The Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo is known for showcasing the top talents in design, decor and home lifestyle. To ensure we only bring you the best, each year we put together an impressive panel of expert industry leaders who judge and award our exhibitors for their efforts. This year, our four judges are top names in interior design and lifestyle journalism.

2019’s judges are  Marcia Margolius, Editor of SA Decor and Design and Award Winning Blog: Marcia loves it, Marius Hitge, Owner of Marius Hitge & Co,  Vicki Sleet, Deputy Editor at Good Housekeeping Magazine and editor of interior and lifestyle blog I Want That and Wicus Pretorius, Editor of Tuis|Home magazines.

Ahead of Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo 2019, we asked our judges a few questions about coming trends, bringing raw comfort into your home and what makes a winning stand.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

Marcia: I have over two decades of experience in the décor and design industry. I am a qualified designer and decorator and a member of The South African Institute of the Interior Design Professions (IID). My writing career began in 1994, and my writing credits to date include Create a Stylish Home, Skep ‘n Tuis met Styl, Leef Ruimtes, Living Spaces, Bed and Bath, Kitchen and Dining, as well as the annual SA Décor & Design The Buyers Guide (now on its 23rd edition). I also tutor at design colleges and am a regular contributor to a number of interior magazines and exhibitions.

Marius: For the last 33 years I’ve run a small creative company. I’m passionate about client service and attention to detail. The landscape of interiors is shaped through innovative design and concepts that communicate the client’s brand and expectations. I live with two dogs, a cat, a peacock, a parrot, and some geese on a small olive grove in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.

Vicki: I am the Deputy Editor at Good Housekeeping Magazine and the editor of interiors and lifestyle blog I Want That. I’m passionate about homemaking, decorating and especially, making lovely for less – I’m always on the hunt for a cost effective way to beautify my space and those of my readers. I also love discovering new and interesting products and services to help make life a little easier.

Wicus: Ex teacher, turned journalist. Have always been a renovations junkie. Love the smell of wet paint and wet cement!

The theme for this year’s Expo is “Raw Comfort – a place of realness”. What design choices do you make to bring “Raw Comfort” into your living space, and do you have any advice for our visitors?

Marcia: RAW  is a great way to connect with nature’s elements and soothing powers.  Embrace this organic feel that will create warmth, comfort and coziness.  Make use of recycled and reclaimed materials that reinforce the sense of repurposing.  Natural materials such as raw wood, stone, and metals dominate this look and create an interior that resembles the simplicity and beauty found all around us in SA. Raw style has no predictable lines or patterns. The overall feel is effortless, often described as simple, coarse, and inviting!

Marius: Our lives are incredibly busy and we get bombarded by so much information on a daily basis – whether relevant or irrelevant – that it’s important to create a beautiful home where we feel comfortable, relaxed and happy. Personal preference plays a huge role in how we decorate our homes, but natural materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, reed and metals can help to create a sense of calm. One should also not be too precious – homes are for living in, so be practical in your choices, whether you have young kids or animals.

Vicki: I love this theme and am such a believer in keeping things real in the home – your space should reflect your and your family’s soul. From a design perspective, I think this means keying into your lifestyle and decorating around that – slipcovers if you have a young family so you can chuck them in the wash when they’re grubby and elements like floor cushions too if your kids are younger. It’s about not being too precious about your space and the items you use to furnish it. I think it also refers to the movement towards tactile fabrics like linen and hemp which are so versatile and add such depth to any space.

Wicus:  I think a space that is too “done up”, i.e. overdecorated is not inviting nor comfortable. But it is a very personal preference. If it works for you, go for it. Myself? I prefer a very organic approach to décor. Layer your home over time. Buy pieces you fall in love with, not “just stuff” because there is a gap somewhere. A home is a place where dogs can jump on the couch, and kids can play, and adults can put their feet up!

CTX Judges Marcia Margolius
Marcia Margolius

As one of our judges, what do you look for in a stand? Any specific criteria?

Marcia: Sustainability, first impressions, branding, local is lekker, the theme and display.

Marius: I’ve been fortunate to be a judge for several years and it’s amazing to see how much the show has grown, all the new talent out there and the quality improving each year. There is so much one can do with your stand, such as using refreshing colours, exciting textures and movement in the design. The stand must grab your interest and knowledgeable staff should be ready to answer any questions.

Vicki: Well of course it should be visually appealing but a stand that taps into current decor trends is instantly inviting and be one that has enough space for multiple visitors to engage with the product.  Then, staff who are engaged with the consumer and know their product (nothing worse than someone sitting on a stool looking bored) and an interactive element (be it a giveaway or a product that entices the consumer to touch and feel) is lovely. And definitely a show special and samples!

Wicus: There are so many stands, if you want to draw people in – do something that stands out. There is no one golden rule. It obviously has to be beautiful. And have easy access. And friendly, engaging people helping you with your questions.

