Reader home An eclectic blend of inherited and second-hand pieces
These homeowners have lovingly curated their space so that every nook forms a colourful and textured ‘snapshot’ of the things they hold dear.
Malan Botes, Suzette Strauss-Botes and their dogs Jasper and Ella Jamestown, Stellenbosch 155m² By Photographs Styling
As fate would have it, Suzette moved to Stellenbosch to study and their paths crossed when they ended up working at the same restaurant. They soon became friends and later fell in love.
So when it came time to build their dream home, the popular Winelands town was a natural choice for the couple. They decided on Jamestown, just outside Stellenbosch. “There’s such a lovely sense of community in this area – it’s the up-and-coming Stellenbosch!” they say. “We love it here and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Suzette and Malan bought their 419m2 plot in 2012 and designed a simple, compact home. “We wanted a space in which we could make use of every little nook, surrounded by all the pieces that we have collected over the years. Practical and beautiful is what we were after,” Suzette explains.
The pair decided on just one bathroom and two small bedrooms, allowing more space for their garden, living areas and stoep. “We figured that bedrooms are for sleeping, so those are just big enough. We opted for a home centred on a cosy, colourful, happy space,” says Suzette.
Once the shell of their house had been built, including high ceilings, unplastered white walls, cement screed floors and large windows and doors, Suzette and Malan turned their attention to their favourite pastime: decorating.
They had a number of inherited items in storage and while the construction of their home was in progress, they spent their spare time bargain-hunting. “We love a good bargain and creating something beautiful from very little.”
The couple’s home clearly reflects this sentiment with its eclectic blend of second-hand and inherited pieces as well as salvaged items – all the things they find meaningful, interesting and beautiful. >>
She grew up in Calvinia in the Karoo, he in Stellenbosch in the Winelands.
We choose colours that make us feel calm and happy, and contrast them to add interest. – Suzette
Suzette conceptualised the mirror focal wall (above) before their home was even built and decided on dark charcoal paint, inspired by the colour of their freestanding cast-iron bath, to show it off. A round window was added at the last minute when they realised the bathroom wasn’t getting enough natural light. “We had already created the accent wall and didn’t want to disturb it, so a small, high window seemed like the best fit,” Suzette explains.
Suzette gave a new but dull cupboard-turned-vanity (below) a rustic effect by applying three layers of white, mustard and green paint, adding candle wax in-between and scraping in various areas to create a weathered look. “I even called my husband in to hammer the cupboard to ‘age’ it!” Suzette says with a laugh.
Comfortable and colourful
Suzette’s greatest inspiration when it comes to interior décor style is her late mother, Christa. “She had a unique sense of style and I inherited my oldest and most beloved pieces from her when she passed away. Those items are not only symbolic of the beautiful and loving mother she was but they’re also a daily reminder of who I have become as a result of her,” Suzette says.
To showcase these meaningful pieces, Suzette, an office manager and freelance food and lifestyle photographer, says she likes to “decorate in images”. “I try to imagine what a photograph of a space would look like, taking into account colour, texture and depth, and then I put things together accordingly,” she explains.
“Creating beautiful spaces is something I really enjoy; I’m constantly rearranging, adding and painting. There’s always something new on my wish list and my husband and I love going to flea markets or hunting for bargains online.”
Along with their treasured heirlooms, the couple loves to incorporate second-hand items that come with a history or a story – whether they know its secrets or not. “I’ve always decorated with pieces that are special somehow; not just bought brand-new from a store. And over the years, we’ve also grown more adventurous with colour – it’s a great way to connect spaces in your home.”
Next on their to-do list is building a second storey onto their home so that they can make the most of the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Suzette’s décor tips
• I prefer to use solid colours, rather than patterns – like the bold mustard chairs in our living area (see page 51). When I bought them online, they were covered in a floral fabric, but I like to introduce ‘on-trend’ accents with a cushion or throw. • Don’t be afraid to salvage items you like. We found the grey cabinet that sits in our living area (see page 51) in a boiler room at one of my old jobs; it was standing in a puddle of water and it was badly damaged. We restored it and although I’m not the biggest fan of painted wood, we decided to give it a coat of grey to break up all the brown our other furniture brought into this space. Now it’s one of our favourite pieces. • Be patient. It took us some time but in the end we found all 12 of our outdoor chairs and indoor dining chairs online, on different sites and at great prices! • Open shelves are great for small spaces. I keep less attractive day-to-day items on the bottom shelves and balance this with more decorative pieces on the top shelves. • Always be on the lookout and don’t be afraid to ask questions! We really wanted industrial-style lights for our kitchen but didn’t buy any as they’re generally too expensive. One day, while our home was still being built, I walked past a store in town that was being demolished and spotted the steel pendant lights that are now hanging over our kitchen island. I was told they were headed for the demolition yard – and I walked away with them, having only parted with R50! • Make it meaningful. I think a house filled with sentimental pieces makes for a happier home. For example, I inherited the wicker chairs on our stoep (see page 54) from my mom. Although she always wanted to paint them white, she never got around to it, so we recently gave them a lick of white paint and I always think of her when I look at them. • Take chances! There’s a guy at the Milnerton Flea Market who makes the most beautiful smalls from old driftwood. I asked if he could make something as big as a dining table; he said yes, I gave him a sketch and now we have the best 12-seater on our stoep! >>
WHO LIVES HERE? WHERE SIZE Vinyl upholstered sofa from Facebook Marketplace; mirror was inherited Kim Arendse • Henrique Wilding • Marian van Wyk
Stools and basket from MRP Home; pendant lights bought from a demolition site
Clear mason jars on open shelves keep dry goods close at hand and create a simple, homely focal point. Casserole from Le Creuset
Antique towel rail from Die Smous; towels from Mungo; strainers were inherited; pink bench from Milnerton Flea Market Mirrors are second-hand and inherited; magazine table was inherited Scatters from MRP Home; mirror, chest of drawers and chair were inherited; pendant from Milnerton Flea Market
With an interesting “Cuban-Dutch” theme in mind, the couple painted the focal wall in the main bedroom a vivid teal. They desperately wanted a peacock headboard but weren’t willing to spend a huge sum of money on it, so they bought a simple second-hand wicker one and spray-painted it gold. It looks gorgeous against the bold wall. “I found the headboard on Facebook Marketplace for R300 and glammed it up with gold. All in all, it cost only R400!” Suzette says.