My Favourite Online Lighting Sources

Speaking with friends and family throughout our renovation, some who are also homeowners and undertaking their own renovation, we’ve picked up that lighting can be a source of mayor reno nightmares. My husband and I have had our own struggles trying to find something that not only fits both our tastes, but is also reasonably priced. Add to that all the extra requirements like good quality, from a trustworthy source (there are some convincing looking dodgy websites selling all my dream lights) that uses bulbs that are readily available and you might as well ask for chocolate that isn’t fattening.

Luckily we’ve managed to find a few sources that we turn to when searching for the perfect piece. Since they aren’t always the obvious first stops, I thought I’d share them with you today. I’ve also included a roundup of some of my favourite light fittings, some of which we have used or are planning to use below.

  1. The Lighting Warehouse: They offer a great variety of classical and contemporary lighting. They do have a showroom in Johannesburg, but if you can’t make it to check them out yourselves I can vouch for them. We ordered our kitchen sconces from them through Takealot and are very happy with the quality. They also look exactly as pictured.
  2. Lighting.co.za: They are an online only business who I reached out with a few product-related questions before ordering myself. Sometimes I like to ‘test’ a business by asking some product specific questions and see how detailed and quick they respond. It definitely is not a fool proof test, but along with a few other checks (local phone numbers etc) it provides some peace of mind when ordering. They sell beautiful modern light fixtures from a few local suppliers as well as some unique pieces that I haven’t seen elsewhere. I ordered an item that was on back order, but was delivered long before the estimated arrival date. Their pricing is also very competitive and they stock a variety of bulbs, allowing you to order whatever you’d need along with your fitting.
  3. Superbalist: They could be an obvious choice for some, especially if you are a keen online shopper, but not everyone is aware of how extensive their home catagory is. They occasionally stock some unique modern gems. Just be sure to snap them up before everyone else does! I think this glass pendant is understated and beautiful.
  4. Eleven Past: They not only stock beautiful furniture pieces, but also have a great selection of lighting at different price points. They stock some of our favourite local suppliers like Bright Star, but also have some more exclusive pieces. I’ve been lusting after this Twig Chandelier for ages, but no matter how many lightsaber references I make my husband won’t budge. I also like that you can stop by one of their showrooms in Cape Town to check out the quality or scale of a light before purchasing.
  5. DecoFurn: Their furniture might not be synonymous with quality, but the standards are slightly different with lighting where the finishes don’t have to be as hard-wearing. As long as it meets the style requirements, is sturdy and properly wired it checks all the boxes. I’m currently waiting for this fitting to come back into stock for our dining room. Their pendants are definitely where it is at though, as their standing and table lights are a little lackluster.

We’ve also previously made up pendant lights with parts from Hoi P’loy, who also have beautiful light fittings that don’t fit our current budget. You also shouldn’t discount your local hardware stores as they often carry some good classics and more trendy pieces – if you are able to look past the boob lights and ceiling fan lights.

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Our Bathroom Renovation | Before & Renovation Plan

Pic of Athena Calderone’s bathroom

I’ve previously shared some details on phase one of our house renovation and while we haven’t completely finished these rooms, we’ve decided we’re ready to tackle phase two. This phase will see most of the outsourced work that has to be done inside our house completed. Unfortunately right after we committed, coronavirus and lockdown struck. As lockdown has started easing, the workers are returning. So we’ll finally get our master bathroom plumbed and tiled.

My husband and I are tackling the painting and woodwork ourselves. Hence why we aren’t finished with phase one yet. It is time consuming, but makes our budget spread a little further and also means we have less contractors in our home.

I like comparing the before, after and plans for other people’s renovations and thought you would like to do the same. It will take some months for us to finish off this bathroom, so I fully anticipate some details changing.

Before I delve into our plan, please enjoy our bathroom before in all its glory. The listing photo shows the short curtains, cream bath and 80’s tiling beautifully. While we still don’t love the arch, we have a plan to hopefully make it work.

We aren’t changing much in the bathroom layout, so the two biggest changes besides all new everything is the freestanding tub and no tiles on the wall (except for the shower area). The walls will be painted in the same warm white as our kitchen and we plan on eventually adding some wood trims where it makes sense.

