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“Beauty stems from thought and sensibility, rather than from material wealth.” Italian architect and designer Claudio Silverstrin’s concept of beauty could well be adopted as the mantra for living in 2016.

The leaders in the décor, design and lifestyle industry Decorex SA sum up the 2016 global trend, “The Considered Home” represents a cultural melting pot of decorating genres – the design embodiment of the phrase “global village”. According to Sian Gutstadt, Portfolio Director of Decorex SA, “The essence of the considered home is a well-edited space that is layered, but not cluttered, with a mix of quality high-end and store-bought pieces. The look is coherent but not matchy-matchy, and incorporates pieces from different time periods and even design styles. It also demands equal attention be paid to wall and floor finishes as well as fittings. At its core it is about quality rather than quantity.”

  1. Inspirations “The considered home is less a decorating trend than an approach to living that is based on curating a home environment that exudes quality and individuality,” explains Sandra Jardim, General Manager: Marketing & PR of Decorex SA Portfolio. “It shies away from overly decorated homes that are created as once-off projects and are then simply maintained. The approach requires an investment in quality rather than flashy, short-lived décor fads.” As such, she says, it is not a look you can create instantly: “Curating a living space such as this means you will have to hunt for specific pieces that complement each other, and then layer these over time. It means you’d rather live without a sofa than buy the wrong one.”

Individuality is key to the considered home and, because in the natural world no two things are identical, so nature serves as a major source of inspiration. In the same way that the complex structure of the veins on each leaf is unique, so no two handcrafted pottery bowls will be identical, nor a pair of chairs constructed by a craftsman – they each have an inimitable character formed by the craftsman’s hands and the natural grain patterns of the wood. “For this look, each item is selected for its intrinsic appeal and its ‘spirit’ or personal meaning, not because it harmonises or blends with a colour scheme,” emphasises Jardim. “It is the contrast and comparison between the diverse elements that creates the power and interest here.”

  1. Detail and display It’s said that the divine is in the detail, and nowhere does this statement ring truer than in the considered home. “Detailing speaks of how things are made and is a key element of quality. Hand-stitching, dry joinery, hand-spun or -turned details show off the craftsmanship of the maker as well as the time and consideration that has gone into creating a piece,” explains Angela Chatfield, General Manager of Decorex SA. “Pieces that furnish or accessorise your house should be well-made with quality materials and finishes,” she advises, adding that, while quality is important, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean expensive. “Well-made furniture and even art can be bought from second-hand stores, auctions or even junkshops.”

That said, a considered home is not just about the furnishing and accessories. “Floor and wall finishes, fittings such as doors, window frames and ironmongery are as important and deserve equal attention when selected,” she says, noting that considered homes often successfully blend high-end or collectors’ finds with mass-produced retail-store pieces. Detailing is important not only in furnishing and accessories but also in the spaces themselves, Chatfield adds. “If you have the luxury of renovating an existing home or building a new house, you should consider details such as how different materials merge (for example, how an engineered hardwood floor meets a wall), how thresholds between inside and out are handled, as well as the choice of door handles and light switches. In short, discover sacred space in the midst of the ordinary and realise that the ordinary has been extraordinary all along.”

  1. Materials and textures Texture is important in the considered home because it is associated with one of our primitive instincts. Tactile finishes and surfaces encourage us to explore through our fingertips, to really, physically, feel the difference between a smooth silk, a rough linen and a warm knitted wool. Textures, in other words, provide a stimulus for the sense of touch, which is often neglected in the modern home environment. In addition, the mix of surface textures is as important as colour for emphasising the balance of elements in schemes. Think of the contrasts of rough and smooth, warm and cool and dark and light, advises Gutstadt, who adds that, “in walls and floors, texture creates a canvas for the carefully selected pieces.”

Because textures provide an awareness of the intrinsic qualities of a fabric or piece of furniture, handmade artefacts are key to the considered scheme. Hand-thrown earthenware, for instance, has a slightly sandy, rough surface. You may be able to see and feel the ridges where the clay has been drawn up on the wheel and so understand the nature of the vessel and appreciate its form. For this reason, integrity and quality are foremost when it comes to choosing furnishings and fabrics for the home, says Gutstadt: “Opt for the softest cashmere, the finest cotton and the supplest suede to please the senses.”

  1. Light and colour Although the considered space errs towards minimalism, it is a far cry from the Spartan principles of Zen living. Instead, fabrics and colours are sybaritic in the extreme. Jardim explains: “A home that subscribes to the considered approach will be coloured with myriad tones and variations. For example, wood comes in diverse shades, from the deep black of ebony to the yellow of pine, the red of cherry wood and the white, silvery quality of ash. Stones are the same: compare the solid greyness of granite to the pearly whiteness of marble, or the yellow hues of sandstone.”

The easiest way to start with a scheme like this is to choose a plain background for your room and to let the accessories and decorative items bring in the colour, form and pattern, she advises: “Opting for an uncontrived palette allows for the display of different furnishing styles and for the introduction of pattern.” Adjusting the amount of light that comes into a room will also change its mood and atmosphere. “The best illumination is daylight, a natural phenomenon that should be exploited to the full,” she maintains. “When it comes to artificial lighting, rather than a single light fitting in the center of a room, the considered home utilises a palette of lighting options, which might include pendants, standing lamps, spotlights and LED lighting, to create different moods. Indeed, in the considered home, the concept of matching your lighting to your mood is an immensely seductive one.”

  1. Cycles and change “Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast,” said iconic artist-poet Kahil Gibran. In life, change and versatility are not only inevitable but also essential, and nature gives us the variety we crave. “Let what’s going on outside influence what’s going on inside,” advises Chatfield. “Each season brings a different mood and has an inevitable rhythm, but this is often lost in our modern lives.”

An awareness of these seasonal changes allows your home to evolve over time, she explains. “You might change the upholstery on a chair, re-hang an artwork or change some of your room accessories. Be spontaneous and use the seasons and changing light and temperature to act as prompts to reconsider the things around you. Rotate your favourite things from room to room to keep your home alive and in motion. Use what you already have in a different context and you’ll be surprised at how stimulating your things will look when literally seen in a new light. Scavenge mementoes from nature to create fleeting still-lifes – it is a way of holding onto time and place. Our surroundings hold tremendous power over our moods and emotions. Use that power to positive effect.”

Ironically, while change may be the only constant, the considered home has an immutability to it, she says: “Because it is not about slavishly following transient trends but rather creating a personal collection of things that you love living with, the look is ultimately enduring and timeless.”

Decorex SA details: Decorex Durban: 18 – 21 March 2016 Time: 18 – 20 March, 10am to 8pm; 21 March, 10am to 6pm Trade days: 18 and 19 March Ticket prices: R75 for adults; R65 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre Decorex Cape Town: 29 April – 2 May 2016 Time: 10am to 7pm daily (6pm Monday) Trade Day: 29 April Ticket prices: R85 for adults; R75 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: CTICC Decorex Joburg: 5 – 9 August 2016 Time: 10am to 6pm daily Trade day: 5 August Ticket prices: R110 for adults; R90 for pensioners and students; R80 for trade; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre