Donald Nxumalo is the inaugural design winner of Win A Home, South Africa’s favourite interior design reality show. Since his success on the show in 2014, Donald’s enterprising spirit has taken his career to new heights, seeing him launch his own venture, DNX Design Studio, as well as a range of designer fabrics. Now he’s a judge on the very show that catapulted his career, as Win A Home returns for a fourth season. Donald’s story is an inspiring one for all upcoming South African designers.
Since winning Win A Home in 2014, what has been your favourite design project to date?
DNX Design Studio has had many exciting projects, but what tops the list is a project we undertook in Kampala, Uganda, at an exclusive boutique hotel on the banks of Lake Victoria. I enjoyed creating the look and feel of the hotel lobby and guest rooms. Each space is unique and is named after the birdlife that inspired its aesthetic.
What do you think of the 2017 Win A Home competition?
I Iove the fact that Win A Home has sustained itself over four seasons and is still a competition at the forefront in its own category. The show attracts quality contestants that inspire us in the world of design. This year’s contestants are so diverse in personality, skill and creative approach. We even have a design duo with a background in fashion – how fun!
Are there any interior decor trends that this year’s contestants are picking up on?
Botanicals are a strong design feature, seen strongly in wallpapers and fabrics. What has excited me about the contestants is their use of live plants in their designs instead of the silk or faux variety. I’ve also noticed shades of pink emerging as a strong colour for this season of the show.
What inspires you as a designer?
I am inspired by the diversity of the clientele we have at DNX. I love letting a client guide me through their headspace; in that way I can execute their vision to the best of my ability. I’m also very inspired by travel.
What’s the most inspirational interior you’ve ever been in?
A home in the seaside town of Watamu, Kenya. The interiors are relaxed and the furniture is made by the local villagers. The building is perfectly located on the shore and the views from each room are magnificent. You can smell the ocean mist and hear the waves from every corner of the house. It’s the perfect marriage between interior design and the outside world; you could say that’s living in unison with nature. It appeals to my sense of smell, sight and sound… it truly is as close to heaven as you can get.
If you could redecorate a famous person’s home, whose would it be and why?
I would love to decorate for Trevor Noah. I think he’s on his way up and his story is so rich. This would be an interior full of character and history. All entrenched in beauty and strong design from my side, of course.
House and Leisure‘s editor Tiaan Nagel is a mentor during this season of Win A Home, which airs every Friday at 4pm on SABC 3. Get to know Tshepo Sealetsa and Banele Khoza, who make up the brilliant #TeamHL, and catch up on previous episodes here.