Purple Rain

Pantone announced the new Colour of the Year a few weeks ago and it really has raised some eyebrows in the design world.   The colour is called Ultra Violet, and it is Purple folks, a very bright Purple – think Barney vibes!

I am still wrapping my head around how to use “Greenery” – last year’s colour of the year! (read all about that here)


The Pantone  colour institute says the following about their choice: “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”  Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute, said: “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to Pantone 18-3838 ultra violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.”

Purple Rain Purple Rain

Purple Rain Purple Rain

The meaning of purple most often refers to nobility, abundance, and dignity and is very often used in more opulent and regal interiors where more traditional decor is favoured. Think deep buttoned velvet sofa…    That is all well and good but how can this colour sit comfortably in a contemporary space which is not a tween’s bedroom?!

I would start off by advising that this colour be used with a less-is-more approach and rather on small pieces of furniture, art or décor accessories.  Maybe as a colour brought into a rug.   I would stay clear of wall treatments.

Use on smaller pieces of furniture as a pop colour.  The purple sits really well in this contemporary space
Use on smaller pieces of furniture as a pop colour. The purple sits really well in this contemporary space

To use purple effectively in a contemporary interior, I would pair it with materials such as concrete, timber, glass and shades of grey.   This will all neutralize the saturation of the colour and make it more contemporary and stylish, and less brazen.

Looking good mixed with  greys and timber
Looking good mixed with greys and timber
A winning combination with concrete Can we also have a moment for the light!
A winning combination with concrete
Can we also have a moment for the light!

It will be interesting to see how this colour fares this year across all the design disciplines.  I am not so sure it is going to take off in interiors, perhaps a muted Lilac or Mauve shade will to compliment “Millenial Pink” that is still so popular?

I do see this colour as a passing trend (read more about Trends for this year here) and wouldn’t encourage too much investment in it.

What are your thoughts on the colour and can you see yourself using it in your home?



Happy New Year!

It’s the start of a brand new year and with that comes a whole lot of trend predictions – what will be hot in the design world in 2018?

While we may want our homes to feel timeless and our décor to last forever, there’s no denying that trends play a large role in the decorating process. Just like any great outfit is influenced by a mix of trendy accents and personal style, the best interiors reflect personality while showcasing a few pieces that make it feel current…and that’s where trends come in.

The trick to decorating with trends is twofold. First, use them sparingly, and focus on the ones you see yourself adopting for a long time. Second, look ahead to the trends that are on their way up, as opposed to the ones that are fading—that way your décor will feel fresh for longer.

I have put together a little list of some trends that I am tired off, and what I am excited to see more of in 2018


  1. Metal – copper vs bronze

I am over copper.   Especially the “very shiny-looks-like-it-was-made-in-China-kind.”   I think this year we will see a move towards more burnished metals where the material is more authentic and brushed.  Bronze and blacker metals are predicted to be more popular this year.

Bye bye orangey Copper
Bye bye orangey Copper



Reclaimed timber – DIY vs authentic

There is a lot of reclaimed timber out there that has just been done wrong!   I still like the idea of reclaimed timber – I have used it countless time in various interiors – but I think it needs to be used sensitively and appropriately, not just as a cost effective DIY material.   Natural more authentic materials including timber is going to be a big trend.


When reclaimed actually suits the style....
When reclaimed actually suits the style….


  1. Decorative details – Macrame’ vs embelishments

I think Macrame’ has its place in a Boho styled interior, and maybe in a nursery adding some interest, but that’s about it.   For me this trend  is up there with flamingos, pineapples and unicorns – which don’t get me wrong I love – but I think are rapidly approaching a sell by date in 2018.   Pom poms, embellishments, fringing  and traditional details are predicted to dominate furniture and décor accessories this year.

Love a bit of ombre' fringe!
Love a bit of ombre’ fringe!
Embellishment and decorative accents to decor items will still be hot this  year
Embellishment and decorative accents to decor items will still be hot this year
  1. Lighting – Edison bulbs vs mid century light fittings

These  have  dominated interiors for the last few years but I do think they have now had their time to shine.    I am personally loving the nod to Mid-Century inspired light fittings which I think will expand in the year to come.   There seems to be a definite nod towards more vintage light fittings in 2018.

