Gourmet (South Africa) - - MY KITCHEN -

want to live in an ad­ven­ture, not a mu­seum,’ says Natalie Knight look­ing around her colour­ful kitchen in Oran­jezicht, Cape Town.

Natalie and her fam­ily moved into the circa 1902 house two years ago – trans­form­ing the then 13-bed­room guest­house into a more mod­ern fivebed­room fam­ily home.

‘It was a mam­moth task,’ she says. ‘One that only lu­natics or ro­man­tics would un­der­take. For the first month we didn’t even have win­dow­panes.’

To­day, the Vic­to­rian façade be­lie the Alice-in-won­der­land in­te­ri­ors: gleam­ing sur­faces, rich colours, lay­ers of bold pat­tern and quirky ob­jects.

But none of the rooms bet­ter en­cap­su­lates the vi­brant spirit of the house than the kitchen. It is here where Natalie and her two daugh­ters, Wil­low and Luella, spend many a happy hour to­gether.

‘The kitchen is – and should be – the heart of the home,’ says Natalie. ‘I spend most of my time there cook­ing and en­ter­tain­ing. The kids also cook and some­times it’s even ed­i­ble,’ she smiles.

In­spi­ra­tion for the kitchen came via Pin­ter­est when Natalie hap­pened upon ac­tress Cameron Diaz’s Man­hat­tan kitchen de­signed by Kelly Wearstler. The jew­ellery-box space – en­robed in emer­ald green and brass – im­me­di­ately caught her fancy as she ‘wanted the space to be fun and colour­ful, just like its in­hab­i­tants’.

Ar­chi­tect Jan Desseyn was tasked with the lay­out: a large open-plan kitchen flanked by a break­fast room with a fire­place on one side for cosy en­ter­tain­ing, and a scullery to hide the mess of ev­ery­day life on the other.

Natalie en­listed the help of in­te­rior de­signer Danela Conti when it came to choos­ing the pal­ette. The pair went for shades of jewel blue – from cerulean to teal – off­set­ting the high-gloss sur­faces and vivid fab­ric choices with warm metal­lic ac­cents, wood and ce­ram­ics.

Clever de­sign adap­ta­tions fur­ther en­sure that the space is as prac­ti­cal as it is glam­orous: the scullery can be closed off; two dish­wash­ers guar­an­tee that there is never a dirty plate in sight, and cus­tom cab­i­netry hide a mul­ti­tude of ap­pli­ances.

But there was one prob­lem: ‘We had a dead space left over from the ren­o­va­tion,’ ex­plains Natalie. ‘It was above the cooker and looked onto an al­ley­way which was hor­ren­dous.’ Cue Jeremy Kil­lian from Na­tures Blue­print. ‘Jeremy came up with the in­cred­i­ble idea of turn­ing it into a “shop win­dow”,’ ex­plains Natalie. ‘He com­mis­sioned a graf­fiti artist to paint fo­liage on the back walls and we dressed it with bird­cages and lights. We can now change up the dis­play and place any­thing from Easter bun­nies to Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions or birth­day bal­loons in the space,’ she says. The reimag­ined space, like the en­tire house, pro­vides the fam­ily with con­stant joy – just as a home should. Danela Conti danela­conti.com; Na­tures Blue­print

na­tures­blueprint.co.za; Jan Desseyn Ar­chi­tects

021 462 6017

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