Interior Decor and Design
Creating Beautiful Rooms that People Love to Live In



July 2015

Michelle Schaefer writing, with Karen Schaefer Louw helping you to create dreamy rooms …


What beauty there is in winter ! DECORATING WITH JEWEL COLOURS : PURPLE

Interiors with intense JEWEL COLOURS, are always appropriate for winter, and no jewel colour is more popular than purple, which has made a décor comeback globally in a big way. Purple may be accented in one of two ways, firstly with an ICY look – silver toned accessories, “snow palace” ambience, teardrop chandeliers, lampshades and cushion covers that shimmer in silver, silver-grey, and charcoal with silver threads. Fabrics like shantung silk or velvet, work beautifully in this decor look. This décor also works well with BIG accessories;- huge bolsters in sheer fabrics, floor-length heavy silk drapes, mirrors in solid silver frames with embellishments.

GET THE LOOK :-  Look especially at our THROWS, CHANDELIERS, MIRRORS and GLASSWARE in our stunning Online Shop. These are some of the lovely examples of glassware & small décor items for the ICY look at great prices only R 99 – R 899 !

The second approach against purple, is gold accent. This can lend more textural interest, as fabrics and scatters with lurex look and more robust texture can be used. Gold is essentially a warmer scheme than the silver one, and white as a contrast may be brought in. Whereas white would render all-silver décor too cold in some instances, it works here. Black is also possible as a contrast colour, for instance in small ornaments, fluted vases, piping on scatters, and architectural detail such as fireplace surrounds and mouldings. Be aware that this leads to a more dramatic look. Always remember the PERSONALITY of the room, and work with it.


     WELCOME TO THE WHITE HOUSE : White can also work in winter !

A look usually popular in summer, beach houses and relaxed schemes, can also work WONDERS IN WINTER. WHITE in winter means working with good strong contrasts such as cocoa and warm charcoal. If you like the all-white look, it is a very pure, very clean look and it restores great calm to an interior. Many people in redecorating, pare down their schemes to a wonderfully serene white look. It is important to consider practical aspects like little paws, in impacting on white upholstery. Use cosy matte rather than gloss paints, for warmth. It is possible to alter window treatments seasonally, so a good heavy off-white drape is added.

Follow some of the above tips, otherwise your décor in all-white may look a little too artificial. The look is chalk paints, muted colours, still landscapes and feeling of time suspended in a room, fabrics evocative of the colour of a watermill standing gently in the wintry sun with lapping green water. Think subtle greens, greys, off-whites, watered silks.  

You may find great peace in this décor. Use heavy wood with care, as traditional, overpowering pieces may need a paint effect to soften their edges and tone them down for these schemes. Use blonde woods. Please look at our PAINT EFFECTS section, we are able to do paint effects on pieces and walls for our clients – to create an atmosphere, to age, for a distressed look, for gilding. 



A method of warming still worthy of consideration.  

One of the most effective ways to heat a room or house. It is friendly to the environment, using a renewable energy source. Clean-burn technology takes care of emission concerns. A 75% efficiency rate is realistic (only 25% heat loss as against some other methods). Wood-burning stoves only require cleaning at approximately the fifth burn. Always leave a bed of ash behind when cleaning, it makes the next wood burn more successful. The ash itself is good to clean the glass cover with, using a damp cloth or tissue paper dipped in ash. Place logs and charcoal for open fires, stoves, and BBQ’s, in organic paper bags and baskets for tidiness in handling.




Illustrated above, are two instances in which the French look is interpreted in an entirely modern way. The buildings and settings are new, and make use of the latest advances in finishes, but the textures, furniture and architectural detail are French.

   Shortcut Checklist to Get This Style

Also wonderful for winter, yet considered by most householders a difficult look to manage. It is important, if you like French décor, to aim for the less pretentious, inviting provincial look. Remember always, in a residential rather than a chateau setting, that you need to concentrate on small embellishments to work this look.

A chateau look references early elements practical and aesthetic, to this style :- the first French stone fortresses were built to be an impregnable rock against invaders; to be comforting havens for returning war-weary Crusaders; to house lovely women; to showcase art. How do you build up this look, by modern means ? If you like French touches in a house, DO;- 1. Decide whether your house can “carry” this look – nothing to do with actual house size (though it is a style of imposing dimensions, yet I have seen townhouses carry French décor passably well), but rather its style.

2. Prepare the shell - this means satin glossing the floor boards or putting in stone flags; distempering walls; creating mouldings, friezes, imposing doorways, ornate handles, etc. Look at excellent books available on chateaux, and modify/modernise.

3. Put in the elements – gilt chairs, wall hangings with French scenes, heavy ornate mirrors, classical chaise longue. It is not clutter, rather a few good pieces standing in their own integrity in a frozen tableau of beauty. LASTLY;~ Then soften the look – make it modern by bringing in ORGANIC elements, worn carpets and signs of family living. Do not aim for a showcase. Relax! A great look for winter – in brief.