Vivez Bien * Live Well

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rainy Day Ramblings

We have battened down our hatches here during the worst storm Cape Town has seen in 30 years.

Photo via News 24

 Schools and universities have closed for the day and given that my boys are all writing exams, I'm pleased to report that they are using the unexpected free day in the most productive way! 

Since I'm going nowhere today, it seems like a good opportunity to escape from the real world for a little while and become immersed in some beautiful interiors instead. Two homes really caught my eye and I thought I should show them to you too as you might also be looking for an escape on a rainy day. 

The first is in the Karoo, near Barrydale and is owned by a former director of Woolworths who wanted to escape the rat race and is leading what seems like an idyllic existence on his farm. 

It is a large house, simply designed with 4 bedrooms and bathrooms and an enormous sitting room and kitchen.

Everything used in the construction was made locally and the effect is that the house completely blends into its surrounding landscape. 

The plaster is a mixture of mud and lime giving it the distinctive ochre shade.

Old Oregon pine doors and windows were all salvaged from demolished buildings in the Karoo area. The floors are made of polished cement which keep the house cool in the hot Karoo summer.

While I am definitely not wishing the rain away as we need it so badly, I am imagining lounging in that sunny spot right there!

The second home belongs to architect, Simon McCullagh. Tucked away in a quite cul de sac in Constantia, surrounded by oak trees and next to a greenbelt, you could imagine you are living in the countryside.

The house is designed as a modern version of an old cape barn.

I love the double volume living area with exposed trusses and thatch roof.

The dining area is so appealing with the large table and flow out into the garden - perfect for a good lunch or dinner party.

The home is furnished and fitted with a good mix of old and new.

I also love the simple design of the pool surrounded by lush lawn.

So there you go - hope you enjoyed.

If you're in Cape Town and surrounds, please stay warm and safe.

Till next time

Sharon x

Images via here and here

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Magazine Worthy

I do spend a fair amount of time browsing the internet looking at decor blogs, pinterest pages, instagram feeds and tumblr. However, nothing beats coming home with the latest interior decorating magazine, pouring myself a cup of coffee or, more likely a glass of wine, and settling in for a good read. I tend to mostly buy the local South African mags because they are affordable and because they are as good as any global publications imho. Each one offers something different to their readers. The Conde Nast House and Garden always features quite high end beautiful homes, while the Garden and Home houses tend to be more within the reach of the (wo)man in the street. like me (not to be confused with street woman which is a whole other thing entirely!). Then there is the House and Leisure mag where many of the homes are too contemporary for my taste, but there are a few exceptions and I do enjoy the leisure section. The other one I buy from time to time is the Home mag which is for great for DIY and fixer upper enthusiasts. I used to be one of those but have become too lazy busy. I do enjoy seeing how clever people can be, especially on a limited budget. 

Two homes featured recently really appealed to me. The first from House and Garden mag...

Based in Joburg, this home is owned by antique dealer, Ashley Judge and her husband, The first thing one notices is the absence of colour. The walls throughout are white and the floors are pale, which is the perfect backdrop for the dark and quite imposing antique pieces that are used abundantly. In another setting they might seem austere, but here they blend perfectly with the inviting decor.
The antique dining table below has a beautiful worn and weathered patina that is offset by elegant slip covered chairs.

The main bedroom is simply furnished, but inviting with layered textures and interesting details.

The wine cellar is full of character.

It's hard to believe you are in the middle of a city with this outlook. 

  The second home is featured in the SA Garden and Home mag. It is based in Cape Town and owned by Charlie Hayward. 

The home is full of beautiful period features, like the pressed ceilings, that were kept intact during the renovation. The wooden floors were painted white to lighten the interior, and the doors and windows, a pale grey.

The living room, dining room and kitchen all flow into one another, making for easy living.

The kitchen was designed by the owner and the use of  plaster and cement gives it a rustic French feel. A wood burning stove makes it a cosy place to be in the cold winter months.

