought to life through the celebration of natural elements: gorgeous raw wood table, logs for the fireplace, woven leather seating, wool rug and of course the over the mantle skull.

mounted horns table top

Polished horns mounted in lucite or wood block are a sexy home accessory. Standing tall they add loads of drama. Displayed vertically, horns draw the eye and create beautiful lines and balanced displays.

Dinner 2

If you feel like you can’t quite bring yourself to display bones and horns in their natural form, try a piece made from these materials. I love our horn vessels, bowls and vases. The polished material is naturally iridescent and adds a sophisticated shine to your space.

Bone-Vase-Bowl

Double-Cow-Horn-Lamp-copy

Or a table lamp that incorporates horns in the stand. It’s a quirky and eye catching design, sure to invite oohs and ahhs from your home’s guests.

horn kitchen

This sleek and modern kitchen is the height of sophistication. the mounted skull adds drama and architectural interest and blends seamlessly with the earthy accent color.

horns above door

Another take, this one with a relaxed eclectic vibe, incorporates the mounted skull above the doorway. This certainly isn’t the wood panelled, animal trophied man cave we sometimes think of when we hear “skull plate home accessory”.

So what’s your favorite look? How would you use bones, skulls and horns in your interior?

From Runway to Home – Textiles for Spring 2015

Posted on by admin / Posted in Fashion, Interior Design | Leave a comment

Spring has sprung? We’re still waiting for true signs of spring and definite above zero temps on the east coast. But Maybe it’s time to fake it till we make it.

African Luxe textiles for spring

Coat by Marni

One way to invite spring in, is to change up some accents in our homes. Bringing in new throw pillows is a quick and easy way to fresh up your space with a new season. African Luxe has got you covered with inspired throw pillows in a great variety of textiles.

Bold Florals

African Luxe hand embroidered pillow using colorful silk threads in linen case. Available in a range of colors

Silk embroidered linen pillow

Our textiles are sourced all over Africa.  From South Africa, to Mali, from Senegal to Morocco, Denise’s travels take her to markets across the continent. Her choices this season offer timeless style, but are remarkably on point with fashion’s runway. Above the bold flower print trench by Marni looks similar to our gorgeous linen pillows hand-embroidered with colorful silk threads. These pillows are available in a range of colors, but I’m loving the grey above.

Suede and Fringe and Feathers, Oh My!

Spring 2015 celebrated loads of texture and movement through the use of suede, leather fringe and feathers.

1-suede1 Derek Lam

Derek Lam

Suede-Batik

Suede and Batik Pillow

Soft and sensual, suede is totally in this season. Love the Suede and Batik pillow which marries organic color, texture and pattern. The effect is a piece that will stand out and fit comfortably into your overall decor.

7-fringe1 - feather skirt via vogue

Dries Van Noten

Copy-of-Brown-Ostrich-Oblong-Pillow

Brown Ostrich Feather Pillow

Just plain sexy and fun, this ostrich feather pillow in dark brown adds lightness, volume, texture and color. I love Dries Van Noten’s feather skirt, which adds drama in the same way!

4-fringe1 - leather pillow look

Sonia Rykiel

Leather-Fringe-Pillows

Leather Fringe Pillows

Leather Fringe!! Oh how I love both these looks – Rykiel’s and the leather fringe pillows! Where the pillows are concerned, the understated earth tones help these gems to blend right in with a range of interiors while also adding sensual texture. Love!

The New Black is Blue

5-trends-navy-is-the-new-black-01-calvin-klein-rs15-2861-lg

Spring 2015 made clear that blue is the new black. Like this gorgeous dress by Calvin Klein. We love hues of blue too. From Navies to turquoise, velvets to linen, we’ve got you covered with our range of pillows.

Mali-Pillow

This navy batik pillow is hand-dyed in Mali. It’s that pop of color your soft seating needs for spring.

Explore our pillow section here!

 

 

The Magic of Ronel Jordaan’s Felt Stones and Felt Rocks

Posted on by admin / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

snob - felt rock pillow bedrrom - galerieco

Ronel Jordaan is a world-famous textile designer in South Africa. Her pieces are thoughtful, whimsical and celebrate the natural world. Her wool felt rocks and stones are among my favourite of her designs. Ronel has created an amazing technique to create these pieces which are entirely seamless and include colorful ‘veins’ of sediment created with a wet weaving technique of individual felt wool threads into the larger piece. This detail really helps these felt rocks to echo the look of the real deal. When people come into our showroom, they can’t believe these rocks aren’t real. Then they can’t get over the fact these pieces are actually pillows.  The juxtaposition of hard and soft is truly are extraordinary.

Wondering how you can use felt rocks and felt stones in your décor? Here’s some room inspiration:

snob - felt rock pillows foyer glass house projects

Via Nico Van Der Meulen Architects

Love this look in the ‘Glass House Project’ By Nico Van Der Meulen Architects. The use of multiple rocks in an open foyer that brings the outside in is balanced perfectly with the use of multiple sizes of felt rocks.

