Favourite Joburg shop – the Private House

12 Nov

The Private House Co. In Design Quarter was my favourite home decor stop.
Beautifully laid out and displayed, it almost looked as tho you could move in.

An emphasis on natural materials and local elements.

Gracious proportions, I liked the casually elegant feel.

Even if you were not looking for furniture, I loved the way they added accessories….

Recommend you visit if you are ever in South Africa.





Hello, my name is sue Womersley, and I am an interior decorator from White Rock, BC Canada, sharing my musings on design.
All photos sue womersley. Please credit accordingly.

Beechwood Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa

1 Nov

We were fortunate to attend a charity fundraiser garden open house at Beechwood Gardens. The Flemish country style home is from the 1940s with the garden designed by Joane Pym. The colossal Water Oak in the front yard is believed to be one of the largest trees in Johannesburg. The gardens were gorgeous and we enjoyed our visit immensely.


The sunken potager.


A formal English garden.


Pierre de Ronsard roses.


English formal garden photo sue womersley

A water garden is created with five ponds.


Two large jacarandas in full bloom anchor the back garden.

Jacarandas photo sue womersley

The water lilies were lovely and the pond was full of vibrant purple blooms.


The view of the 3.4 acre private property from the back corner perimeter walk. The pair of full bloom jacarandas can be seen from all areas in the back.


The cherise and lime garden.

Cherise garden photo sue womersley

I loved the many white plantings, with variegated leaves. This is the blue garden.


Whites garden photo sue womersley

Plentiful pots throughout, simple planted with greenery.

Plentiful pots photo sue womersley

It was 30 +degrees! needed refreshments…


My name is sue and I am an interior decorator from White Rock BC Canada, and am visiting my long time friend in South Africa.

For more information on the charity events and garden tour.



winged VICTORY of samorace

30 Sep

Marble sculpture of the Greek Goddess Nike from the second century BC.

photo sue womersley

My pick to see in the Louvre. There were three of us and we only had a couple of hours, so I suggested we all select one thing each and in our search for each item we wandered through different areas. I love my photo, another favourite I thought I would share.

late September in Vandusen Gardens

28 Sep

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon to enjoy Van Dusen Gardens with friends.  I lucked out with some beautiful photos today that I wish to share with you.

this just may be my new favourite photo that I have taken, ever.

chocolat cosmos

chocolate cosmos

photo sue womersley

Perfect timing, this bee landed just as I was shooting the flower…

black eyed

perfect blue sky day

art carved wood people

carved art in the garden



mossy lantern

mossy lantern

pine cones plum hydrangea pod hydrangea

I am not sure what these are but they are pretty

photo sue womersley

pond, chair and gold tree

tree bark

tree bark

photo sue womersley

green hydrangea

photo sue womersley

bubbles and macarons with friends after a lovely wander through the garden.

My name is Sue Womersley and I am an Interior Decorator in White Rock, BC, owner of Decorata Design Creative.

All photos Sue Womersley, please credit accordingly thank you.

Wickaninnish Inn

28 Jun
carved yellow cedar doors to enter the Wickannish Inn

carved yellow cedar doors to enter the Wickaninnish Inn

Tofino and Ucluelet BC are a little piece of paradise, and I love to visit as often as I am able.  The internationally renowned and award winning Wickaninnish Inn is a worthwhile stop on your visit.


This large carved sun mask greets you as you approach.  The lite glass is a unique feature on the native carving.


I loved the lobby – this driftwood table with the glass float caught my eye, and the area rug the echoes the feel of the beach is a perfect backdrop.


The feature of copper is throughout the property, and my photo does not do justice to the hammered coppered fireplace surround in the lobby.

This copper screen offers privacy to people in the dining room, but is also beautiful, shaped like seaweed with glass floats incorporated in the design.

photo sue womersley

photo sue womersley

The dining room is made with hand carved beams, and that is another hammered copper fireplace.


It was my favorite place for a meal, worth stopping here even if you are not staying.


This carved moon mask in burl wood is a feature over another fireplace.


Another gorgeous carved mask.


Another cozy place to sit.


View to the beach.

for more on the history of The Wickaninnish Inn and Tofino…




Related posts you may also enjoy…

West Coast Classic Tofino

West Coast Contemporary Ucluelet

My name is Sue Womersley and I am an Interior Decorator located in White Rock, BC.

All photos sue womersley – please credit accordingly.


Professional decorator = creative + practical

13 Jul S R photo sue womersley

S R photo sue womersley

An interior decorator wears many hats and requires a broad skill set that includes having expertise in many fields including:

  • ergonomics
  • product and material characteristics and application
  • building and construction materials and methods
  • local building code requirements
  • colour and lighting
  • cabinetry construction
  • furniture construction
  • fabric and window covering

…as well as a clear understanding of trades such as electrical, plumbing, tiling, drywalling, painting, gas fitting, flooring.

Practical indeed, but equally creative… to make a space pleasing, cohesive, flow and sing in the eyes of the client. Having the insight and vision as to what a client will love.

Understanding scale, proportions, volume of space, how all of the elements in the mix of a room will combine, where to add details and as important, where to pull back.

Creative. Concepts. Vision. Imagination. Ideas. The intangible, abstract, subjective half.

Practical. Productive. Functional. The tangible, objective half.

