Archive | July, 2012


In the interior design world, finding industry people that understand your vision and are on the same wavelength as you is invaluable.  Whether it’s fabric houses, contractors or architects, coming across reliable kindred spirits will help carry you to the end of a project with minimal hair loss and with your fingernails still in tact.  Not to mention that when collaborating with the right people, the end result will be the best that it could possibly be.  Champagne all around for happy clients and stellar designs!
Embarking on a renovation on any scale can be an incredibly daunting task.  (Something that we will still cover in future posts.)  After years of facilitating the process for clients, we have decided to brave the waters of renovations ourselves.  Thus began the search for possibly the most important industry person required; the architect.
Luckily we already knew the man for the job – a Mr Jono James.  Based in Morningside, Jono has really helped to put what we envisioned for the space onto paper.  Mason Design is taking us closer and closer to our dream home, turning the many hours spent daydreaming about it into a reality.
 First things first – there is a whole roof section to be redone:


The changes will provide far more interior light with the addition of the glass panels, especially in the kitchen area; we are fortunate enough to have our lovely South African sunshine, so we are taking full advantage of it!  Lots of natural light is also very eco-friendly, limiting the need for interior lights during daylight hours.  The end result will increase the volume of the area, because at the moment the ceilings are extremely low.
Many thanks to Jono – our excitement mounts ever higher.


A current trend that we here at Portfolio love is definitely the “Pop of Neon” craze.  The wild colours provide a break in the mundane of our everyday lives, literally brightening up our day.  You can’t help feeling lighthearted in the presence of neon loveliness, and we feel that an injection of colour is necessary in this cold weather.  And besides, it’s Friday.  Any excuse to put a smile on your faces!
There are those that are somewhat dubious when it comes to applying the trend in interiors.  This is totally understandable, because it’s such an extreme change to make, and one can question its longevity.  However, when used carefully, we think that it’s completely doable – one small addition can completely change your space.
Like with dramatically changing your hair colour, cautious users might be better off taking baby steps.  Try adding small pops of colour with accessories and see how it feels.  If you love it, then the only thing stopping you from going wild is your own imagination. 
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t overwhelm your senses with a complete neon overhaul – try balancing it out with neutral colours.  It should be a feature, a talking point, something to draw the eye.  Top to bottom neon will just  make you feel as though you’re enduring an acid trip, and will turn a few glasses of wine into the worst hangover of your life.
Don’t be afraid of it – open up and enjoy the experience.  A trend such as this requires a certain amount of reckless abandon, which can be an extremely freeing experience.  Remember, should you be unsure, Portfolio is always here to help.  Getting an interior designer involved may be the solution to the amazing space that you long for.
For all image sources and many more, swing over to our “Pop of Neon” Pinterest board.



We are excited to launch our Design Series with our first post being dedicated to what’s available out there with regards to fireplaces.  Since we have decided to make the Design Series a regular feature, we look forward to this being the first of many!
With the winter chill fully upon us, I’m sure I’m not the only one reaching for a fluffy blanket, or pulling that heater closer.  
Traditionally, options when heating your home were always somewhat limited to wood burning fireplaces and gas or electric heaters (Unless you go the “under floor heating” route).  When planning your home, so much love and energy goes into it, so to hinder the flow of your interiors with unattractive heaters can be quite an unappealing option.  Also, as beautiful as wood burning fireplaces are, they do require a lot of manual labour, can be damaging to surrounding features (ash, smoke, etc) so may not be the most suitable option for a more modern home, or apartment.
Never fear  – fireplaces are not what they used to be.  Contemporary fireplaces can be beautiful, sculptural features in your home, and many run off bio-fuels, making them smoke and odor free.  A contemporary fireplace solution can be found for every budget, ranging from portable to wall mounted.
As when choosing any other fitting for your home, it is wise to do some research and preparation beforehand.  July’s House & Garden had this to say on the subject:
Should you be looking for a fireplace option for an exterior space, we at the Portfolio office are crazy about the Zero Fireplace, by Beauty Fires.  It’s a multifunctional outdoor tool, providing not only the actual fire, but also a storage space for wood.  It comes in two sizes, and is available exclusively from Beauty Fires.
Should you be after a slightly more traditional approach, without sacrificing the sleek exterior, the Nordica Monoblocco 1000 Piano Crystal is a definite winner.  Stunningly beautiful with reduced wood consumption, it would definitely be an instant hit in any home.  Available from Nordica SA, who also take care of installations and services.
Should you want something completely removed from the average idea of a fireplace – something totally modern, sculptural and eco-friendly to match the electric car in your garage, the Tetris from Beauty Fires could well be what you’re looking for.  It’s a bio-ethanol fireplace that consists of a modular system of tables that’s adaptable to your space.  It’s available in black, white, or a combination of the two.
Beauty Fires is making quite a notable appearance today, but we felt that their Cocoon Vellum Black wall mounted unit deserved to be mentioned as well.  It’s also bio-fuel fireplace, and can be mounted both inside and outside.  
We love these more pocket friendly, portable fireplaces – they are perfect for smaller homes, apartments and even as winter table decorations.  The Mini BioFires can be bought online, and can burn for up to two hours on a pot of BioFuel. 
You can browse through House and Leisure’s Winter Warmers Pinterest board for more inspiration, and through the offerings of other South African fireplace suppliers at these websites:


With the recent popularity of the “New in Design” post, we’ve decided to make it a regular feature on the blog.  Once a month or so, we’ll be dedicating a post to what’s new in the design world, trends, and which interior design finds to look out for.

We hope to help readers educate themselves on what’s out there, as well as growing in our own knowledge of what’s available.  Design is an ever growing industry, so staying aware of recent developments can result in something truly spectacular, that you perhaps never even knew could be done.
So, dear reader, join us in a journey towards total design enlightenment – it can change the world you know.

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