From Cape Town to Queenstown
Meet the founder & creative director of Themba Design Styles
Tracy-Lee Narain, the creative-eye and commercial mind behind Themba Design Styles, loves nothing more than creating thoughtfully styled, lifestyle-inspired spaces; the kind that enlivens the soul and offers a sanctuary to share with others.
Crisp white tones and natural earthy textures underpin her signature aesthetic but ultimately, her work is all about revealing and expressing the personality of her clients.
We sat down (on a soft linen modular!) with Tracy-Lee to uncover more about her design journey and how her travels have shaped her approach.
Her earliest memory of falling in love with design...
As an 18-year old, visiting my dad in Cape Town, I really began to notice how great craft can sit outside traditional parameters. The mixture of materials and different takes on Cape Dutch style really resonated with me.
It was exciting to see that design doesn’t have to fit a set box. For me, the best, most beautiful results are often achieved through the use of blending.
How she got started in the industry…
My career kicked off in New Zealand, firstly styling and merchandising. During this time, my husband and I were restoring and renovating an original 1880s farmhouse. The project was about giving something back and breathing life and style into an existing building. We really enjoyed the process and it absolutely cemented that renovation and styling were my two strong passions.
Her biggest design lessons so far…
There are no set rules you have to design by.
No matter how much I believe something is right for a project, I have to balance this instinct with what my client wants. A major part of the job is finding a happy medium between the two and achieving their overall goal.
Tracy-Lee’s own style in a sentence...
One style principle she lives by...
Less is more.
All-time favourite materials to work with…
I love linen, I love stone and I love timber.
Together, they’re even more magical.
Where she finds inspiration...
I tend to look online as it’s completely limitless - the internet can open you up to so many areas of design, let alone the resources to attain and apply them.
Globally, I’m most drawn to the design scene in South Africa and parts of New Zealand.
Dream project or collaboration on the bucket-list…
My dream project would be in Queenstown (NZ) with my husband - either building something entirely from scratch or renovating a Bed & Breakfast using the materials we love. I’d want to create a space with an inherently relaxed feel; somewhere to escape to, unwind and recharge.
Tracy-Lee Narain at Themba Design Style
0433 451 221