30 Minute Make-Over: Window Box

Here’s a super easy, quick and cost-effective little tutorial for a Mother’s Day gift: a window flower box made out of a broken palette. A great project to do with your kids!

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You’ll need a broken palette (get one from your local hardware store or Agri / Co-Op if you live in the country -they throw them away!), some paint and a few plants.

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First, remove the one end, keeping the top and bottom plank as well as the support blocks in tact.

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Next, remove the central support block only. If your palette was put together by a hammer-happy individual, this might be the most difficult thing you do all day. I first tried to remove the 6 nails holding it in place and then ended up hammering through them by driving a flat screw driver between the plank and support block {much easier than option 1!}.

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Fix 2 more planks above the original 2 to completely cover the support blocks. If you have any old nails that you just cannot remove {prime example above}, just flatten them into the wood. Then add a 5th plank to the bottom, making sure that there are gaps so that water can drain out.

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I used my favourite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, because it requires no prep and will weather nicely to a vintage finish.

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I screw-fixed the planter to the wall as well as supported it underneath with 2 L-brackets.

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I kept the plants in the pots so that I can replace them easily without having to unscrew the box. And it looks just adorable!

Dining Room Make-Over

I am really excited to be sharing my 1K make-over with you because it really is the simplest one yet!

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My dining room wall has bothered me since we moved in: the magnificent family heirloom cupboard and dining room table just vanished in the space – in spite of their large sizes! – and the antique Chinese chairs and paintings really didn’t pop as they should. I loved the light fitting but it was way too insipid for the space. It’s the first thing you see when you come into the main living area of the house and it just didn’t pack any punch.

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I realized that a dark background would make the wall disappear so that the furniture would stand out against it and thus charcoal wallpaper, a dado, some black paint and beautiful new pendant became the perfect solution!

Paint                                     R70
Dado                                     R64
Wallpaper                          R400
Wallpaper paste              R45
Specialist Brush               R78
Light Fitting                      R320
TOTAL:                                R977

I am always amazed at the instant impact a change of wall colour has on a room!

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As a basic principle, darker colours make a room appear smaller. But the other, lesser known fact is that is that darker colours also work like shadows: they disappear. So if you want something to stand out, then you can “remove” the background by making it dark. The stunning light was a gift from a close friend after a recent overseas trip. {It’s a Knappa from IKEA, in case you can get your hands on one!}

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Using a high-gloss enamel, the surface below the dado also becomes light-reflective so that it is not as dark as you may expect. First, mark out the height where the dado will be. Then first applied the wallpaper (there are great instructions on the back of the paste packet) and then paint the lower part of the wall. The line was not very even once I’d finished, but it doesn’t matter since the dado finishes it off neatly. Pre-paint the dado and then fix in place with your trusty hot glue gun. Easy!

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And an unexpected treat: in the late afternoon, the sun makes the most beautiful patterns against the wall as the light falls through the back of the chair! Just note that high-gloss paints are not as resilient as a PVA so it may not be suitable for a high-traffic area.

Don’t be afraid of painting your walls in dark colours: they are truly rich and magnificent. And if you decide that you don’t like it, you can always just paint over it again with vanilla. A few coats should do it 😉

A few notes on Wallpaper:

Wallpaper is not a very common thing in South Africa and can be quite expensive. Paintable papers are also a great option if it’s only texture you’re after: simply apply the paper and paint in a colour. For a great tutorial on applying paper, you’ll have to wait for the new e-book that we’re currently doing in collaboration with Margaux Tait {or you can find one here 😉 }. And if you’re at a loss as to how to calculate your required wallpaper quantity, then use this great online tool. And then, be brave – it’s really not that difficult!

A new us.

Welcome to our new site! Packed with the same awesome projects, ideas and creativity, Homeology.co.za is set to inspire you.

And to make you feel extra warm and fuzzy, we’re doing a super give-away:

Superbalist give-away feature

Now isn’t that lovely!

To enter the competition, make sure you are on our updated mailing list by entering your details below.

You can also get extra entries by going to our Facebook page and simply liking us.

The winner will be randomly selected from the mailing list and likes on Saturday 26 April 2014 and announced via Homeology.co.za and social media.

Good Luck!

Play Room Make-over

The play room is finally finished! It was the one room in the house that I was most looking forward to getting stuck into but then when I started, I just got totally and completely stuck.

I started venturing away from my original idea because I simply couldn’t get it to work, no matter how hard I tried.

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In the end, I let the room guide me and I am really pleased with the result! Although it is not really about me being pleased, I do spend a LOT of time here so I needed to he happy with it. The first priority of course being that my kids should love it and thankfully, they do!