Hopefully once the arch has been beautifully smoothed and painted it will frame the freestanding tub and relate more to the rest of the bathroom. We’ve already replaced the old wood window frame with an aluminium frosted glass one, so there is no need to add curtains. We might consider some sort of window treatment in the future to add warmth.

The whole bathroom centered around the freestanding tub and beautiful matte gold tapware from Vado. We’re so happy that we managed to score both on sale at Victorian Side Bathrooms. We almost definitely would have skipped on these with the current exchange rate.

We’ll be running the 30×60 cm marble tiles from floor into the shower and up the shower walls. Sourcing the matte gold tile trim has proved to be one of the trickier parts, but it should arrive here shortly and will hopefully be beautiful.

We’ll add the vanity in its alcove at a later stage, but we’re leaning towards a reeded finish for the drawer fronts. Otherwise we’ll go with a trusty shaker style. We definitely haven’t given enough thought as to the counter top, but we have some marble off-cuts  from our kitchen that would be the most budget-friendly option. As mentioned, this definitely is not a One Room Challenge situation. I’m just looking forward to getting the mess over and one with. This bathroom will be a labour of love likely taking shape over months. W

Overall we want a bathroom that feels classic, soft and warm with a few contemporary touches. Hopefully in a year’s time we will have that!

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Tips for Working From Home (Temporarily)

Much like the rest of the world, I was sent to start working from home at the end of March. With no inclination of how long this would last and very short notice, my home work set-up is far from ideal. I’ve had to make do with what we have and I have an idea many of you are in the same situation. I hope my tips will be helpful if you also find yourself unable to get your hands on anything non-essential or you don’t want a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

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Home Trend: Fun Pouffes

I have to recognise that there is so much sadness and worry in the world right now, but blog posts have been a great source of distraction from all the terrifying news for me. So I hope mine can do the same for you!

One of the best home trends I’ve seen this year has been all the fun pouffes. From scalloped edges to channel tufting and interesting textures, there is no excuse to settle for a boring pouffe. I’ve compiled a few of my favourite styles below. Things like tassles, interesting textures and fun shapes will help introduce a touch of whimsy to any room.

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Christmas Decor 2019: My Top Picks

 

If you’re decorating your tree this weekend, then you might be on the hunt for a few new additions. Instead of doing gift guides this year, which can be overwhelming, I’m sharing my top decor picks. Whether you want to add something special to your tree, or simply love seeing all the glittery items, I hope you enjoy my favourites from this year’s selection. 

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We bought a house! | Renovation & Design Plan

I’ve been absent from the blog for the majority of the year, but I’ve been itching to get back at it. Initially I had a lack of inspiration. Then in May we bought a house, which we hope will be our forever home, but it has ended up taking A LOT of our time. Now I have more than enough ideas to share, but feel like there isn’t enough hours in a day.

I want to preface this by saying that I know that we are incredibly fortunate to be in a position where we could purchase a property. I feel incredibly lucky and appreciate that this isn’t something within everyone’s means. In saying that it also wasn’t easy, we saved for several years and the bank still owns the majority of the house. We’ve also sold our old property privately. But if all goes according to plan, in twenty to thirty long years it will be ours and will be almost unrecognisable.

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The Home Edit: Mirrors

I’ve been hunting for beautiful mirrors for our home for the last few weeks. I’ve subsequently developed a minor obsession with beautiful mirrors. Since I’ve found way more amazing mirrors than I could possibly every need, I thought I’d share them with you. I’ve tagged the ones that I own, but I love all of these. You’ll notice I’m obsessed with antique-style mirrors. Anything in brass, with an interesting shape or with a shelf has drawing my attention. Unfortunately many of them aren’t very budget friendly. Don’t let that put you off though as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are also great resources.

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The 4 Pots & Pans Every Kitchen Needs

The only pots and pans you need Cast iron skillet

I recently purchased myself a cast iron skillet and it has legitimately revolutionised my way of cooking. I took the plunge after seeing a heat mark emerging on my beloved non-stick pan. It made me realise what I have always known, non-stick or Teflon coated pans simply can’t handle high heat. Surprisingly a cast iron skillet also wasn’t as big an investment as I had anticipated. So with my recent purchase in mind, I thought I’d share my five essential pots and pans that everyone needs in their kitchen drawer. If you have any to add, please drop a comment below! I’m sure that this list could grow.

