VR-Events is a Virtual Reality and 360 production company based in Cape Town. They are pioneering innovative ways to experience and interact with education, entertainment and the working environment through virtual reality.
VR-Events is changing the way we view and interact with the world. Working closely with their software team, they specialise in creating bespoke Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences, tailormade for industries such as commercial marketing, real estate, education and live entertainment.
Their ultra-high-definition video and photographic 360°/VR content not only affords potential real estate buyers the luxury of viewing residential properties from the comfort of their own homes or offices, but it also gives the seller peace of mind, as it renders open/show houses redundant.
VR-Events offers clients a variety of specialised services. Along with their internationally renowned partner, RenderHeads, they create bespoke VR, AR, 360 and other interactive solutions. In collaboration with South Africa’s best production companies and artists, VR-Events set out to create the most immersive commercials ever. In partnership with UCT and other international institutions, they are also developing new ways of learning and educating.
Customers can also count on VR-Events for live streaming solutions for any type of event and can also conveniently take your photography and videography projects to new heights.
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Belinda and Garith recently swapped their 80 square meter apartment for a 1080 square meter free standing home. The smart couple shares their thoughts on doing it yourself and saving time and money by using readily available apps.
As enthusiastic DIY’s they took a hands-on approach from fixing up, to building furniture and especially making life easier with smart technology when they moved into their first house. “Although the house was 80 per cent fine, we still needed to do a few things to make it ours,” says Belinda. According to her, one of the most satisfying things about DIY is seeing the progress and feel of the home changing room by room. Her best advice on doing it yourself is to gauge your skill level with the task at hand, sometimes it is more affordable to save and buy than DIY. She adds with a giggle “Those how-to videos sometimes really make it look easier than it is!”.
Garith’s again could not wait to turn everyday tedious chores like watering the garden into an automated process. “We put a lot of energy into our house and I believe the house needs to give back, and with automation, we get to see that” remarks Garith.
Garith, an ardent IOT fan, thinks home automation is a real fun thing to do and that your imagination is the only limit to how far you’re willing to take it. He explains; “I simply started because I wanted to automate watering my garden rather than spending time in the evenings with a hose pipe. Now instead of spending an hour or so in the garden, the garden is watered automatically and only when needed”.
Irrigation on low garden moisture levels was only the first step and since their automation project has grown to include notifications on external gates or garage doors being open at night, switching on lights based on internal security sensors, regulating a room’s temperature and turning the geyser on only twice a day.
Garith’s DIY Home Automation Tips
Home Assistant to control smart devices. “There are others, but Home Assistant is what we use. To get started, search on Youtube for Home Assistant, there are a ton of beginner Video’s, “The Hookup” and “Drzzs” are my go-to’s”.
There are various brands for smart switches to control your lights, lamps, garage door, gate motor, heaters and pool pumps. Garith’s choice was Sonoff devices as he found them to be popular, affordable and easy to use with plenty of local suppliers. There are also plenty of Youtubers to get tips from. “There is another smart switch brand also worth checking out called Shelly, they’re a little more expensive but also have a great range”.
For irrigation automation, his choice fell on Smartkit which uses OpenSprinkler to control the taps (or solenoids) for his zones.
SmartKit irrigationRead More
SmartKit was established in 2017 to provide quality home automation at affordable prices. We represent brands such as SONOFF, and our own OpenIrrigation; in addition to selling EZVIZ, LifeSmart and Amazon Echo. We spoke to Tim Gaul from SmartKit and discovered some pretty neat facts about smart homes.
A Beginner’s Guide
According to Tim, the quickest way to get involved in home automation is by using their “plugin devices”. The SONOFF Micro, SONOFF Slampher and SONOFF S26 smart plug will allow you to begin benefiting from the eWelink ecosystem within minutes. SONOFF products do not require any additional bridges or hubs, only a WiFi connection. You can plug the device in, pair it with your smartphone and be up and running with your first smart home installation.
Affordable and Achievable
“Gone are the days of costly, hard-wired smart home solutions – you already have all the infrastructure required to begin your smart home journey”, says Tim. As mentioned above, you can begin with “plugin devices”, move onto lighting with LED, light switch and dimmer controls, add power monitoring and react to environmental changes, such as temperature.
Tim continues “for the braver DIYer, you can control your pond, pool, garage, irrigation and gates – all from your smartphone or voice-enabled device. SONOFF now offers a home security solution with motion detection, door sensors and cameras. All devices are available for only a few hundred Rand or less”.