Snob felt stones in bedroom

Via Nico Van Der Muelen Architects

This serene and gorgeous bedroom is really pulled together by the use of the felt rocks. The large boulder paired with a smaller stone makes a peaceful addition to a bedroom. Because each rock is worked by hand, no two are alike, just like in nature. Functionally they work as a place to sit or lounge, or even as a side table or ottoman.

Snob felt rocks indoor zen garden 

Here a client creates a fabulous indoor zen garden with a collection of sizes and colors of rocks! Wouldn’t this be the perfect place to meditate, explore your yoga practice or just be alone with your thoughts? The rocks work so well with the veining of the floor tiles.

Snob felt rocks open concept - Houzz

Via Houzz, Forma Designs

Forma Designs who worked on this space chose to scatter multiple larger sized felt rocks throughout the open concept main living area. The felt rocks add sculptural interest and texture to the space.

snob outdoor felt rocks

 

Hard to believe, but you can order these rocks in an ‘outdoor’ felt material that allows them to be exposed to the elements and still hold up. I love the look of these felt rocks on a patio.

Snob felt stone pillows in living room - materialicious

Via Materialicious

Smaller felt rocks and stones can also be used as throw pillows. There’s a delightful effect of the weight of stones married with the softness of a pillow.
What do you think? How and where would you use your felt rock or felt stone pillow?

 

 

How to Use Zenza Lights In Every Room

Posted on by admin / Posted in Interior Design | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

African Luxe - Zenza pendant light cluster foyer

Via Cosset Mykonos

We are crazy for Zenza pendant lights. They are absolutely functional works of art. Hand-punctured without stencils, the ethereal cascading shadow patterns that dance across your walls just add to their drama.

living room zenza biondi

Via Biondi Decor

These are entirely handmade in Egypt and we are proud and pleased to offer the only non-tarnishing version to North American consumers. We also wire our lights ourselves to ensure they are up to North American safety code.

f0f1f484327f369353e2e563a73c4dcb

Via House and Home Magazine

dining table zenza

Via Pinterest

Over the dining table is an obvious place to showcase these glorious lights. And depending on your styling, there are many ways to pull off this look as demonstrated above.

Zenza bedroom

Via Houzz

Zenza bedroom 2

Via Suede Taxi

Perhaps a little less expected is the use of a small single pendant as bedside lighting in the bedroom. I can’t get enough of this asymmetrical look. The shadow patterns at night would be oh so romantic!

kitchen zenza

Via Pinterest

zenza kitchen blue

Via Pinterest

I love the look of Zenza pendants over the kitchen island. They add the perfect amount of sparkle and spot lighting. They work equally well in a small space as in an expansive one.  Available in a grand range of sizes from tiny to super size means there’s a perfect pendant for every interior.

They really do work well in a range of interiors, whether you’re going for high drama or serene in a modern, classic or exotic space. Likewise they’re just gorgeous and totally at home in dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and beyond making their phenomenal only-Zenza statement! Which is your favorite look? How would you use Zenza pendants in your home? Tell us in the comments!

 

How to Use a Juju Headdress in your Space

Posted on by admin / Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

African Luxe traditional Juju feather headdress worn in traditional ceremony juxtaposed with one hung as art in our showroom

Via African Luxe

In my wander around the internet I found some gorgeous rooms using our Juju feather headdresses that come all the way from Cameroon. Feathers are hand-stitched into a tightly woven raffia base. Come, let’s look, shall we?

 Blue walls white headdress

Via Contemporary Interior Designs

This, hands down, is a favorite look of mine. The bold royal blue, the fabulous texture of the furniture and of course the Juju hat, the patters in the carpet and the side table, it just works with tremendous effect.

clustered feather headdresses

Via SF Girl By Bay

Here’s a completely different vibe. Cozy and refined at once, THe clustered Juju headdress display really plays beautifully off the texture of the throw. Married with the branches, it almost feels like a sophisticated nest!

red headdress

Via Lush Home

Feather headdresses or Juju hats are really making a scene in North American interiors and it’s not hard to see why. Adding a touch of the exotic, vibrant colour and fabulous texture these pieces really can make a room. I love how organic earth tones and textures define this space. The red of the feather headdress really helps it all to come together.

headdress above mantle

Via Apartment Therapy

And these Juju hats don’t tie you into a specific look. From modern to masculine, quirky to refined, subdued to bold they are as versatile as they are beautiful. Love the pop of yellow over the black marble mantle. This is such an eclectic interior.

picture frames with white headdress

Via 30s Magazine

What an inspired gallery! I want to steal this look for my photos and small scale art. Love the small feather headdress in the corner, an unexpected delight.

trio of headdresses foyer

Via Designs By Katy

And finally this foyer is demonstrates a wonderfully masculine use of a trio of feather headdresses displayed against slate walls.

What’s your favorite space? How would you use yours? If you’re looking to buy, visit our collection here!