Archive | August, 2012


Renovations are daunting and stressful! It’s as simple as that.

But in saying that, there are ways to minimise the sleepless nights, sticking to the budget and keeping to schedule. As some already know from a previous post, Renovations to our home, we have decided to take the plunge and tackle this daunting task of renovating our recently purchased house.

The renovation series is going to be a regular feature based on the first hand experiences and problems we encounter along the way and what suggestions I can give to first-time renovators.

Ask yourself why is that you are wanting to renovate.  Are you wanting to improve the property and resell?  Then ensure you are aware of the costs prior to starting and that you don’t overcapitalise.
As architect, Marco Bezzoli from Archilab Architects explains “if you are planning to live in the space for a substantial period, the joy of a well-executed renovation will pay dividends in more than a financial sense. One also needs to be aware that lifestyles change – a renovation should be planned to accommodate foreseeable changes.”

Have a clear vision as to what you want the end result to be.  Eben and Angela Barnard from Cape Town did a complete overhaul of their dream home in less than a month and under budget.  House and Leisure interviewed them in the July 2009 issue and they had this to say:

“Start out by creating a visual library of what you want to achieve, when problems arise these images can be helpful in finding solutions. Draw up a rough plan for all the electrical appliances, plumbing and plug points. Be on site as much as you can to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place. Get everything in writing. Renovate surface by surface: do all the flooring at once and then all the cupboards. This will minimise the risk of having varying finishes in every room and the flow will be constant.”

And their decorating secret is to “Buy only what you adore, don’t rush to get it finished; furnishings can wait.”

When embarking on finding reliable contractors, ask family and friends who they can recommend and have personally used, and ask for referrals and follow up on them.

Mads Viuff, a developer from Maxabella Luxury Homes suggests “having the best team possible – architect, interior designer, quantity surveyor, landscaper – it will save money in the long run. Once the plans, budget and specifications have been approved, leave it to the professionals – if you change your mind during a project it creates a ripple effect on the works schedule and budget! And if you want to get involved as owner / builder, calculate the value of the time you will be away from your profession and add it to the project cost.”

And now to unleash the before pictures of our house.  Stay tuned for further posts on the progress and insider tips of the transformation.









Information by architect, Marco Bezzoli and developer, Mads Viuff was sourced in the House and Leisure Renovations Issue – July 2009



Plascon is one of the leading paint specialists and that is part the reason why we at Portfolio keep a close eye on what they have to say about current colour trends.

As you know, last month a post was dedicated to Winter Whites, based on Plascons Colour of the Month. We would like to keep it a regular feature as it attracts many readers and inspires those of us too timid to use colour, to be adventurous and eager to try something new and exciting.

This is what Anne Roselt had to say about why the colour blue was chosen for August:

”Why is blue our colour of the month?
June’s colour of the month was red. July’s colour of the month was white. And August’s official colour of the month is bold and beautiful blue, completing the trio of Union-Jack colours that symbolise the current epidemic of Olympic-fever. Tapping into this trend, we’ve featured blue on the cover of the latest issue of Plascon SPACES magazine, as well as in the 2013 Plascon Colour Forecast.

Plascon’s 2013 forecast blues…
The Plascon forecast has a range of blues to choose from

  • soft blues like Whimsical White (B5-B2-3) and Stardust (B5-C2-2)
  • a medium-blue Providence (B5-C1-3)
  • deeper indigo blues like Eye of the Storm (B7-C1-1) and Blueberry Ripple (B7-D1-1)

Portfolio Designs Pinterest Beautiful Blues board is a source of inspiration to indicate how one can use an array of blues in different rooms to create specific moods. As Anne Roselt explains that cooler blues have a grey or green undertone, whereas warmer blues have a red undertone. The softer blues create a relaxing, peaceful and calming affect, as well as give a room an illusion of space. On the other hand, the electric blues are energising and youthful. Both the warmer blues and the electric blues are currently very trendy.

For all image sources head over to our Pinterest Beautiful Blues Board



South Africa is undergoing a bitterly cold spell at the moment and I find myself reminiscing over our Italy trip earlier this year. Only one night was spent in Milan, and it was far from enough time to explore this vibrant and cosmopolitan city. We specifically went to watch an Opera at the Teatro alla Scala and were absolutely blown away, not only by the performance, but by the beautiful architecture and attention to detail. Milan itself is abundant in established architectural masterpieces and in so many ways still so old fashioned yet completely contrasted with its first class fashion and design.

A city definitely worth visiting!

All images are on Portfolio Designs Pinterest Board Amazing Architecture



In the world of design, things change and develop rapidly.  However, some things remain interior staples, so it’s up to designers to make sure that they stay interesting and creative.  Fittings and finishes such as flooring and moldings have been given facelifts, and re-introduced to the world still as staples, but as so much more as well.
I make no secret of the fact that I adore the Design Milk blog – they are a great resource for new information and inspiration, so it came as no surprise when the topics that excited me the most cropped up there.  For example, parquet flooring.
I have always had a soft spot for this type of flooring.  Frequently found in old, traditional homes across the country, it’s often dug up from under ugly tiles and old carpeting from past renovations.  It’s like discovering hidden treasure.  “The UK’s Wood Floor Company,” McKay Flooring Limited, have put a colourful spin on traditional parquet with their coloured range.  Design Milk had this to say:
“Made of a high quality European oak, the wood blocks are hand-finished to your specifications using flooring paint, which makes them durable and long lasting. I love that you can go as wild and crazy with the color palette as you want but you can also keep it pretty tame, all while keeping it modern.”
Another tried and tested form of floor and wall finishes is tiling.  *Drum roll.*  Please feast your eyes on THIS:
“City,” by Renata Rubim, is a tile range made of refractory concrete for flooring.  The gorgeous design can be laid in a number of ways to create the image of a “metro-map” in your space.
“The tiles feature an aerial view of a city, complete with streets and circuits — like you might see from a plane or a map. The graphic design is modern and simple, yet when repeated, the tiles appear to create a metropolis. You can move the tiles around too, to customize the look.”
Fantastic, yes?

And last on the agenda today is so fun, quirky and cool, that it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store just looking at it.  Interior moldings.  It might sound boring, but it’s anything but.
These moldings were designed by Geoffroy Lhoest, in collaboration with NMC – according to the designers website, this can be said about the product: 

“The innovation: playing with the concepts of interconnection and modularity to multiply the contemporary and classical applications.

In effect, thanks to simple sectioning, the ceiling rose can fuse with the profile and become something novel.

Combined, the fluid design of these products gives life to walls and ceilings by traversing all 3 dimensions of the space.”

Many thanks, Mr Lhoest – these lovelies will definitely liven up any space.

Who ever thought that traditional had to be boring?
All images were found on

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