Use Technology Optimally
“With regards to our products, the most important thing about home automation is good WiFi. A second key factor would be to familiarise yourself with the integration of products such as Smart Scenes, IFTTT, Google Home and Amazon Alexa to extend the capabilities of your solution beyond simple on and off. Should you have this basic foundation for your ecosystem, you could greatly extend the capabilities of your smart home without much investment in more expensive solutions”.
Tim says his customers tend to be 30-somethings and upwards. “I believe this technology may be more affordable for older millennials (who are now homeowners) but it is by no means restricted to their age group”.
We asked Tim what he thinks a home cannot do without and he said every home needs a voice-controlled assistant. Alexa, for example, has a screen in the kitchen, presence all over the house and she even sits on the car dashboard!
2020 in a Nutshell
Currently, we only do deliveries and collections and purchases at our head office have been halted. Additionally, we have moved to a more chat-based system as the phone system has not been permanently manned since the beginning of the pandemic.
Our presence is now almost exclusively online, which allows us to continue trading – provided we are legally allowed to do so.
Visit SmartKit online.Read More
SKYE HD is a home automation business based in Cape Town. The business started as a TV manufacturer and then evolved into home automation. They now cover all low voltage services for both commercial and residential clients and their CV includes hotels and homes all over South Africa. They offer a turnkey solution from design through to implementation.
Home automation or smart home solutions allows the homeowner to control his house from a central device.
Automation can be scaled down to a single room. There are systems available to control your lights/AV/curtains/blinds and aircon in a single room environment or a complete home.
SKYE HD specializes in electronics for your home and business. They assist with internet-related installations, audiovisual, automated curtains and blinds, lighting control, home cinemas, security cameras, access control and even your granny’s decoder. They have someone on call 24/7. They also understand that not everyone is tech-savvy and will design your system so that a small child or elderly person can easily navigate and control all the services in their home.
SKYE HD spends a lot of time researching products and visiting international shows in Europe and China. By doing so they can bring their clients the latest and greatest in technology.
The SKYE HD team has seen a big shift in technology, where large format LED screens have been used as residential TVs. They believe that these screens will soon become the all-purpose screens of the future. Cinemas will no longer require projectors and even your residential TV will be replaced by a modular LED screen. This will create a massive shift in the tech world.
They are also seeing massive companies fighting it out in the voice control space. Amazon with Alexa, Google with Google Home and Apple with Siri. More and more household electronics are being manufactured with these as standard features. Soon your house will be completely voice-controlled.
Simply share your favourite post by SKYE HD on Instagram or Facebook. Remember to tag them in your post. All the shared posts will go into a draw, and the winner will win a 40” Samsung smart tv. The draw happens on the 30th of September. Every share will count as an entry. T’s & C’s apply. “
Visit SKYE HD online.Read More
Agent Zero is a new company specialising in Internet of Things (IOT) products with smart door locks and sonar fish finders being their main focus. They strive to bring top quality products from around the world directly to the consumer. Find out more about the Agent Zero brand below.
If you are like us and wondering what IOT is, here you go. According to the Software Testing Help Website, it depends on two things to transform a normal device into IoT smart device.
The device can connect with the internet in any way.
The device is integrated with technology like sensors, functional software, some inbuilt technology that supports network connections and also actuators. When both these functionalities are combined an IoT device is formed. The market for IoT devices is expanding rapidly day by day and becoming more popular as well with the drastic increase in the number of users who use them daily.
Agent Zero’s two flagship products are the Igloohome range of smart door lock products and the deeper range of castable fish finders. Agent Zero is the official distributor for the Igloohome products in South Africa.
The range consists of the Mortise lock, the Deadbolt 2S lock, the Keybox and the Padlock. The Deadbolts 2S is the world’s slimmest and sleekest deadbolt and our top seller. The Deadbolt range is popular in Airbnb’s, guesthouses, apartment blocks, offices, lodges and holiday homes making it easy to allow visitors access without handing over keys when you are not available to do so.
The Padlock is the newest addition to the range and is taking off extremely well in the logistics and security industries. The impressive thing about the Igloohome products is that they do not use wi-fi, cannot be hacked and is not affected by load shedding. Igloohome products work on an algopin concept – the same concept that banks use for one-time pins.
Agent Zero is also the official distributor for Deeper Sonar Fish Finders. The Deeper Pro+ was the world’s first castable sonar GPS fish finder. They stock everything from entry-level Deeper devices to more advanced Deeper products. All the Deeper products have built-in WiFi with the Deeper Pro+ and Chirp+ boasting GPS. This device takes your fishing adventures to a whole new level – finding fish has never been so easy.