Which colours will be big this season?

Marcia: Living Coral and Mustard

Marius: Metallics, yellows, blues and greens including turquoise.

Vicki: Mustard is a huge colour trend and given that Pantone’s colour of the year is Living Coral, I think we’re going to see much more of it in interiors – it pairs well with so many colours.

Wicus: Impossible to say. Grey remains popular, but black has grown hugely in popularity. Blue – in all its shades, has always been a firm favourite.

Are accent walls in style?

Marcia: Floral patterns [are in] but personally, instead of a loud wallpaper, try out a textured element.

Marius: I honestly believe accent walls will never go out of fashion. We just dress them differently with e.g. subtle textures, wallpaper, etc.

Vicki: I think they are! But there’s an additional element in the form of texture and elaborate lifelike patterning.

Wicus: Yes. Always.

CTX Judges Marius Hitge
Marius Hitge

Metals – Gold, silver, bronze or rose gold?

Marcia: Gold and silver.

Marius: Rose gold is currently very popular. Metals are still used in combination with other décor items, especially powder coated steel.

Vicki: Metals are still huge – especially mixed together.

Wicus: Black metal…

How can one bring natural elements into your home?

Marcia:  It is so easy to fill your home with “ROAR” materials. They fit into any style and are so inviting and effortless.

Marius: Recycling is still big. Many people opt to repurpose or reuse. Natural elements such as raw wood, cane, bamboo and baskets are making a comeback, as are house plants including hanging baskets, macrame, etc.

Vicki: Not since the 70’s have plants been so big – it’s ALL about plants at the moment.

Wicus: Textured products such as woven rugs, wicker chairs and pendants.

Are greys and whites still fashionable?

Marcia: Neutral colours will always have a place in your interior but grey is on the decline  – although it will never go out of style, it’s a little boring.

Marius: It will always be in fashion as there are so many variations in these colours and it’s such a personal preference. However, I do believe people are starting to use more colour again. Colour can play such a huge role in how we feel – just think of yellow.

Vicki: Absolutely but navy is also the new neutral to love and we’re pushing things with grey and white by adding black, metallics and accent colours like forest green and pink.

Wicus: Yes.

CTX Judge Vicki Sleet
Vicki Sleet

Is wallpaper back in style?

Marcia: Yes. Personally I would go for a more subtle textured wallpaper (like silk or grass cloth), as it adds interest and texture, instead of a loud wallpaper.

Marius: Definitely, and in a big way. People now use wallpaper to add interest to a room, including plants and their anatomy, oversized patterns, etc. Often they choose their own design and have it printed.

Vicki: Wallpaper is in style more than ever before.

Wicus: Has been for a while, and there is a huge increase in the number of companies that print their own. Technology has changed this field. Printing custom wallpaper is now easier than ever. Big florals, strong graphics – colour!

How do I stop over decorating?

Marcia: Stop being dictated by fashion.

Marius: In my opinion, you can never over decorate. It’s so personal – some people prefer less is more, but others love adding to their homes as they find special items, adding layer upon layer to their homes.

Vicki: If you feel a space is ‘done’ but you find something you’d like to add, it’s probably a good idea to remove an element. Rotate favourite displays and avoid clutter by grouping collections together.

Wicus: Well, define overdecorating. If it means too many styles, then build yourself a moodboard to establish your style. Use fabric swatches, colour swatches, pictures from your fav magazine. ID spaces in décor magazines that you love, and mark on them why you love them. Is it the exposed brick, or the wicker chair, or the layered rugs? Or the eclectic mash-up of things? Then use that as a guideline to decorate your own space. A good start, though, is to systematically go through your home, and let go of things you don’t truly like. Budget is of course an issue. We can’t all just chuck everything out and start over. But if you have an old ugly dining-room table that’s always been a thorn in your side, sell it on Gumtree, and find one you like. Then build your home’s décor around that.

Wicus Pretorius CTX Judge
Wicus Pretorius

Are you introduced to new products at the Expo?

Marcia: So often many beautiful creations from our local crafters pop up and amaze me. We have so much to offer the world.

Wicus: In fact, I look for those specifically so we can stay on top of trends and new “releases”.

In your view, what is the biggest decor trend this year? (Going into Spring & Summer)

Marcia: 70’s Scandi Style. Recycled kitchens, textures, pattern, ceramics, raw and organic shapes.

Wicus: I do think people are scaling down, and decluttering. It might not be Scandi yet, but definitely a growing trend of not shoving stuff into cupboards where it will never be seen again.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Marcia: Let your home be an extension of your own personality. Bring outdoor indoor. Open plan living. Creative storage solutions and dual purpose furniture.

Wicus: Not sure what your style is, or fav colour? Open your wardrobe, ID the garments you love and wear most — and you might be surprised to learn something about your preferred decor.

Get your tickets for Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo at CTICC from 29 August – 1 September here.