In­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor and for­mer mag­a­zine decor ed­i­tor Juli­ette Ar­righi de Casanova’s bi­jou home in Ke­nil­worth proves that big sur­prises can come in the tini­est pack­ages

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text LEIGH ROBERT­SON Pho­to­graphs MICKY HOYLE, ADEL FER­REIRA (POR­TRAITS)

Com­pact meets char­ac­ter in this 47m2 apart­ment in Ke­nil­worth, Cape Town, where its in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor owner has in­jected her bold per­son­al­ity into her small space in a big way

n the colour-charged, vividly imag­i­na­tive headspace of in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor Juli­ette Ar­righi de Casanova, there’s al­ways room for a touch of an­i­mal print. ‘I con­sider it a neu­tral,’ she laughs, plump­ing a ze­bra scat­ter cush­ion on her moss-green vel­vet sofa. ‘Al­though there are strict de­grees of what’s con­sid­ered so­phis­ti­cated ver­sus plain vul­gar.’ No stranger to ca­jol­ing the best from a sea­son­ally chang­ing panoply of pat­terns, tex­tures and pal­ettes, Ar­righi de Casanova has es­tab­lished her young dec­o­rat­ing busi­ness off the back of sev­eral years’ work­ing in the mag­a­zine in­dus­try as a decor ed­i­tor. Prior to that, she gained on-the-ground ex­pe­ri­ence styling pri­vate homes un­der the men­tor­ship of in­te­rior de­signer An­drea Graff. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the crafty reper­toire of in­dus­try tricks she fi­nessed over this time proved ex­pe­di­ent when it came to deal­ing with the blank slate of her own new apart­ment in Cape Town’s south­ern sub­urbs.

‘Bought off-plan, the apart­ment was very ba­sic,’ she says, ‘and I was lim­ited in my choices by bud­get con­straints and a lack of space.’ In­deed, with a foot­print mea­sur­ing a mi­cro 47m2, it’s the ul­ti­mate com­pact lock-up-and-go home for the itin­er­ant trav­eller she is. The chal­lenge was to trans­form it into a com­fort­able, prac­ti­cal home and workspace that would also res­onate with her dis­tinc­tive per­sonal style.

While some might think a less-is-more ap­proach would be the key to han­dling a space of this size, for Ar­righi de Casanova, the op­po­site seems to ap­ply… within rea­son, of course. ‘If some­thing doesn’t have a func­tion, there’s no need for it,’ she says. ‘But, like many peo­ple, I had to work with what I al­ready have, and I can still walk around my big ta­ble with ease. It taught me that you don’t have to be afraid of us­ing larger pieces in a small space. If any­thing, I think big­ger is bet­ter. I didn’t hold back with the scale of things.’

Nei­ther did she hold back when it came to the ex­u­ber­ant aes­thetic of her home, work­ing off a base of black and white, with light char­coal vinyl floors and nat­u­ral tex­tures such as jute for warmth, then adding bold strokes of blue-and-white chi­nois­erie, pops of acid yel­low and splashes of pink. On the walls, Piero For­nasetti prints hang along­side acrylic can­vasses that she painted her­self and a few sen­ti­men­tal in­her­ited works. ‘I don’t like empty spa­ces, and cer­tainly not empty wall space,’ Ar­righi de Casanova says. ‘I like to fill things up, whether it’s with a plant in the cor­ner or a mir­ror and a piece of art on the wall.’

For this in­te­rior de­signer, it’s all about lay­er­ing. ‘I like to mix and match pat­terns and shapes and to create dif­fer­ent lines, thereby keep­ing the eye in­ter­ested,’ she says. ‘When do I stop? There are no bounds for me!’ It’s com­pletely in sync with a de­sign aes­thetic she de­scribes as con­tem­po­rary, fun and per­son­al­ity-filled. ‘I love it when you walk into a space and can im­me­di­ately iden­tify it with the per­son who lives there,’ she adds.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from her trav­els, es­pe­cially vis­its to her ‘sec­ond home’, Paris, and in­flu­enced by the mul­ti­tude of ex­otic homes her ‘gypsy-like’ French fa­ther has lived in over the years and the more clas­sic, worldly style of her in­te­rior de­signer mother, Ar­righi de Casanova is a nat­u­ral when it comes to cre­at­ing nar­ra­tives. ‘It’s all about find­ing the sto­ries and weav­ing them to­gether,’ she says. ‘There’s al­ways a thread that ties ev­ery­thing to­gether.’

I love it when you walk into a space and can im­me­di­ately iden­tify it with the per­son who lives there

this page Home­owner and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor Juli­ette Ar­righi de Casanova at work at her vin­tage Tulip ta­ble by Eero Saari­nen in the open-plan liv­ing area. op­po­site An in­her­ited wood-and-rat­tan shelv­ing unit has been styled with tableaux of books, art and ob­jets. The graphic black-and-white Ashanti stool is from Wey­landts.

this page A pho­to­graphic print by Jen Jengo crowns the bed. op­po­site (clock­wise from top left) Ar­righi de Casanova adds one of her own can­vasses to her art wall; re­claimed cane chairs were given a new lease of life with a coat of paint and fresh up­hol­stery; the side­board in the liv­ing area is from Vamp; Delft wall­pa­per from Cara Saven frames the bed­room en­trance.

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