The impressive WiFi connection that enables great range and huge data transmission is what sets the Pro+ and Chirp+ apart is its integrated GPS. This function enables you to create real-time bathymetric maps of the site you’re fishing from both boat and shore. This allows you to pinpoint exact features in a way that was only previously possible using boat-mounted consoles.
Want to find out more? Shop online.Read More
Having recently celebrated his first year as Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast House & Garden and graciously agreeing to host three talks at the first Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo Virtual Event, we chatted to Piet Smedy about the changes to the House & Garden brand over the past year, where he sees Africa continuing to take global design and what he has gotten up to at home during the lockdown.
You have been at the helm of Condé Nast House & Garden for a year already, taking the title through a rebrand in the process, what has your first year as Editor-in-Chief been like?
The past year has been incredible in terms of growth, both for myself and for the House & Garden brand. Repositioning a legacy brand like House & Garden (the brand itself has been around for over a century, and in South Africa for 22 years) was an amazing opportunity to open it up to a whole new generation of readers and establish the magazine as a relevant guide to living with style.
This year, of course, has been one of the most challenging the publishing industry has ever faced, and we’re certainly not in the clear just yet but I could not have been blessed with a more dedicated (and tenacious) team that makes every issue not only possible but successful.
Africa has historically been somewhat behind the rest of the world when it comes to trends but is now starting to lead the way. What are your favourite trends and designs that have come from home in recent months and where do you hope to see us taking the world next?
Africa is the most exciting place in design right now – fact. Over the past few years, we’ve seen African designers, especially black designers, taking ownership of their designs, embracing what it means to be African and have an African aesthetic rather than falling back on tired European ideologies. Laduma Ngxokolo, Donald Nxumalo, Thabisa Mjo, Mpho Vackier, Simpiwe Mlambo: these are but a few of the designers who are championing multiple African design identities and much-needed representation of black African designers in the broader conversation. This is not a trend, but a paradigm shift and I believe that is why African design has never been more important.
When it comes to putting the magazine together, how do you balance globally and locally relevant content?
Providing a platform for local designers to showcase their work is and will always be our first mission at the magazine. Of course, offering readers insight into international homes, trends and product releases is a cornerstone of House & Garden and will continue to be, but over the past year we’ve shifted our gaze to be a lot more inward, and by that I mean towards design from both South Africa and the continent.
Which books, sites or people do you read/follow to keep up to date?
I get most of my news from Instagram, which I check every morning to get a snapshot of the news – design and otherwise. There are the usual suspects – Architectural Digest, Dezeen, Designboom, Highsnobiety – but I love the content coming out of The Cut, too, and of course, anything and everything by Kinfolk and Cereal. Oh, and if you haven’t yet, do yourself a favour and watch the ‘In Residence’ series of videos on Nowness – they’re fantastic.
What do you think has been the greatest redefinition of home due to COVID-19?
I think we’ve had to re-evaluate what we want, and need, from our homes like never before. Because they’re not ‘just’ our homes anymore – they’ve had to become our offices, our temples, our gyms, our restaurants – and even with easing lockdown regulations, I don’t think that will change. The concept of home as a sanctuary in a very confusing, sometimes erratic world is something I think will stick around for a very long time.
We did a bit of a dive into your social media, and see that you have launched a “one-man lockdown apartment redo”, how is it going?
I’ve been living in my apartment for two-and-a-bit years, but it was really after the hard lockdown that I actually got to experience the space properly, and decided to make changes. I did an interior renovation when I moved in, so the changes were entirely cosmetic this time round: out with the pistachio walls and minimalism and in with storm blue and white, restored mid-century pieces and an obscene amount of greenery. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away, it’s a whole new respect for painters! Seriously, paint cans should come with a ‘don’t try this at home’ warning – it’s hard work.
You are also a “proud plant parent”, what tips do you have for keeping your plants and garden thriving?
Leave them alone. The number of casualties I’ve had due to overwatering is all the evidence I need to know that the best thing you can give your plants is some space. Plant parenting is a study in patience.
If you could live in any home you have featured in House & Garden, which/whose home would it be?
The London home of Dean and Dan Caten (the founders of DSquared) that was designed by Dimore Studio. It was the April cover of House & Garden. I actually based the current colour of my walls on that apartment. Otherwise, anything by Kelly Wearstler.
Four Quick Fire Questions:
Which item in your home can you not live without?
My very small art collection. From the crushed Marlboro box piece given to me by the artist Kurt Pio as a house-warming gift and the oversized botanical pieces from Pezula Interiors from my mother, to the Renee Rossouw I bought with my first editor’s salary and the rather odd fried egg print that was sent to me by a dear friend (and former colleague at GQ magazine) now living in Copenhagen, each piece has so much sentimental value. I’m hoping to add work by Banele Khoza and Lulama Wolf in the near future.