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How To Pretty Up Your Kitchen on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend at least an hour each day, if not more, in the kitchen. But so often a kitchen falls to the way side, especially if it isn’t the kitchen of your dream. So I thought I’d share how I made my less than ideal kitchen look prettier on a budget. These tips are great and should help you, whether you’re renting or simply looking to make an existing kitchen work.

  1. Keep the clutter at bay

This is my number one tip on making kitchens look better! Stash away as much as possible and keep those counter tops clear. You really only want to have things out that either doesn’t fit elsewhere (hello microwave) and basics like salt and pepper, that you reach for often, out on the counter. Limit your small appliances to the ones you use daily and put the rest away, but still within easy reach. If your kitchen is small, this is the single best tip to make it feel bigger and to free up more counter prep space.

2. Paint the backdoor

This is one of my personal pet peeves, but in South Africa so many homes have raw wood back doors that have simply been varnished. It does come down to personal preference, but if you find yourself unhappy with the overall look I’d recommend you try painting the orange-red tone door either white or a dark colour. It is amazing how much sleeker a room feels if you limit the wood tones in it. Sanding the door down to a beautiful raw wood tone (at least on the inside), could also be a beautiful way to add warmth to a plain white kitchen.

 

3. Limit the colours on display

This brings me to the colours you introduce into your kitchen. It is so easy to fall for all the pretty pastels, but if you’re dealing with a less than ideal kitchen restraining your colour palette is the best way to tone it down. I’m not saying all the miss-matched tupperware must go, but perhaps consider re-bottling some of your sink side essentials into clear glass bottles or removing the labels of products on display. Less visual clutter is always better!

4. Choose pretty basics

There are some things in your kitchen that you simply can’t hide. I advise you invest a little more in them, especially if it is something that you’ll be able to use for years to come. Think a beautiful gold dish drying tray, colour coordinated dishtowels and beautiful utilitarian items. Sometimes these might cost more or require more digging to find, but the joy they bring are so worth it. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites  (and a few ‘when-I-win-the-lotto’ items), down below. I still think one of the saddest things about adult life is spending that much money on a rubbish bin, but at least I found some pretty ones!

5. Decorate the space

Something people often forget to do is to actually decorate the space as you would any other room in the house. Introducing your personality and style doesn’t have to mean you can only think about fridge magnets! Lay down a washable rug or beautiful bath mat to cover unsightly floors and introduce art work into the space. I like the look of beautiful trivets stacked against chopping boards and creating the transitional style I personally love through both classic and modern accessories. For you, this could mean something mid-century or glamorous depending on your personal style. I also don’t think you can overestimate the power of fresh flowers or a beautiful potted plant. Herbs are a popular choice for good reason.

1. Salt and Pepper Grinders | 2. Kettle | 3. Serviette holder | 4. Slotted spoon

5. Bin | 6. Broom | 7. Utensil holder | 8. Dishrack 

I hope you find these tips helpful in dealing with a basic kitchen and that this will help you enjoy the space that much more!

 

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Home Update: Living & Dining Room

Black and white bookcaseI feel like I’ve lost my blogging motivation a little and there probably isn’t a single reason, but I was struggling to figure out where I fit in. I’m doing it part-time, really only as a hobby, and I can’t compete with most blogs as they’ve become so editorial. I still enjoy those blogs, but that level of professionalism simply isn’t possible for me. I don’t make use of a professional photographer, don’t buy things only for the blog and producing a single post often has to spread out over three days.

But as I was sitting on my couch now, I realised I wanted to share our living room (great room?). It is our all-in-one living and dining room that doesn’t come to more than 30 square meters. It isn’t ‘done’ in the traditional sense of the word and I’m not being modest like most bloggers (we’re missing half our gallery wall) but our new flooring just pleases me so greatly that I can finally share the room with some pride. To say it has been a work in progress is probably an understatement. We moved in four years ago with only two small bookshelves and a borrowed couch. We’ve come a long way since then, so I’d love to share how we made this small living-cum-dining room work for us and our cats.

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