Eva’s South African home is a re­fresh­ing blend of dif­fer­ent in­te­rior and ar­chi­tec­tural in­flu­ences. Get ready to embrace Scandi-meets-african style

Living Etc - - CONTENTS ⁄ETC - Pho­tog­ra­phy ⁄ Greg Cox ⁄ Bureaux ⁄ GAP In­te­ri­ors Words ⁄ Jo Leev­ers

Vi­brant global in­flu­ences meet a hit of cool Scandi style in Eva’s ar­chi­tect-de­signed res­i­dence near Johannesburg

eva Kavuma has a new phrase to add to the in­ter­na­tional in­te­rior de­sign lex­i­con: Scand-african. It’s a look that’s still 100 per cent rooted in its South African set­ting, but draws el­e­ments of Nordic chic into the mix. ‘In the past, the stereo­type of African in­te­ri­ors style has been rather over­bear­ing – all chunky “eth­nic” fur­ni­ture and dark wooden masks,’ says Eva. ‘But that’s no longer true. This home shows it can also be light and spare, with clean lines and pale wood – all the things we usu­ally as­so­ciate with Scandi style.’

Eva’s eye for con­tem­po­rary art – not to men­tion a self­con­fessed weak­ness for ‘unique, beau­ti­ful and hand­made’ pieces that she spots on her ex­ten­sive trav­els – is dis­played with a calm clar­ity that is mir­rored by the house’s ar­chi­tec­ture. The prop­erty was de­signed by her good friend Anna Bai­ley of Claude/bai­ley ar­chi­tects: ‘Anna un­der­stood I wanted some­thing beau­ti­ful, sim­ple, easy to main­tain – with noth­ing su­per­flu­ous,’ says Eva. ‘The con­cept of Scand-african style grad­u­ally evolved as we worked on ideas to­gether,’ she adds. ‘Now it’s fin­ished, I’ll some­times text her on a Sun­day morn­ing just to say, “I love my house”.’

Anna helped bring out the Scandi side, but there was al­ways go­ing to be a rich seam of in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ences in this home. ‘I was born in Uganda, but I grew up ev­ery­where,’ ex­plains Eva. ‘I love a lot of dif­fer­ent styles and ma­te­ri­als and I’ve taken ideas from all the coun­tries I’ve been.’ The list of places Eva has lived reads like a par­tic­u­larly eclec­tic global tour: Eng­land, Kenya, Ethiopia, up­state New York, France, Wash­ing­ton DC and then Johannesburg – plus she reg­u­larly trav­els to Asia and around Africa for work. So, in part, this house was about cre­at­ing a ‘for­ever’ home for her and her kids Su­ubi and Pablo. ‘I wanted my chil­dren to have a place that they know is their home, so they have firm roots,’ Eva says. It’s fit­ting, then, that this eco-sen­si­tive build is also all about the land: the ar­chi­tec­ture hinges on a long cen­tral wall that’s ac­tu­ally built from lo­cal rammed earth (aka pisé) and forms the ‘spine’ of the house. The fam­ily’s rooms ra­di­ate from this ever-present, tac­tile core. ‘At first glance, it might look like ce­ment, but it feels to­tally dif­fer­ent,’ says Eva. ‘Un­like ce­ment, the earth-rich wall is ac­tu­ally warm to the touch. On an­other level, it in­fuses the home with a sense of nur­tur­ing. You feel it as soon as you walk in.’

The wall is a gen­tle gran­ite-grey at its base, but its lay­ers grad­u­ally ease into sandier tones at the top, draw­ing the eye up­wards. ‘This is ac­tu­ally one of the smaller houses in the area, but the flow and height of the rooms mean you al­ways feel a sense of free­dom and space – and it’s am­ple for us,’ says Eva.

To add to this free-flow­ing ef­fect, rooms are in­ter­spersed with out­door court­yards and patios – which means, come sun­down, Eva can choose be­tween soak­ing in the bath or step­ping out to shower un­der the stars. And in­stead of hav­ing any­thing as pro­saic and nar­row as cor­ri­dors – ‘just dead space’ in Eva’s eyes – a large con­nect­ing area out­side the bed­rooms works as a quiet read­ing nook with a mini library.