It's time to say cheers!
It’s time to say cheers!
More like this beauty from Weylandts
More like this beauty from Weylandts
More of this!
More of this!


  1. Pop colours vs tonal colours

I think the drama of a ‘pop’ or contrast colour in an interior  is been phased out and replaced with a more tonal colour approach this year  What that means is that spaces are designed entirely in the same colour family.  This creates a very minimalistic harmonious and peaceful space. I love this trend and definitely want to adopt this into some of the projects I am going to be working on.


Too much contrast and drama for 2018!
Too much contrast and drama for 2018!
This year is all about tonal schemes where multiple shades of the same colour a
This year is all about tonal schemes where multiple shades of the same colour are used
The 'tonal' approach
The ‘tonal’ approach

I will be keeping you posted as the year goes on to see how these trends progress….


5 Design tips for Bathrooms

I am busy with a design of a main ensuite bathroom for a client.   Because this is my current focus and I have had  bathrooms on my mind  all week long, I thought I’d share with you some design details that I like to use in a bathroom to really up the ante in the design stakes


  1. Add texture
    I think key to achieving an interesting and inviting bathroom space is to think beyond just plain polished porcelain tiles.  Introducing texture to the bathroom via other interesting wall or floor finishes such as natural stone whether polished or honed, wallpaper, fabrics, and furniture really will take your bathroom from average to amazing!



Shower recess

I love to add a recess in the shower or above a bath if construction allows us too (you need to be able to have a 230 wall to cut into, or else the space to add another skin of brickwork on) Not only is a recess very practical as it stores all your bath products neatly, but it also opens the up the opportunity to add detail, by breaking an expanse of tile or maybe even introducing another finish in the actual recess itself.

 2 3 Picture1

  1. Lighting

What really makes quite a statement is to use pendant lights or wall lights in your bathroom space. I have written lots about feature lighting in the past (read here) and how it completely transforms an interior, not just as a wow factor but an alternative light quality too.  Just watch what the light fitting is made from as you wouldn’t want to use anything that would be compromised from steam or difficult to wipe down.




  1. Bathroom rugs

Why stick to the standard bathroom mats that all the home-retailers sell?   I have spoken time and time again (read here) about what rugs can do to a space and I honestly think a bathroom is no different.  An interesting rug really can introduce texture, pattern and personality to an otherwise utalitarian space.  I am particularly loving the new bathroom rugs that a Haus by Hertex have just launched (see here)


  1. Maximize on your Storage

It doesn’t matter if your bathroom is big or small, I think it always important to think about WHAT and HOW you are going to store items in your bathroom.  Often things like where the laundry will go are afterthoughts and a random basket gets purchased with no space for it as it wasn’t thought through.   With proper planning everything can be accommodated for.   If space allows, I love doing shallow wall units for hiding tons of beauty products and medication, as well as an integrated laundry basket- those are the best!





Black is back

It’s no secret that I love a little bit of black in an interior.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record; Black is bold, beautiful, iconic and a classic addition to any interior.


I have shared some ideas before on how to embrace the colour en masse , (Read about it here) but certainly that dramatic  look is not for everybody. One of the ways Black is appearing in design now is in fixtures and hardware. It can stand out in a bright space and ground another. With hardware and fixtures tending to come in just a handful of finishes and colors, this emergence of black is a welcomed option, which I believe will not just be a fleeting trend, but just like the LBD: forever timeless.


  1. Window and door frames

A black window and door frame can really frame the view outside and turn it into something special.   It also adds drama and style to a space which I just love.  The dark against the light outside just pops! Black frames do favour a more contemporary aesthetic, but this look can also look quite at home in a more classic styled interior too.


  1. Bathroom tapware and accessories

I am totally crushing on this look and cannot wait to do a bathroom with black taps for a client! (Any takers out there?!)  I think this look is so chic, and really adds something so special to a very utilitarian and naturally ‘stark’ room.

I love how the taps become the main feature in a very minimalist bathroom, and what a beautiful contrasting detail they provide in a more textural layered bathroom.