+ add a dash of style interpreter, family councillor, budget wizardry and trades whisperer…

clarke and clarke showstoppers

This analysis (or possibly over-analysis) was triggered by an incident with a particular client (well former client – had to fire him!), whom I invested much time and resource and seemingly he was very happy with all of the ideas and recommendations and wished to proceed, but did not wish to pay… huh???!!?? (therefore the aforementioned firing, after some agonizing – hard to do when you are a bit of a pleaser). I purposely keep this blog as a positive place, so I will not expand on the situation, but I know many of you can relate to this, even if decorating is not your profession.

I write this particular post as I feel that there is a general lack of awareness of the interior design profession and even misinformation created by makeover shows and the unrealistic expectations that come from them.

deer run samples photo sue womersley

I feel the biggest challenge clients face is pulling everything together. They have a sense of what they like or want, but not sure how it will all work together in a cohesive and pleasing way. “We need help” is reason I hear most often. A large part of design work is also problem solving …

I have helped clients who have invested large sums of money into updating their home only to be unhappy with the finished result. Wasted time, wasted money and extra stuff in the landfill — all that could be avoided with a professional decorator or designer. Now they LOVE their home, and are my biggest cheerleaders as well as best referrers.

I have also helped clients who intended on selling their home and instead of giving it a little facelift did a full gut renovation due to my suggestions and recommendations as to how better to reconfigure and use the space in their home. Their home is now somewhere they may live in the rest of their lives.

Sometimes, one good idea is all that is required!

decorata sample pix sue womersley

Building or renovating can be an intense and overwhelming experience for clients, as there are hundreds of decisions and so many considerations.

I provide information – I will tell you if you will be on your hands and knees with a toothbrush to clean your grout – then you can make that informed decision. Much too late when you are doing it after the fact because you did not know. Or if you had only known that grout technology has advanced with certain polymers and for a small upgrade, that would never be an issue. I will tell you that certain products will bleach your expensive dark marble counters or that the white marble you love so much will absorb oils and red wines and stain and require maintenance to seal – and as long as you are good with that – you can make that informed decision.

Budgeting is its own artform. I call it a budget dance. Clients often don’t really know how much things cost and the amount of labour. We can work with many budgets, but we need to know what it is to make informed choices for you. It is also how we can get you what is really important to you – like quartz counters – but maybe choosing lesser expensive floor tiles to get within your budget. EVERYONE has a budget, whether it is a suite in an unfinished basement or a $2 million dollar new home. Professional advice for one of your biggest personal investments … something to consider. Hasn’t everyone heard a horror story from a friend of a friend whose project was tens of thousands of dollars over budget?

Tanya + Daren materials 004

Anticipation is another large part, particularly with renovation. While no one has a crystal ball, I always look for potential problems and make clients aware of them. The age of a home can determine things like wiring and plumbing. Subfloors can be an issue even in 10 year old homes, for example. Nothing drives me crazier than these home makeover shows when the designer repeatedly slashes the project because she did not “know” easily anticipated problems, or designs something should be her job to know would not work because the plumbing could not be moved because the joists run the wrong way. Happens all the time on tv! This is why a contingency is set aside.

My profession is service based. The client goes about their day to day life (or we have had clients go on vacation!) and I plan/schedule/source/order/meet/oversee any and all details required from initial concept to completion.


When you hire me or the builder/contractor that I work closely with, you get our whole team of professional trades people who are licensed and insured. I hear countless stories from other people how hard it is to find good tradespeople, who are timely, tidy and on budget. I save you that time of vetting every worker that enters your personal space and monitoring them. I save you the time of gather quotes, comparing the quotes and not knowing if you are comparing apples to apples, what the quote includes and even what are the right questions to ask. I personally know someone who paid $6000 cash for a driveway, only to have a lien put on her home (OUCH) by the subcontractors after the fact as they were not paid. They had to pay them personally (double OUCH) and never did find the original guys — and the husband works in law enforcement.

There is a reason that the Make it Right shows have been going on for TEN years!

all photos Sue Womersley.

Thank you for reading the longest post I have written. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many fellow Professional Interior Decorators and I dedicate this one to them!!!

home in a converted 1600s barn

2 Jul

Barn66photo sue womersley

I was fortunate see inside a very unique barn space that I am excited to share with you.  This amazing living space is created with a 1640s barn structure from Portsmouth, England.  The owners re-erected it here in Vancouver and built their home around it.  The room is decorated with antiques -beautifully mixing rustic with fine art and warmed up with a pair of large scale sofas and massive silk carpet.  For such a vast space it  is friendly and welcoming.

Barndetail72photo sue womersley


Barndetail75photo sue womersley

I love this vignette, with the gallery wall and pottery collection balancing this huge antique table..


Pairs of these window are on three sides of the room flooding it with natural light and views to the pond and garden. Even on this gray, rainy day the light was lovely inside.  This gorgeous carved mirror is a feature in the room, and again, another vignette beautifully created.


How fantastic to pair the artwork with this rustic trough of firewood and a brass bucket.  View to the dining room.

barndetail78photo sue womersley

View of the barn structure.

garden photo sue womersley

View of the pond outside the windows shown in photo 3 previous.  The exterior of the home does not indicate the beauty inside.

happy frogs photo sue womersley

The pond was full of happy frogs in the rain sitting on lilypads.

greenhouse82photosue womersley

This 1908 English iron greenhouse on the property was rescued in the 1960s from a nearby estate on Granville Street.

All photos Sue Womersley


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