You’ve seen some of my more recent additions to the room, like the tent and the dress-up trunk. But here is what I have been able to do with R1000 {USD100} or R1004 in this case!

Paint                     R135
Curtain Pole        R180
Fabric                   R386
Cushion                R120
Foam                    R150
Fairy Lights         R60
Total:                   R1004

Many of the things that I used here I already had: the curtains are old ones from our last house; the bed and chest of drawers I grew up with; the picture frames were laying in the store room unused. But even so, I love how using all these old elements and giving them new life just automatically adds something to a room.

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I found the lovely graphics free on Vectorstock.com and played around with the colours in Photoshop until it suited the scheme.

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A bit of Annie Sloan Chalk paint quickly transformed the old frames. I used the Old Violet and just adjusted the colour slightly by adding a bit of white before I painted the second and again the third frame. I think the 3 colours make it a bit more interesting!

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My old bed was transformed to a day bed with the help of a loose cover over a piece of medium density foam and another denim loose cover that I cut to a fitted sheet. The yellow chevron cushion is from Mr Price Home – I love the pop of colour!

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This horrid dusty pink ceramic base was claimed from my parents’ attic and brought into this century with some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite.

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I used an old wire-frame shade with it and made a simple slip cover for it. Like most things in my house, I need to be able to wash it should dirty hands find their way to it!

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One of my favourite things in this room has got to be the JOY light: I used a jigsaw to cut the “joy” out of a piece of ply and painted it to match the wall colour. I then used my staple gun with u-shaped staples to secure fairy lights to it. It’s so simple but it’s fun and really does bring joy to an otherwise bland wall. Just be careful when you use the staple gun – I lost a set of lights in the process because I stapled right through it! For the how-to on this light, you’re going to have to wait for the new book!


The retro chest of drawers was destined to be painted from top to toe. But as soon as I removed the old handles and saw the beautiful light oak underneath, I decided to gently sand down the old girl. I resprayed the original coppery handles with a metallic charcoal spray paint and she not only looks brand new, but she also smells amazing after I treated her with some raw linseed oil.

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I repainted the wall 4 times before I was happy with the colour. It started off to be the wonderful warm yellow that I am so fond of, then white, then grey and finally this duck-egg which I ended up mixing myself from paint I had. Point is this: I am a professional interior designer and I seriously get it wrong sometimes! So take heart next time when you are not happy after you’ve finished a room – it happens to everyone!

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And just to show you that we live a completely normal life, this is the play room 10 minutes after I finished the photo shoot!

5 Budget Friendly Decorating Tips

Doing it yourself is the best way to get the most out of your decorating budget. Instead of spending big bucks, rather use your imagination to give your home an inexpensive makeover: it’s more cost-effective and the sheer joy of knowing that you did it yourself will be totally worth it!  All you need is a bit of inspiration, an active imagination, some basic tools and a little gusto.

Crate iT!

Wooden crates make inexpensive, green and – as it turns out – very trendy end tables. Paint them or leave them as is for a grungy industrial feel. Stack them together in whatever fashion suits your purposes and you have end tables with added storage space. This cutie is by Bella Mumma.


Paint iT!

I am always amazed at the instant lift a bit of paint gives. Whenever I don’t know what to do with a space, I end up painting it. Saying that, I painted the same wall 4 times today because I couldn’t get the colour quite right… so the lesson that I’ve learned here is that it’s super important to be happy with the swatch first! But luckily, it’s such a simple and inexpensive thing to redo if you don’t get it right entirely. I just don’t recommend trying 4 times 😉 This stunning deep grey bedroom by Decor Dots.

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Repurpose iT!
A used picnic table and benches make for a very cool and inexpensive dining room set. Sand the table and benches if need be and paint in whatever color matches your room (French grey, charcoal or white are always winners here).  Add some cushions for comfort, some candles for atmosphere and some food, friends and wine for merriment and you’ve got a dinner party.This very sweet table is by Life at Walnut Grove. Love the numbered stencil on the seats!

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Rethink iT!

Don’t toss your old furniture just because it is out of fashion or in need of some TLC. Restyling old pieces is not only cost-efficient, it also adds some nostalgia to your space. A bit of paint, some new handles or new funky upholstery can transform a piece of furniture into something to covet. And don’t be shy to paint that dressing table or sideboard that you got from your grandmother – I am pretty sure that she’d rather you use it than sell it because it doesn’t work in your home. Unless it’s a priceless antique of course. This beauty via BHG.com


Patch iT!

What a cool idea for an area rug! Use pieces of old rugs and carpet samples and sew them together with thick wool and a carpet needle or even simpler: just stick them down in a random pattern onto a felt backer. You’ll end up with a niquely textured and patterned rug that looks amazing. Don’t forget to share the picture here after you’ve finished yours! By Flor.com.