Matte black fixtures will compliment any colour scheme or material. Pairing textured timber with smooth black tapware helps to bring out the wood’s beautiful natural grain.   It works a treat with go-to bathroom materials like marble and granite and tiles.  Black tapware is very versatile and looks great in contemporary, classic or rustic styled bathrooms.


  1. Cabinet handles

Cabinet hardware is the little detail that can have a big impact on the overlook look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom.     I recently specified black handles for my beach house kitchen.  I had used a combination of white and grey-smoked timber for the cabinets and felt that stainless steel would just look too stark for the look I was after, and just a little too predictable.   The black handles give the kitchen a more bespoke feel, and authenticity which enhances the relaxed contemporary aesthetic I was after.   I just love the way they turned out and will not hesitate to use blank handles in an appropriate interior again.



Black tapware is available in South Africa from the following suppliers:

A few more inspiration pics   **ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF PINTEREST**


Picture perfect – How to build a Gallery Wall

If there’s one design element that has been having a major moment lately, it has to be gallery walls. Whether it’s big, small or somewhere in between, creating a gallery with your favourite prints and art pieces can instantly elevate the style of any space.


I recently moved my toddler from her cot into a bed. This called for a little room makeover, so this weekend (Flu and all!) I decided to do a little gallery wall in Mackenzie’s room and would like to share with you some tips on how to do one yourself.

I had been collecting prints and pieces for Mackenzie’s room for quite some time, and some of the pieces had been in her room since she was born. (I really like rooms that are “age neutral’ – but more about that another time)   I think the most successful gallery walls are ones that combine a variety of art mediums and frame styles. If you’re looking for a foolproof way to make sure your art works together, choose pieces that have a common thread—a certain color for example. But you don’t have to limit yourself. The most important thing is for your wall to represent you—your tastes, your history, and the art you love most. In this case, Mackenzie’s room is a colour palette of gold, peach and pinks, so the prints and pieces all have that in common. I used a variety of frames, and different shaped pieces too which I think is key to achieving the right look.

When it comes to gallery walls, size does matter! More important than focusing on the art type or scheme, it’s often the combination of sizes that makes or breaks a gallery wall. The key is making sure you start with a couple of larger pieces to anchor the wall. In my case I had a big round mirror that had to stay where it was (Hiding an awful TV plug and cords!) So I had to build my gallery wall around that. If you don’t have one large piece, group two together for the illusion of a larger work. Once you’ve placed the largest piece, build off of that from the centre outwards. Groupings look most cohesive when frames are spaced tightly, however if there is an extra large piece in the mix, give it a little extra room to breathe. With regard to height, I recommend limiting the height of your gallery wall to two to three works, top to bottom. This generally keeps your art at eye-level. Of course ceiling to floor gallery walls are super dramatic too! So if you have the room to handle it, that will look fabulous!


While the final look appears casual and uncalculated, there is actually a method to the madness. Creating a wall gallery is no easy feat. That’s why I’ve put together some tips below to teach you how to hang a wall collage with finesse. In retrospect I wish I had made a video tutorial to show you this, but hope my not-so-professional Iphone pics will suffice!


1.  I took each artwork and traced it onto card which I cut out, to make templates.


2. I then used Prestick to stick the templates onto the wall and try out different layout options. This is key, and despite been a tedious and time consuming process with all the cutting and sticking etc. (Especially when you have a toddler trying to ‘help!’) I really recommend you do this with all your art prior to hanging it.   Big tip: Multiple frames look best when based around the following shapes: rectangle, diamond or square. Straight set rows are nice too. If you opt for straight, use a piece of string stretched between two pushpins as a guide along with a level to make sure it’s straight.


3. Once you have your layout, you then need to do all the measuring to hang it onto the wall. I was quite lazy and used ‘No More Nails’ to stick some of the lighter pieces up. My husband drilled some holes for the heavier pieces (It was a really family affair) and I used my new favorite DIY tool: the Hilti picture hanger, and did some myself!

And there you have it- a gorgeous gallery wall!



PS. How cute is the House  bed!


Here is some inspiration of other gallery walls for you to swoon over:




New Beginnings

I am just so over the moon to unveil the new look for Styleast.