Outdoors or indoors?
Indoors. Specifically, in the kitchen. That’s my happy place.
Braai or gourmet meal?
Can’t it be both?
DIY or buy?
Buy. You’ve never met someone worse at following instructions.
If you would like to keep up to date with what is happening in the global and local world of living with style, subscribe to House & Garden here.
Find more decorating tips on HOMEMAKERS.Read More
Whether you use your patio to lounge in the sun, enjoy time with the family or even indulge in a romantic dinner for two, it should be a welcoming space all year round. Patio Warehouse has been around long enough to know exactly what it is that customers not only want but need to make life a more stylish and functional one. Patio Warehouse officially opened its doors in June 2005 and not only will you get the best prices for the best quality furniture, but you’ll also find the widest variety of outdoor furniture.
Patio Warehouse is a virtual exhibitor at the first Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Virtual Event. As a well-known exhibitor with HOMEMAKERS, we asked Marketing Manager, Mia Delport a few questions about what‘s new at the Patio Warehouse brand.
Mia explains that furniture should create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere displaying character and ambience. She says, “the trend is comfortable outdoor furniture that looks good and fits in with your home – and anything goes. Wicker is still very popular and so is light, aluminium furniture that is durable and easy to move around”. You can also always mix your pieces,” Mia says, “go for a fully upholstered outdoor couch with two wicker chairs. Mixing the different textures brings a nice look to your patio.
“In the summertime, our umbrellas are always a hit – especially around the pool area”, explains Mia. “With our harsh South African sun, we always need some shade around the pool area. Dining and lounge settings also enjoy popularity, as everybody’s need on and around the patio are different. Our range of Weber products is also selling well as everybody enjoys a good braai on their patio”.
Doing Business Online
Mia says that their online store has become extremely busy and why they’re focussing on getting the best patio online store in the country. Not only is our online store great, but you also have the support of 6 stores nationwide. We pride ourselves on having one of the best aftersales services possible.
New Releases and Variety
Patio Warehouse introduces its new ranges around this time of year and always keeps the widest ranges available and has everything in stock. “When you buy something – you can have it immediately”, says Mia.
Updating your patio? Contact Patio Warehouse today.
Find more inspiration on the HOMEMAKERS Idea page.Read More
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s usually the first place you meet in the morning and with a fresh cuppa at hand, it’s also the best place in your home where the family comes together. The kitchen is not only a place for preparing and cooking food anymore. It’s a communication hub for the family and with smart technology and clever designs – also a place for interconnectivity. We decided to chat to UNIQUE KITCHENS representative, Penny Calitz who shares the inside scoop on trends and style and essentially, why UNIQUE KITCHENS have managed to stay in business for so many years. Established in 1991, UNIQUE KITCHENS prides itself in providing clients with the highest quality products available in the industry – all with a family-inspired all-can-do attitude!
Grey has become very popular. We play with many shades of grey and people still love white. We can create luxury-inspired looks for anyone’s budget. Melamine is popular because it offers so many variations in colours and styles. We work with Timber too and sometimes still veneer.
The most important thing one can do when it comes to optimising space is to listen to the client, says Penny. What clients need and how they operate as a family is what inspires every project. “We design our kitchens uniquely for every home. Pantries are still popular for their added storage facilities and people like the practicality of them. Kitchen islands are also great for optimising space and functionality” Penny also says that they are also seeing little coffee stations and gin bars in kitchens which are also designed according to people’s needs.
UNIQUE KITCHENS specialise in many materials, from marble and engineered stone to Timber and melamine. “We use marble mostly in bathrooms and for vanity counters, Penny continues. HOMEMAKERS agrees that marble remains a classic look in bathrooms. Engineered Stone has a vast, beautiful range and is becoming more popular too. The great thing about engineered stone is that it is easy to match colours and tones with your home, says Penny.
Penny says they are known for their large colour selection of melamine products and this gives clients more freedom when choosing their colour scheme. “Pastel tones and colour washes are also trendy and affordable – we love being able to offer these options to all our customers. We also offer great solutions to practicality and customers like the convenience of that.
Penny ends by saying “The family environment of our business allows us to give our clients what they want. You walk the walk with your clients in these types of projects and they usually become our friends too – which is always a win for us”!Read More
Over the last 60 odd years, Timber Construction has worked in numerous countries and on a large variety of projects, ranging from hotels, government buildings, mines, office blocks, hospitals and domestic housing. They have extensive knowledge and understanding of timber and composite. The team gets involved from the conceptualisation stage all the way to admiring the beautifully completed projects with their satisfied customers.