In her Scand-african home, Eva isn’t afraid to mix bud­gets along with cul­tures, so a tra­di­tional Ghana­ian stool sits along­side a sink-into sofa from Wey­landts (think SA’S an­swer to West Elm) and Tom Dixon’s Beat pen­dants are part­nered with the mad­cap up­cy­cled cre­ations of lo­cal light­ing de­signer Philippe Bous­quet.

Art also adds im­pact, with paint­ings that have per­sonal mean­ing or sto­ries at­tached to them. ‘I could never buy an art­work as some­thing purely to fill a gap on the wall,’ says Eva. ‘I’m more likely to seek out the artist, fall in love with their story, then fall for their work.’ The bold im­age of a woman sit­ting on her haunches in the liv­ing room is a case in point. Eva went out of her way to meet the young artist, Ian Mwe­siga, while on a trip.

With a brave spirit and a dis­cern­ing eye, Eva has cre­ated a home that com­bines styles, with­out di­lut­ing the over­all ef­fect. ‘Pieces have been col­lected from dif­fer­ent parts of the world – but in this set­ting, they all make sense to­gether,’ she says. A global gath­er­ing, if you like.

See more of Anna Bai­ley’s work at claude­bai­ley.com

‘this is one of the smaller houses in the area, but the flow and height of the rooms mean you al­ways feel a sense of free­dom and space’

bath­room ‘I love col­lect­ing fab­rics and these lit­tle stacks un­der the basins con­trast with the con­crete,’ says Eva. Get the look The base unit is cast in eco ce­ment by Afrisam.

mas­ter bed­room The lofty pro­por­tions con­tinue in the bed­rooms, where rafters in­ter­sect the earth-rich wall and nat­u­ral shades add tex­ture. Get the look The paint­ing Pablo K on His Bi­cy­cle is by Joël Mpah Dooh of Eva’s son. The lamp is by Philippe...

out­door shower A court­yard be­yond Eva’s en suite gives her the op­tion of en­joy­ing an open-air shower. Get the look The stool is from the Ivory Coast.

din­ing area Bruce Clarke cre­ated the art­work. ‘His mov­ing pieces ex­plore com­mu­ni­ties that have gone through geno­cide, in­clud­ing Rwanda,’ says Eva. Get the look The art­work is by Bruce Clarke. The con­sole is by Gre­gor Jenkin. The ta­ble is from...

kitchen Kitchen ma­te­ri­als in­clude sus­tain­able bam­boo, mar­ble and a screed flooring. ‘The flooring through­out is a base pal­ette that I can play around with, adding mats, hides or jute weaves, de­pend­ing on the sea­son,’ says Eva.

win­dow seat In­ter­est­ing nooks and spaces are in­ter­spersed through­out the house. Su­ubi hangs out and reads in this spot. Get the look The cup­boards are made from re­cy­cled tim­ber.

din­ing area Din­ing chairs criss-crossed with leather strips echo tra­di­tional weav­ing tech­niques, re­cast around con­tem­po­rary out­lines. Get the look The din­ing chairs are from Wey­landts.

liv­ing area ‘My look isn’t all about hulk­ing pieces of dark carved wood – it’s sub­tle and spare too,’ says Eva. Get the look The sofa is from Wey­landts. The stools are from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. The art­work is by Ian Mwe­siga.

liv­ing area ‘These arm­chairs are so deep, you have no choice but to lean back and re­lax,’ says Eva. A tall-chim­neyed con­tem­po­rary wood burner em­pha­sises the soar­ing height of the space. Get the look The wood burner is by Morsø. The arm­chairs are from...

hall­way Cor­ri­dors feel like wasted op­por­tu­ni­ties for Eva, so the space out­side the bed­rooms is lined with shelves for books, arte­facts and fam­ily pho­to­graphs.

view to en­trance hall ‘Rather than cold con­crete, the wall is made pri­mar­ily from rammed soil – far more nat­u­ral,’ says Eva. This wall acts as the spine of the house. Get the look This is the Beat pen­dant by Tom Dixon.

Front door This home shows ‘how de­signs from dif­fer­ent cul­tures can work to­gether,’ says Eva, wel­com­ing guests through an in­tri­cately carved wood door sourced from In­dia.

deck A tra­di­tional seat­ing pit is where Eva sits for her morn­ing cof­fee and means the view from the liv­ing area isn’t blocked by fur­ni­ture.

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