I have been wanting to re-brand for quite some time now, and been collecting a folder of inspiration for almost 2 years! The time never felt quite right – I was busy building houses, having babies, juggling projects, and life carried on. Whilst I was on my recent “baby break” though, I was able to really think about the direction I wanted to take my business to and so, with the new “E-Décor” service Styleast will be offering, (Read all about it here) I see this as new start for Styleast, and the time to re-brand just seemed so fitting.

I think branding is so important, especially in a creative industry, so wanted to make sure that my brand was epitomizing the design ethos of Styleast –minimalistic in approach, stylish and contemporary. I knew I wanted to the logo to be clean and uncluttered , simple yet sophisticated. And whilst I thought long and hard about colour, I could only see Styleast in monochrome: black and white.

I had all these ideas flying around my head and had been doodling and playing around with the graphics myself but realized I need some professional help to bring my ideas to life. So that’s when I contacted Taryn Gaylard of Taryn Long Design. I have worked with Taryn before on other projects and just knew she would see my vision and create something beautiful for me, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

So here it is, the new and improved Styleast!

Brand Reveal


I did a little Q&A with the designer, another new feature I am going to bring to the blog:

1. Describe the Styleast brand and the direction?
Styleast is one of my favourite brands to date!! It helps having clients that have a similar style and taste, and trust you to do what you feel will work. LOVE the font, love the monochrome and love the fact the logo can be used with textures, beautiful photos and pretty much anywhere. Because of it’s simplicity, it has endless opportunities for the branding and development of the brand.

2. Why did you get into graphic design:
I always knew I was creative, but just didn’t know where, because I really can’t draw. hahaha
I studied Media, Communication and Culture at University, with a few graphic courses and really LOVED it.
So while travelling Asia, I did a bit of freelance work for a few friends and family and fell in love.
It’s incredible to be able to bring someones idea and branding to life.

3. How would you describe your style?
Minimalist – I far prefer simple, beautiful designs, uncomplicated yet effective.

4. Favourite colour?
ah I go through stages – have always loved green and blues, but at the moment I’m obsessed with mustard and saffron yellow, charcoal and what I like to call dirty colours :D

5. Is there an interior that you just love? And why?
I love homes.
The different styles, seeing special pieces, mixed textures, plants, baths, tiles, art, the list is endless. While I love clean modern graphic design, I’m a sucker for eclectic and interesting homes, that really show a families personality.


Taryn Long Design is also on Facebook and Instagram.


Let me know your thoughts on the new look, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Don’t be afraid of the dark when it comes to interiors…

I just love the usage of dark colours in an interior.  Dark Charcoal, Blue as dark as midnight, even Black.   It is Dramatic.  Bold.  Sophisticated.  Chic.  And somewhat Glamorous. (There is reason a LBD is not white!)   And I love that it can work with anything from a more rustic aesthetic to contemporary and have the same striking affect.

Many people are intimidated, even fearful of using dark colours in their interior tho as the natural perception is that it will make a room  feel dark and gloomy, depressing even.  Dark colors get such a bad wrap in interior design but they don’t have to. I am going to dispel some myths about “the dark” and shed some light on why it can enhance an interior.

Myth no 1: Dark colours make a room appear smaller.

Dark colours don’t always enclose a room. Sure it may make a space feel more cozy, but if dark colours are used with the correct colours and materials, the look is so dramatic that no ‘space’ issues are even picked up.

A bathroom is traditionally a smaller room in a house…. take a look at the images below where dark colours have been used to full effect. The look is so bold and striking, and the feeling of ‘space’ not even a consideration.





If you look at doing kitchen cabinets in a darker colour, again, whatever is paired with the colour will pop so much that the feeling of space is not compromised at all.






Myth no 2: Dark colours make a room feel heavy

If you use darker tones in your interior the correct way, they will never feel heavy as much as they will feel grounded. The key to keeping a dark coloured interior from being heavy is the finishes or colours that it is paired with.

Dark colours are an excellent background color. A dark wall makes artwork pop and stand out, so break the monotony of the décor with some colourful accent details such as a colourful painting or coloured furniture which you place against a black wall.





