AN UR­BAN BARN

This Con­stan­tia home has been given new con­tem­po­rary life through ju­di­cious and thought­ful dec­o­rat­ing

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

Clever decor up­dates trans­formed this Cape Town house

Asuc­cess­ful house makeover re­quires a few es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents: a mea­sure of imag­i­na­tion, plenty of ex­per­tise and a lit­tle luck.

When the own­ers of this prop­erty in Con­stan­tia, Cape Town, wanted to give their house a re­fresh, they called on Cape-based in­te­rior de­signer Les­ley Arnot to pro­vide guid­ance and over­see the project. It was a happy choice. Her ex­pe­ri­ence is wide-rang­ing and her ap­proach at­ten­tive.

“My brief,” says Les­ley, “was to work with much of what was al­ready there – cher­ished fam­ily pieces – but also to give it all a new edge.” The chal­lenge was to bring fo­cus to the dis­parate el­e­ments and com­bine them into a co­he­sive whole. Some of the changes were sub­tle, oth­ers were sub­stan­tial, but the re­sult is un­equiv­o­cally dra­matic and yet still invit­ing.

The cen­tral liv­ing room was barn-like: it was long and large, with a pitched­beam ceil­ing. It stretched from a kitchen space at the rear, past a din­ing sec­tion and fea­ture bar, to an in­for­mal liv­ing area. Although no ma­jor struc­tural changes were made to its foot­print, Les­ley’s first in­spi­ra­tional move was

to in­stall two 3m-high, black steel­framed win­dows on ei­ther side of the fire­place to ground the far end of the long room and al­low the abun­dant north light in.

Walls were en­livened with a strik­ing new colour, car­pets were up­dated and so­fas cus­tom made. Har­mony be­tween these var­i­ous el­e­ments had to be achieved. “I tried to make ev­ery part of the house stylish as well as com­fort­able – a space that’s re­lax­ing and where you feel you can read a book,” she ob­serves.

Lead­ing off this room, form­ing a con­nec­tion with the top­i­aried gar­den, is a cov­ered pa­tio. Weather screens en­able it to be used as an out­side room, with decor that ref lects un­der­stated Euro­pean glam with a nod to African rus­tic. Les­ley used rush mat­ting, camp­ing stools and touches of pecan-brown leather jux­ta­posed with a white li­nen sofa and pot­ted fig trees.

At the owner’s re­quest, a deft con­ver­sion of two be­d­rooms with one shared bath­room cre­ated two en suite be­d­rooms, which flow into a brand-new

shower room. Pri­vacy is en­sured by us­ing seam­less glass screens for toi­lets and show­ers, cre­at­ing the chic func­tion­al­ity of a bou­tique ho­tel bath­room.

The be­d­rooms open up onto a wide ve­randa that over­looks the gar­den and swim­ming pool, cre­at­ing a sense of tran­quil pri­vacy away from the liv­ingspace wing.

And that lit­tle bit of luck? Serendip­ity played a part one day when, on a visit to a city store and hav­ing used up her bud­get, Les­ley man­aged to swap an ex­ist­ing car­pet for one with the ex­act colour palette she was look­ing for to com­plete her man­date.

In its new guise, this house has the pres­ence both of a long-es­tab­lished home and a smart con­tem­po­rary one – it’s well set to take the own­ers into the next chap­ter of their lives.

LEFT: The top­i­ary fea­ture gives thegar­den a for­mal look.

THIS SPREAD, CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT: The pa­tio has a rus­tic African feel with com­fort­able tex­tures, thick-weave bam­boo, rush mat­ting, a sofa up­hol­stered in fab­ric from Mavro­mac & Gate­house and fid­dle-back fig trees. The bar sep­a­rat­ing the kitchen­din­ing area from the in­for­mal sit­ting room was ex­ist­ing and given a new black var­nish to up­date it. The chan­de­liers were also re­tained. The so­fas were made to the own­ers’ specs by Leon at CCXIX. The colour on the wall is Bor­rie from Mi­das Paints Tyger­val­ley.

THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: In the din­ingarea, the ta­ble and chairs are from Pierre Cronje. The eat-in kitchen area is de­mar­cated and ac­cen­tu­ated by tall black cab­i­nets. The Itai Van­gani paint­ing was framed by In-Fin-Art in Wyn­berg. The rug was Les­ley’s lucky find.

Cush­ions in Ke­lim-look fab­ric from St Leger & Viney add vi­brance to the main bed­room.The throw is from Moor­gas & Wal­dron. A large mir­ror adds to the sense of space.

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