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There are so many awesome places to find decorating and design inspiration – like Homeology of course! – so think outside the box when it comes to your home. Your beautiful abode need not cost the earth.

Happy decorating!


Basket Case

I grew up with a house full of baskets. Lots of them. And while the days of filling them with dried flower arrangements are hopefully gone forever, baskets can be super useful if you apply your creative mind. With the great collection of inexpensive baskets available at Mr Price Home (featured above) you can achieve any number of looks. Here are a few simple ways to use your decorative baskets to their fullest potential.

11Mail basket—instead of tossing your unread mail on the closest flat surface you can find, place a pretty basket on a table, counter top or desk to hold the mail until you can get to it. This not only looks nicer, but it keeps your mail all in one place so you don’t risk going into that frantic search for that one piece of mail that you are sure you left in that place where it obviously isn’t anymore. This pretty arrangement from Mommy Decorates.

basket-tray-kitchen-countertop-display-white-herbs-storageKitchen helpers—baskets are awesome additions to your kitchen. Use them to hold your leftover condiment packets from fast food purchases, or put small packets of sweeteners and creamers in one next to the coffee pot. Place a tall sturdy basket within reach of the stove and fill it with your most used utensils. Baskets also make pretty holders for napkins and rolled silverware; choose one that fits your table decorations and leave it right on the table. If you do it right, it can look really pretty llike this one from Nook & Sea.

potatoesonionsgarlicstorage8And this arrangement from Martha Stewart is just stunning – love the practicality of the peg board background!

justthebeesknees_diy_rolling_book_basket_01Magazine and book container—give each family member a decorative basket to hold their magazines and books. It keeps it off the floor and if it’s clearly marked there can be no confusion as to what belongs to whom – a very important factor if you have kids! Also great for homework and craft supplies as it can be carried around the house to where it’s needed! Love this DIY wheeled wire one by Makezine.

windowboxbathroomstorageBathroom organizers—use baskets to keep hair brushes, accessories and combs in one place. Another great idea is to fix the basket to the wall to use as a shelf for light-weight items like towels and toilet rolls. Thisbeautiful installation from Our Fifth House.

Basket-with-remotesHome entertainment holders—if you have trouble keeping track of TV and gaming remotes, use baskets to keep them all in one spot. Place an attractive basket on your coffee table and toss all the gadgets in it. To make it easier for hubby, label it clearly: REMOTES 😉 From Recipe For Design.

What do you use baskets for? Send me your ideas so that I can add to the list!



Creative Repurposing

It is truly amazing the things we throw away every day.  Many of these simple items we think of as garbage can be used in clever ways to store all sorts of things.  And the best part is you don’t have to spend a cent!  Here are a few of my favorite ideas for turning trash into useful containers for your kitchen and other organizing projects.

Living in the Winelands, we tend to have quite a few wine boxes lying around. But if you don’t (which I totally understand!) you can get these from your local big store or liquor store for no cost; just ask. You’ll find most stores are happy to get rid of them.

wine-box-wrapping-paper-storageJust cut the flaps from the top of the box and leave the dividers intact.  You can decorate the box if you like or just use as is.  Now your wrapping paper has a place to sit pretty and upright like it should.  You can also store ribbon in the other divided sections and even store scissors and tape, too.  Each divided section is heavy-duty and will stand up to a lot of wear and tear.


Drinks bottles and similar containers are already food safe grade so you’re good there.  The caps fit tight, so that’s a plus – just be sure your bottle is clean and completely dry.  Then use a funnel to fill the bottles up with any dried food item you like that will pour out easily.  Dried beans, peas, lentils, and rice are perfect candidates for this frugal storage idea.  You can also see what’s in the bottle, which makes organizing easier. And if you can find stunning little vintage-style bottles like these, BONUS! Via Houzz.

Reuse-Milk-CartonsMilk cartons also work beautifully here. Just make sure it is VERY clean and VERY dry before you put something in it, otherwise you’ll be greeted with a nasty surprise when you open it! A bit of spray paint and a pretty label and ta-da!

863632ea206e4bbf4e46c2d14846d6b3Plastic milk bottles are also great for storing little bits and bobs that no doubt are lying around your house as well. I can definitely use a few of these around The Bruwery! Via Home-Dzine.co.za

128512274250662And wow this is awesome! I don’t even think twice about throwing a can in the recycling bin – uptil now that is! This very clever idea from imgfave.com.

So the next time you are about to throw out a container, just hover a second and look at it.  Is there anything useful you might be able to do with it?  Go ahead and use it to get organized and share it here on Playing House!



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