Myth no 3: Dark colours are depressing

Black, gray, navy and hunter green have all been given a bad wrap; yes, dark colors do represent depression in many ways, but it’s not the fault of the colour itself. Colour is colour; you either like a certain colour or you don’t. All white rooms have been shown to make people feel just as uncomfortable as all black rooms. So if that’s the case, why blame certain tones in the spectrum as depressing? The key to making sure that a dark room isn’t depressing is what you pair it with.  My personal fav would be metallics, specifically gold. There is something really glamorous about that combination that appeals to me.






If you are keen on painting a wall or two dark after being inspired by all these gorgeous images , then I really do suggest my all time favourite dark charcoal shade by Plascon called Bovine (Code 47 on the swatch below) It is the perfect shade of dark grey and all other colours just pop off it and look amazing, promise!


Wow wallpaper

When you think of wallpaper, does the image of a faded, peeling floral pattern in your great grandmother’s living room come to mind?!

Wallpaper has really moved on since those days, and there are plenty of modern and stylish ways to incorporate the most gorgeous patterned or textured paper into your home, whether you want to wallpaper an entire room or just add some flair to a piece of furniture.

So here are a few ideas on how to use wallpaper, which will hopefully inspire you…

1. As a feature wall. A feature or accent wall is still the most common way to use wallpaper, as a statement is created usually on one wall in the room or a specific focal point (alcove, fireplace mantle etc) This provides interest and is cost effective as not much wallpaper is used.  A feature wall is the highlight of the room and really adds drama and character to a space, so a definite game changer to transform a space.


Wallpaper is a great tool to use as a feature in a room
Wallpaper is a great tool to use as a feature in a room


as an accent to highlight an alcove
as an accent to highlight an alcove

I have to say tho, that I think a feature wall is losing its appeal and people are becoming more daring and open to wallpapering whole rooms, as in all four walls. We have Pinterest and Instagram (and the constant feed of beautiful interiors) to thank for this new bolder, dramatic approach, which I just love!

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2. On the ceiling. Wallpaper is not just for walls. For a really bold look, try it on the ceiling. A bit of pattern or texture overhead can help give the room a more defined look and create a feeling of intimacy or make a room larger depending on the type of pattern or texture chosen.



3. In a small space. Installing wallpaper in a small space, such as a guest loo, is one of my favorite things to do. It is the perfect place to go OTT, and surprise visitors to your home! A pattern en masse can also make the room appear a tad bigger.



4. To reflect light. Instead of a mirror, use a wallpaper with a shine or metallic detail to bounce light around a moodier or darker space. Some wallpapers even have glass beads in them which also help with light reflection.

Note the shine
Note the shine


5. Pops of pattern.  If you are still not sold on pattern, take baby steps. There are plenty of small ways to incorporate wallpaper into home decor without committing to an entire wall…. Look at wallpapering a bookshelf, or a chest of drawers. Simple and highly effective! (And it is a good way to use leftovers from a roll of paper!)

wallpaper in a bookshelf is a simply and highly effective way  to change up a piece
wallpaper in a bookshelf is a simply and highly effective way to change up a piece
Upcycle a chest of drawers
Upcycle a chest of drawers


How to make a small space appear bigger….

Is it possible to make a space bigger without structurally knocking down walls? This is something us Interior Designers get asked all the time, so here are my top 5 tips in making a space appear larger


1. Hang your curtains from floor to ceiling. This is an absolute game changer, I can’t even express enough how this little detail totally transforms a space and gives an illusion of space. To further enhance the idea of space, try match up the colour of your curtains to the walls. And if you can, go for sheers. The more light you let through your windows the bigger your space will appear


this little trick is a gamechanger!
this little trick is a gamechanger!

2. Mirrors mirrors mirrors! Mirrors add depth, expand horizons and are actually one of the easiest ways of making small rooms appear larger. They literally add extra light and make small rooms appear so much bigger!


mirrors are key!
mirrors are key!

