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.

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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.

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