OA­SIS OF CALM

The beau­ti­ful sim­plic­ity that de­fines the Strand home of Ed­uan Roos and Melissa de Vil­liers has been per­fectly cu­rated to suit their per­sonal de­sign aes­thetic

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - Text SHARON SOROUR-MOR­RIS Pho­to­graphs ADAM LETCH

With its neu­tral colour pal­ette, serene at­mos­phere, cre­ative touches and ar­ray of in­her­ited fur­ni­ture, this pic­turesque Strand home in the Western Cape is the epit­ome of beau­ti­ful sim­plic­ity

On the sur­face, it’s a serene space that’s very easy on the eye. When you en­ter the light-filled, open-plan house, stress lev­els dip as the calm­ing colours of clot­ted cream and wispy white, in­ter­spersed with deeper hues of grey, sand and stone, take hold. And this is ex­actly what Ed­uan Roos and Melissa de Vil­liers had in mind when they set about cre­at­ing their dream home.

But there is also a fresh en­ergy here that is not only pro­vided by the most im­por­tant mem­ber of the house­hold, the hand­some, ex­u­ber­ant black Rus­sian ter­rier, Patchouli. Both Roos and De Vil­liers at­test to a spon­ta­neous cre­ativ­ity in all as­pects of their lives, and the ef­fect is pal­pa­ble in their home.

And con­sid­er­ing their pro­fes­sions, it’s hardly sur­pris­ing: Roos is a cre­ative di­rec­tor at an events com­pany and De Vil­liers is the guru in charge of the food at the Strand eatery Py­ja­mas + Jam, which she co-owns with her mother, San­dra, and sis­ter, Natasha.

The cou­ple was not in the mar­ket for a new house when the dark, three-bed­roomed 1950s home sud­denly came up for sale just over a year ago. ‘When I first saw it, I just couldn’t imag­ine how we could turn it around… it was hor­ren­dous,’ Roos laughs. ‘We hated all the poky rooms and there were so many doors!’

But armed with myr­iad bright ideas and solutions of­fered by De Vil­liers’ close-knit fam­ily, they grate­fully snapped it up and set about mak­ing it their own. By re­mov­ing many of the walls and win­dows, get­ting rid of of­fend­ing doors and cup­boards, and chang­ing the ori­en­ta­tion so that the newly de­signed liv­ing ar­eas lead di­rectly onto the gar­den, they cre­ated an im­pres­sive two-bed­room, two-bath­room home suited to their needs and sen­si­bil­i­ties. They then ap­plied an equally con­sid­ered, thought­ful ap­proach to liv­ing in it.

‘Ev­ery­thing in our house is lived in and we’ve given life to old fur­ni­ture by mix­ing it with new pieces,’ says De Vil­liers. ‘Many of the pieces were bought at sec­ond-hand shops and re­cov­ered or re­painted,’ adds Roos. ‘We’ve filled our home with things that speak to us and fit in with our sim­ple, un­adorned aes­thetic.’

For the cou­ple, de­tail and tex­ture are paramount: long linen cur­tains drop dra­mat­i­cally to the smooth ce­ment floor in the lounge; silky mar­ble kitchen coun­ter­tops perch on rough ce­ment struc­tures… the list is long and in­ter­est­ing, as are their pos­ses­sions. ‘Our home is cu­rated… there needs to be a rea­son for us to buy some­thing,’ Roos notes. In­stead of de­signer name tags, there are char­ac­ter­ful ad­di­tions that re­flect the owners’ his­to­ries, from a cane-and-glass ta­ble which be­longed to Roos’s mother to a pi­ano from his child­hood home. And when we sit down to en­joy De Vil­liers’ but­ter­nut and sweet potato tarts with caramelised onions, it’s at an eight-seater ta­ble made up of metal tres­tles which be­longed to her grand­fa­ther that’s been topped with a piece of roughly hewn pine wood painted cream.

The ta­ble, and the one in the gar­den next to the old lemon and guava trees, are where they en­ter­tain friends and fam­ily, with their sig­na­ture gen­eros­ity. ‘We are big en­ter­tain­ers and love to have our friends or fam­ily over for a meal,’ Roos says. There’s no pomp or cer­e­mony. ‘We just say, “Come over!”’ says De Vil­liers. ‘And it re­ally does mean that we can put some­thing on the ta­ble and be ready for you!’ So be pre­pared for the ta­ble to groan with De Vil­liers’ culi­nary cre­ations, be adorned with beau­ti­ful for­aged flow­ers placed in vases from Roos’s beloved col­lec­tion, and be laid with cop­per-coloured cut­lery and crys­tal glasses, if it takes their fancy. Says Roos: ‘We love be­ing spon­ta­neously cre­ative. We thrive on it. Small things make a big dif­fer­ence.’

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