3. Opt for furniture on legs. Use ‘leggy’ furniture as opposed to blocky furniture on the floor. This creates a sense of lightness and space.  It’s all about the illusion….

furniture on legs creates the illusion of space
furniture on legs creates the illusion of space

4. Re-arrange the furniture. If you put things on the angle instead of against a wall, it actually increases the sizeable illusion… clever yes?

position furniture at angles
position furniture at angles

5. Stick to unified colours as this will visually expand a room. Go for fabrics and rugs in small prints or plain colors.   Oh and another little tip… striped rugs make a small room appear wider and longer!

a harmonious colour palette creates more space
a harmonious colour palette creates more space
a striped rug creates the illusion of a longer or wider room
a striped rug creates the illusion of a longer or wider room

Sweet Dreams…

How to choose the perfect nightstand…


I have a personal design dilemma.  I am looking for bedside tables for my bedroom at my beach house.   The problem is, there is not much space on either side of our king size bed for regular-sized pedestals (We had originally planned for a queen size bed), so I am going to have to be creative in terms of what to use. For my beach house I have a very casual laid-back, industrial aesthetic going on, so I need something to compliment this as well…. This got me thinking about bedside pedestals/tables/nightstands – they are a very interesting piece of furniture as they need to excel in both the form and function stakes.   There is no point having a stunning nightstand if you can’t reach your bedside lamp, and equally you don’t want the careful design of your bedroom decor to be ruined by an out-of-place, purely practical piece.


So here are some tips on how to choose the perfect nightstand/bedside table

  1. Height

The ideal height for a nightstand or bedside table is roughly even with the top of the mattress, i.e.; the sleeping surface (see pic below). Give or take a few centimeters, you want the top of the table to be level with the mattress, making it easy for you to reach and creating a clean sight line across the bed. If you can’t exactly match the height of your mattress, go for something slightly higher rather than lower as this looks better.

The nightstand should roughly be inline with the top of the mattress
The nightstand should roughly be inline with the top of the mattress
  1. Lighting

Lighting is another practical element you need to consider, as you want to be able to reach your light fitting easily.   If you are going for table lamps, you need to make sure your nightstand table top is large enough.    The ideal size of lamp for a bedside table is around 1/3 of the table size. Keep lamps in proportion with your nightstands, and make sure you have room for your other bits and pieces. If you are tight for space, or prefer a minimal look, wall-mounted lights or pendant lights on either side of the bed  are brilliant. These leave the nightstand free for a few small items, and can add drama and focus to a bedroom.  This is a favourite feature of mine to really make a bedroom special, especially a main bedroom.

*I have pendants on either side of my bed so I don’t need a large surface area for my nightstands.


Always a striking feature
Always a striking feature


  1. Storage

Nightstands with drawers are great for hiding away things like glasses, medicines and other bedroom clutter.   You need to consider whether you want something with a door, or an open shelf, or just a simple table top. A combination of all of the above works really well too.   You also need to think about who will be using the nightstand….. In guest bedrooms it is perhaps not always necessary to provide storage and this opens up options to do more interesting pieces as bedside tables; whereas in a main bedroom or a kids bedroom you probably need a lot more storage and surface area.

*Because our beach house is not our primary residence, I don’t need lots of storage.  I must have surface space tho for some good books and the baby monitor!


  1. Scale

Keep your bedroom furniture in proportion. A large bed requires larger nightstands, and vice versa. If you have a small room and a large bed consider not using bedside tables at all, rather than squeezing too-small ones in and making the room feel cramped. If you have a bed with a headboard, three-drawer chests of drawers work beautifully as the headboard allows for a higher surface next to the bed.


Larger pedestals compliment a larger bed and headboard
Larger pedestals compliment a larger bed and headboard
  1. Style

Think about whether you want two matching nightstands, or contrasting ones. The benefit of a matching pair is that it makes a bedroom look really pulled together and intentional. But having different bedside tables can look great too, giving a room a less formal, more eclectic vibe. If you go for different styles make sure there is one continuous element (colour, material or size) to ensure they work together and don’t look too random. In terms of materials and colour you can be pretty free here: go for a pop of colour or keep things muted.  If you don’t have the budget for a nightstand or want something different, you could use reclaimed timber crates, floating shelves, suitcases or even stools and  tree trunk cut-offs.  Be creative and have fun, but just don’t forget the functional aspects too!

A matching set
A matching set
A combination of pedestals
A combination of pedestals


If you want to stay tuned to my search for the perfect nightstands for my beach house bedroom, follow Styleast on Instragram as I will be sharing this experience there.

A stool used as a bedside table
A stool used as a bedside table
A vintage suitcase repurposed
A vintage suitcase re-purposed
Floating shelf
Floating shelf