THE NEW NEUTRAL
A chilled out palette of cloudy hues and stonewashed texture inform this distinctive Cape holiday home
when cape Town-based interior designer gregory Mellor was approached to redo this zwaanswyk house, family living – and a sense of heritage – was at the heart of the brief from his clients. situated just 20 minutes from the city, you couldn’t feel more at peace here. By layering textures in muted tones and playing with light and space, gregory managed to capture and recreate the essence of country living. What was your vision for the house, and how did the project evolve?
From the start, it was in essence a renovation project. however, it turned out to be a lot bigger than we first anticipated. We ended up calling in architect Jeanne du Toit, who I’ve worked with before, and we redid many parts of the house. It’s undergone a massive transformation.
What were some of the biggest changes made to the house?
We built complete new structures, such as the entrance of the house and the stairs leading to the front door. all the bathrooms as well as the kitchen received an extensive overhaul while entire spaces were reconfigured, as was the case with the master bedroom. We also did the light-weight internal glazing, which does an amazing job of breaking up the spaces without blocking any of the light. We even changed smaller details such as the windows and the detailing on the ceiling.
And yet, even with all of the changes that were made, the house doesn’t have that obviously-new feel.
The owners wanted the home to be traditional throughout. We achieved some of these details on-site, such as the pebble and brick floors – both by elem stonemasonry. We sandblasted the bricks several times and, through a lot of trial and error, we were able to create that unique, aged look.
When it came to deciding on furniture, what was your mandate?
some of the pieces were locally sourced and there were a couple of antiques we bought here and there. But a lot of the pieces we actually made ourselves. The owners were clear on what they liked: and they didn’t want any of the furniture pieces to be too layered or generic. There were some pieces we bought and ended up modifying a bit, just to create a personalised touch.
Did the outside spaces receive as dramatic an overhaul?
We redid all the architectural details on the outside. We moved the pool to where it is now so that the owners could have easy access to it. The house sits on 4 000-square-metres of land. The gardens were completely redone by the cape-town based landscaper, carrie Latimer, who did an incredible job.
For such a big project, did it all go according to plan?
although the house and garden were completely transformed, it was really one of the easiest and most organic projects we’ve ever worked on. The owners had a clear vision and trusted us to translate that to reality. Gregory Mellor Design n 8 gregorymellor.com; Jeanne du
Toit Architectural Design 8 jeannedutoit.co.za; Carrie Latimer 8 carrielatimer.co.za