The dining room is elegant and spacious enough to entertain lots of friends and family.

In winter, a fire is lit and in summer the doors to the beautiful courtyard are opened to let in the  sound of trickling water from the fountain and the scent of lavender. 

Finally, the beautiful bedroom is straight out of a romantic French movie with its ornate bed, crystal chandelier and linen clad chaise longue.

So, why not go a treat yourself to a new decor mag - you won't regret it! 

Till next time

Sharon x

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Watch to Want....

If I was you, I'd wanna be me, too

.....and I'll tell you why....

....because the kind folks at Daniel Wellington sent me a watch!....

....because apparently I am a person of influence.... who knew.? My kids certainly don't think so. But I am happy that Daniel Wellington does because I am a big fan of their watches. This is the second one I own. I blogged about the first one here

As a blogger, I get a lot of requests from various companies to advertise their products and I mostly decline. Either because the product is ugly not very nice, of no interest to me or my readers or just plain boring, like lawn fertilizer. But when I get offered something of beauty, which I know you, my readers might also like and when there is a benefit to you, like the discount that I'm going to offer you later, I say bring it on!

The watch I chose from Daniel Wellington is the Classic 40mm Durham . It is from the Men's range because I wanted the bigger face. The strap is a beautiful distressed tan colour. It has that worn and weathered look that I love. Perfect with your favourite jeans and leather boots, it looks like it could be an heirloom piece, handed down from your grandad, yet at the same time, very much on trend.

I chose the silver surround, but you might prefer the rose gold. There is also a choice of leather straps, including black and dark brown.

They currently have a Mother's Day promotion where you get a complimentary heart charm with your leather watch. 

So why not spoil your mom or wife this Mother's Day. It couldn't be easier. Shop online or visit your nearest stockist. If you use the DISCOUNT CODE "ROSES" you will receive a 15% discount. The offer is valid until the end of May, so don't delay! 

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there.

Till next time

Sharon x

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Autumn is in the Air

I'm so pleased that Autumn is here. I find that the older I get the less I can tolerate the heat of summer. Autumn suits me so much better. I love the cooler, still days and look forward to the slight chill of the evening air. This morning I gathered a whole bunch of fallen leaves from my plain tree and displayed them under a cloche.

 This combined with an Autumn-coloured beagle on a chair - Autumn decorating done and dusted,  Although I am lusting after the oak leaf bowl from NetDecor.

I came across a picture of this patio above ("stoep" if you're South African), and it reminded me of Autumn. I love the introduction of the terracotta shades mixed with the grey and stone, the weathered wood and wicker, and the succulents which add a little injection of colour. 

On further investigation, I discover that it is the handiwork of Charlottte Daneel (above) of whom I have long been an admirer. I first met her many years ago when I went on an outing with some girlfriends to Le Grange in Franschhoek which she then owned. There was a talk by Gary Searle of St Leger and Viney fame, on caring for linen, which included a lucky draw, the prize being a set of exquisite linen, and I won. Yay! We had lunch on the stoep of the shop which was hosted by Charlotte and I was so impressed by her effortless style. I decided that when I grow up I want to be just like her. 

Since leaving Franschhoek, she has obtained a number of properties in the Karoo which is apparently very close to her heart. Having grown up in the Karoo myself, I feel the same way. Maybe Charlotte and I are soul sisters. This particular property is called Langhuis (Longhouse in English) and it is in the quaint Karoo town of Graaff-Reinett. It is available to rent through Perfect Hideaways.

I love everything about Charlotte's design style. Rustic and casual, with little touches of refinement, and mostly neutrals with lots of texture. 

How could you not feel relaxed, spending a holiday in these environs?

The bedrooms are dressed in calming neutrals and layers of cozy texture. 

Succulents feature in almost every room and are the perfect touch in this semi-desert Karoo environment. 

The lush lawn contrasts with the Karoo landscape in the background. 

I could very happily spend a weekend in these beautiful surroundings. Husband, are you listening?

That's all folks!

Till next time

Sharon x