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
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.’