ROUGH LUXE

The co-founder of a Swedish fur­ni­ture chain finds respite in a Cape Town home filled with up­cy­cled and sal­vaged pieces and fit­tings that re­flect its his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter

Sunday Times - - HOME - GREEN POINT, CAPE TOWN ANETT JORMÉUS

Ask­ing Anett Jorméus to de­scribe her style is like ask­ing a painter why they paint. There is no straight an­swer. “My spa­ces are what they are be­cause of what I need in or­der to live the way I like to live,” she ex­plains.

Of course, it’s not dif­fi­cult to see that Anett has a won­der­ful abil­ity for cre­at­ing easy-on-the-eye spa­ces. In fact, it’s her eye for ac­ces­si­ble style and her im­pec­ca­ble de­sign sen­si­bil­ity that helped shape Granit, one of Swe­den’s most suc­cess­ful life­style and in­te­ri­ors chains.

Quite sim­ply, Anett is al­ler­gic to overly de­signed or overly thought-about spa­ces and fur­ni­ture. Dig a lit­tle deeper and when asked why she de­cided to ren­o­vate her home us­ing sal­vage-yard and junk-shop finds, the ever-prag­matic Anett says: “It’s a re­ally old house, I just felt it needed old things to bring it back to life.” And bring it back to life she did. Sit­u­ated in Green Point, a quaint neigh­bour­hood close to the sea and some five min­utes from the CBD, Anett and her fam­ily’s ren­o­vated Vic­to­rian space is filled with per­fectly im­per­fect fur­ni­ture and fit­tings that re­flect its his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter won­der­fully. From the util­i­tar­ian con­crete coun­ters in the kitchen to the sanded-down and un­var­nished Ore­gon doors through­out; the patches of ex­posed orig­i­nal brick­work and ar­ti­san-made fur­ni­ture, Anett has cho­sen fin­ishes and fur­nish­ings that hide no se­crets, that are hand­made and all about au­then­tic­ity.

Anett, her for­mer hus­band and their three chil­dren first vis­ited Cape Town on hol­i­day nine years ago. Within days their beach break was trans­formed into a house-hunt­ing mis­sion. “We just knew it was some­where we could live. It has ev­ery­thing from amaz­ing restau­rants to beau­ti­ful beaches and out­door land­scapes and the weather is great,” says Anett who, as a keen road cy­clist and ten­nis player, was also se­duced by the prom­ise of amaz­ing road rides and games at a nearby ten­nis club with a sea view.

Just a few months later, the fam­ily had moved to the city, the chil­dren were en­rolled in new schools and life at the South­ern tip of Africa be­gan. Though Anett and her fam­ily rented in nearby Camps Bay for the next few years, in the back of their minds was a desire for some­where they could call their own — but the per­fect spot re­mained elu­sive.

Fast for­ward to two years ago when the fam­ily re­alised they wanted to re­turn to Swe­den so the chil­dren could fin­ish their school­ing there. As luck would have it, they found this prop­erty just a month be­fore they were due to de­part. They snapped it up vir­tu­ally on first sight.

“It had be­longed to an old lady in her 90s who passed away and was a rather ne­glected home. The first thing we no­ticed were the re­ally high ceil­ings (“my ex-hus­band and I are both very tall”), then the lovely thick walls and the old orig­i­nal wooden floors and ceil­ings. After that, the small dark rooms, funny old yard and the strange con­fig­u­ra­tion didn’t mat­ter — all we could see was po­ten­tial. And you could just feel it had so much soul,” she says. Anett called in her friend Pete An­nes­lye, a builder with a pas­sion for his­tor­i­cal prop­er­ties and an abil­ity and will­ing­ness to work with her over Skype while she was in Swe­den. Over the course of the 12-month ren­o­va­tion, while many of the home’s orig­i­nal fea­tures were pre­served, much also changed. Walls were knocked down to re­lease the space of a se­ries of poky rooms and to cre­ate an open­plan living area. The orig­i­nal back­yard be­came the pool — and a stun­ning cen­tral fea­ture. “We have a bed­room in the front of the house, an ad­ja­cent kitchen, a cen­tral living area and two more bed­rooms at the back. After see­ing what our neigh­bour did by adding a floor, I did the same to cre­ate a main up­stairs bed­room and bath­room,” says Anett. “I love it!” While still in the city and on sub­se­quent vis­its over the course of the year, Anett sourced suit­able fit­tings at junk shops and de­mo­li­tion yards, and made a se­ries of im­pulse pur­chases that just felt right.

There were no mood­boards mulled over, no colour pal­ettes planned, Anett sim­ply op­er­ated on gut feel. It’s ex­actly how she builT Granit into the suc­cess­ful home­ware brand it is to­day and, it’s safe to say, it worked per­fectly.

The home is warm, un­der­stated and pared down, with­out be­ing ster­ile. Plants bring per­son­al­ity to the space, as do the lov­ingly crafted fur­ni­ture items and wooden ar­chi­traves sanded back to life. Quirky finds, from stained lab­o­ra­tory sinks to a math­e­mat­ics black­board and a slightly down-at-heel vel­vet sofa and chairs, add char­ac­ter and the sense that this space is about ev­ery­thing but per­fec­tion.

While fam­ily, friends and business keep her in Stock­holm for much of the year, Anett and her chil­dren come to cape Town as of­ten as pos­si­ble. The rest of the time, the house is rented out. It’s here, she says, that they re­ally can just “be”. It’s a place where they have time to cook to­gether, to go for long bike rides along the At­lantic, to head to the beach, to a nearby yoga stu­dio or to the new­est eatery in what is be­com­ing one of the world’s culi­nary hotspots.

“Aside from the pool, which is the best place for a skinny dip after a long ride out to Chap­man’s Peak and back, it’s out­side on the ter­race, where there’s a huge granadilla tree and where you can just see the sea, that I love to sit the most,” she says.

“Some­times an hour will go by and I won’t even notice. That never hap­pens when I’m in Swe­den!”

This home, lov­ingly coaxed into a new era, is proof that some­times go­ing back to the past can bring us into be­ing ab­so­lutely in the present. And that in it­self is price­less.

The din­ing area links the kitchen and pool and is a cosy space in win­ter, thanks to the open hearth. The ta­ble, found at a lo­cal fur­ni­ture shop, had been com­mis­sioned for a chateau in France and the client hadn’t ar­rived to fetch it. The Malawi chairs were sourced from Ashanti De­sign.

A con­crete counter and ex­posed cop­per pipes in one of the bath­rooms sets a util­i­tar­ian and as­cetic tone.

Anett has a keen eye for the beauty in the seem­ingly ev­ery­day – like this group­ing of suc­cu­lent cut­tings.

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