We asked the owner, Byron Dillon, a few questions to give us the low down on the success of their company and what it is that sets them apart from the rest.
Who is Timber Construction?
Timber Construction is all about customer satisfaction. We are 100% transparent and committed to honesty and integrity in all our business relationships. We only use the best composite and timber materials available, using the most modern installation practices which guarantee the best results.
Our outstanding service record separates us from the rest. This can be confirmed by any or all of our suppliers and customers. We will go the extra mile wherever we can in order to understand and implement your vision and dream – often advising on more practical and functional ideas
How Did It All Start?
My father, Paul, started the business in the United Kingdom in 1960. He completed five years of university, while achieving the highest possible degree there was in timber construction. I started with the business in 1992 and took the reins in 1999.
What Does Timber Construction Specialise In?
Our main focus is on supply and installation of composite and timber decking, wall cladding, decorative privacy screens, stairs, balustrades, pergolas, custom carpentry as well as heritage restoration.
We work in conjunction with architects and builders, from conception to completion during your build or makeover renovation in order to create and achieve the dream lifestyle our clients are looking for.
What Trends and Designs Can We Expect This Summer?
Technology is constantly evolving, so we are always looking for newer and better products in order to create that low to zero maintenance lifestyle we all want. That “kick your shoes off, have a glass of wine and enjoy the view” kind of lifestyle. We encourage our clients to merge outside and inside spaces to create an effortless flow.
The trending colours for this season seem to be grey with a touch of beige and brown, keeping to the earthy feel. Whatever your preference, you can count on Timber Construction to have it or find it for you.
Is Timber Construction Environmentally-Friendly?
We only use 100 per cent recycled, environmentally-friendly eco-green certified composite decking. We encourage our clients to only use sustainable forestry timber products. The benefits of using recycled materials are low to zero maintenance features.
What is your Biggest Achievement?
We have stood the test of time and earned the respect and trust of our customers and will continue to do so. Our projects have been in conjunction with big names in the construction industry like WBHO, FWJK, NWC and BMW. Our company was hired to do the restoration on Robben Island for four months restoring the old Governor’s residence. We have also worked with some really big names in the hotel industry such as The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, Radisson Blue, Sun International, Marula Sun and Gabarone Sun. Our portfolio is international across with completed jobs in the United Kingdom, Seychelles, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Large food chain restaurants such as the Cape Town Fish Market, Smith & Wolensky, Fat Fish Café and McDonald’s have also been customers.
How has 2020 changed Timber Construction’s business?
We can’t get away from tried and trusted one-on-one meetings with our clients as our product is something you want to touch, smell, kick, jump on and compare. However, we are embracing technology to bring our clients closer to that one-on-one meeting by being part of HOMEMAKERS Virtual Event and connecting with our clients through social media platforms.Read More
There is one thing that can turn to manage a rental property into an admin nightmare – utilities. When a property shares a municipality meter with tenants and landlords, it invariably results in admin-intensive management of meters, payments and assessments. Fortunately, there is no reason why any landlord should have to go through this process every month, if at all, with Citiq prepaid electricity.
Prepaid electricity uses pay-as-you-go sub-meters that are connected to the main utility meter. The tenant gains control over their electricity use – they get what they pay for, no more and no less – and the landlord doesn’t have to worry about whether payments will be made or endure arguments about billing or usage. Citiq Prepaid is one of South Africa’s leading prepaid utility sub-metering service providers because our rates are lower, our products are of exceptional quality, and we work with landlords to give them the support they need in managing tenant utilities with ease.
With our prepaid sub-metering solutions, landlords can transform a granny flat, apartment, backyard or spare space into a rental unit without worrying about how electricity usage will be measured or managed. Tenants will also appreciate the fact that they can manage their budgets more effectively and retain control over their usage and costs. Citiq Prepaid sends the funds paid into the prepaid sub-meter directly to the landlord on the second day of the month so they can pay the electricity service provider on time, and in full, without any financial risk. The funds are held in a trust managed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board so the money is safe, secure, and managed with integrity.
Your Only Solution
Citiq Prepaid’s utility sub-metering solutions don’t just stand out in the market for their quality and their efficiency. We offer value-added services and solutions that have been designed to make the life of the landlord and the tenant easier and more efficient. Our online portal offers reporting and management tools so landlords can keep track of meters and consumption – often helping to find a potential problem before it becomes expensive – and our network of approved contractors can help with installation and troubleshooting. Visit our website to find out more about our solutions and products and to find the closest retailer to purchase a Citiq Prepaid meter and get started with efficient tenant utility management.
Visit Citiq Prepaid on their website.Read More