This is the season to brighten up the home with cheerful pastels and sheers to let in light
Fruits like watermelon, strawberries and litchis are beginning to make their way to the shelves and these can be showcased on a large meringue base with edible flowers to create a colourful garden Pavlova.
Tomatoes evolve from their bland, winter forms into juicy, sweet and ripe globes of flavour, and they can be celebrated with open salads.
In terms of wine, push all the full-bodied red wines to the back of the cellar and dust off pink and white wines.
Transform your chardonnay drinking to vintages that are unoaked for a lighter, fruitier flavour to complement the seasonal food. MCCs are well received and ideal for celebratory lunches and reunions with old friends.
The Italian version, called prosecco, pairs beautifully with fruit and fruit juice – pop a strawberry inside or pair with peach juice for a trendy Bellini.
Aperol can be added to soda water to create an iced spritzer.
Pair Provençal-type dishes like Salade Nicoise with a vibrant light rose, a pink wine that also goes well with the South African braai and the hearty, rich flavours of grilled meat.
Spring is the time to dress up interiors to impress guests and give your home a quick facelift.
Dress up the room
The dining and entertainment areas are the places for seasonal celebrations over fabulous food and great conversation.
Just as our gardens are transformed at this magical time, so too can our living rooms be brightened up.
“Instead of using a ton of colour to add interest, we suggest incorporating lots of different textures like cotton, matte metal ceramic and wood,” says Katrin Herrmann van Dyk, creative director of HAUS. “We eschewed traditional floral prints for timeless designs like checks and stripes.”
With entertaining moving outdoors in the summer months, table settings can be planned to showcase the food and decor.
Carin van Heerden of Carne Interiors says balance and a focal point are of utmost importance.
“Correct furniture design creates a comfortable and friendly impression. To contribute to a spring boutique-look and feel, wallpaper, correct accessories and exquisite lighting make an impact.”
She suggests proper lighting can show off furniture in unique ways. “You may want to place comfortable chairs around an antique chaise lounge, or use a bench with cushions rather than boring metal chairs outside.”
Sense of humour
It is also a great time to unearth unusual tableware and create conversation points with quirky pieces. Create visual layers with metallic base plates and laser-cut place mats. The seasonal move in haute couture from heavy coats and knits to simple wraps and lighter covers is mimicked in decor styling with simpler tablecloths and sheer curtaining to let in the sunshine.
Local handmade ceramics piled high with seasonal salad ingredients are statement pieces. Modern porcelain, like the Hybrid range of ceramic ware from Generation
Design, are ideal mood setters.
“The contrasting relationship between east and west is appropriately represented by dividing each piece of tableware into eastern and western halves. The Hybrid pieces are clearly divided between east and west with a coloured line marking the break between the two styles, and each side being from a different colour palette and motif,” says Julia Day, head designer of Generation Design.
With spring comes the promise of colour and perfume in the form of flowers that have been gathering strength over the winter.
Coral Shortt of Cape based Epanouir Floral designs believes spring is the best time for lots of different flowers.
“In addition to the hot-house grown varieties that are available all year round, some of the most colourful and fragrant blooms are available now.”
She says while some blooms have a short vase life, they can still uplift a room and add a sensory experience to dining and living rooms.
“These include Iceland poppies in gorgeous pastels and bright citrus tones, ranunculas in all colours from white, yellow, orange, pinks, red and maroon anemones, although these are grown in limited quantities locally – often white, red and purple.” Sweetpeas, freesias, stocks and watsonias deliver delightful fragrance, while delphiniums and tulips introduce sophisticated elegance.
“Freesias, which also come in many shades, have a beautiful lemon-pepper fragrance,” says Shortt.
“It’s still fynbos and indigenous flower season, as the flowers respond to the winter rainfall and fynbos is at its most abundant.
“Fynbos also offers good value because it is typically long-asting. Look for blushing bride proteas with small, soft pink flowers and various proteas, including white and king proteas.”
Roses tend to be expensive at this time of the year as many local rose farms would have pruned in August and the local yield is low due to the colder weather.
As a wedding floral designer, she sees spring events with a noticeable move toward incorporating blossoms.
“Blossoms are not strictly a cut flower, but they certainly evoke a sense of spring. We often see a swing back to soft pastel shades from the more dramatic deeper colours preferred in winter – a move to yellows and soft pinks. The current trends of botanical styling suit the spring flowers beautifully as many have stems that allow them to ‘dance’ in their arrangements.”
Less is more
Entertaining calls for elegance and a hint of showiness, but a little restraint can go a long way.
“The warmer months call for long, lazy lunches outside with loved ones. There’s no room for pretence, so styling is pared back and simple,” says Van Dyk.
Shortt says pared-down elegance is going to increase in popularity as people start to move away from the beautiful but busy looks of vintage or botanical styling.
“The concept of less is more should not mean good design is sacrificed, but it should become the key element of the look. It should also not be taken to mean ‘cheaper is better’. Your look will have more of an impact through a selection of pieces and combinations of colour and textures.”
Shortt says often the simplest of designs are the hardest to achieve. For a “less is more” themed wedding installation, her company used a neutral underlying palette and introduced small pops of colour in the flower designs to bring the celebration to life.
“Good understanding of your medium is vital to bring out its best without resorting to tricks.
“The look we created was based on using varied and interesting containers, lots of texture and materials like wood or ceramics, but in well-balanced and limited quantities. Clusters of a single flower work better for this look, rather than mixing lots of varieties in a single container. It allows each flower to shine,” says Shortt.