Combining vibrant colour and bold visual flair with clean architectural lines, this family home in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, is a classic study in the power of contrasts.
By Robyn Alexander, Bureaux.co.za
The best preparation for stepping over the threshold of this gloriously colourful home in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, is a quick browse of the gorgeous Pinterest boards created by its interior designer, Kim Stephen. Those boards simply sing with vibrant colour – they have names like ‘Perfect Pink’, ‘Tangerine Dream’ and ‘Yellow Love’ – and yet the bursts of brightness are also framed within the crisp, clean lines of Kim’s classic-yet-contemporary design ethos.
As on Pinterest, so it is in this home, which Kim redecorated for a young family during a major renovation three and a half years ago. On the one hand, there is a sense of graceful classicism that includes a confident use of black and white. As Kim explains, the black and white ‘works as a foil to the vibrant colour – balancing and grounding it’. On the other hand, there is that bold colour, which combined with a number of other strongly individual choices, gives the scheme a dynamic energy.
The bright orange exterior of the front door, for example, opens onto a supremely elegant hallway and stairwell that features poured terrazzo floors and a textured charcoal wallpaper – as well as a tall potted palm tree and a number of artworks, including an eye-catching series of brightly coloured silkscreens by South African artist Stephanie Watson.
Kim cleverly uses colour to balance architectural elements in her spaces. A good example of this is the dark green paint colour she chose for the built-in kitchen cabinets in this house – an unusual selection that perfectly offsets the visual power of the charcoal-framed, wood-burning fireplace at the other end of the open-plan living-dining-kitchen space.
Across the front of the dining and living space are French doors that open onto an uncovered, narrow terrace. It was going to have a pergola over it, says Kim, until she substituted that idea for the four huge grey planters, with lime trees in them, which adorn the space instead. It’s a boldly elegant idea that creates a much more modern feel than a pergola would – and the homeowners confirm that the trees provide a great supply of limes to boot.
The family’s bedrooms (as well as a petite home office, which features a fresh green ombre wallpaper by Designers Guild) are all upstairs. All these first-floor rooms lead off a hallway that has been furnished as a casual pyjama lounge and features a glorious view across Cape Town towards the distant Durbanville hills.
Kim Stephen works on interior-design projects in Cape Town and London; for more information and to contact her, visit kimstephen.com.
Key decor elements in this space include a textured grey wallpaper – Textures Végétales by the French wallpaper manufacturer Élitis – as well as custom-poured terrazzo floors, a tall potted palm tree and large-scale floral-print curtains in Parfum d’Ete fabric by Manuel Canovas.
In the open-plan living-dining-kitchen area, Kim used bright colours – but always ‘balanced and grounded’ by classic black and white. The deep-buttoned and unusually blue Chesterfield couch is topped with scatter cushions in a black and white animal print, and Pierre Frey’s Arty fabric, as well as a one-off printed cushion featuring a beach scene, which was discovered in a store down a little side street during a holiday in Saint-Tropez.
A layered tablescape in the living room. The black Chippendale-style side table was unearthed in a junk shop and resprayed in high-gloss black, and the blue drop-effect ceramic vase was found at the at the Rondebosch Potters Market, which takes place twice a year and features the work of potters and ceramicists from all over the Western Cape. The black and brass storage box is from Pezula Interiors in Cape Town.
The built-in kitchen cabinetry is painted a dark shade of green – an unusual choice that forms a lovely counterpoint to the charcoal-grey mantelpiece and fireplace on the other side of this large, open-plan room. The joinery is by Nicolwood Custom Made Furniture & Kitchens in Wynberg and the Hicks pendant hanging lights were sourced in the USA – designed by Thomas O’Brien of Aero Studios, they are fast becoming classics. At the marble-topped kitchen island are three custom-made counter stools covered in durable woven raffia.
The standout item of furniture in the dining area is the gorgeous freestanding drinks cabinet, which is covered with a shagreen-textured vinyl and filled with beautiful glassware and cocktails essentials. It was custom-made – down to the clever pop of bright yellow in the storage area in the bottom half of the cabinet and the brass nailhead details – to interior decorator Kim Stephen’s design by Moorgas & Sons.
Similar to the extensive patios and terraces that are in widespread use in Durban and Johannesburg but still relatively new to Cape Town houses, this ‘outdoor room’ includes both dining and lounging areas. Via the use of glass folding doors, it can be closed up during more inclement weather or completely opened to the elements during the city’s long, hot summers. It was added to the house during a major renovation three and a half years ago.
The floor is made of terrazzo tiles just like those used at the renowned Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga, just north of Durban, and were made using the original tile press, which interior designer Kim Stephen tracked down in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
The ‘outdoor room’ or patio area features a fireplace ideal for braais, as well as comfortable seating ideal for lazy weekend afternoon lounging. The rustic coffee table is from Block & Chisel, the round red custom-woven outdoor rug is from Fibre Designs and the bright yellow pots are from The Gatehouse at Mavromac. The artwork above the fireplace is from Weylandts.
In the dining space the wooden dining table is from Block & Chisel and the brightly coloured Eames-style chairs are from Chair Crazy. The botanical artwork is a Jung-Koch-Quentell teaching panel, available through Hagemann. Reflected in the large decorative mirror is the garden and beyond it, part of the home’s beautiful view of the side of Table Mountain.
A large three-seater couch, in dark charcoal outdoor fabric from Mavromac with white vinyl piping, is placed against the wall in the lounging section of the ‘outdoor room’ or patio area. The scatter cushions are made up in striped fabrics bought at the Saint-Tropez market. The wood and metal coffee table is from Block & Chisel and the round red custom-woven outdoor rug is from Fibre Designs. The botanical artworks are Jung-Koch-Quentell teaching panels, available through Hagemann.
At the far end of the uncovered, narrow terrace that runs along the front of the house, a tepee has been set up in which the homeowners’ young son loves to retreat and read. The terrace features four huge grey planters – just one is visible here – with flourishing lime trees in them. The child-sized Eames-style chairs are from Chair Crazy, and the striped outdoor rug is from Block & Chisel.
The casual ‘pyjama’ lounge area at the top of the stairs is furnished with a sky-blue couch and bench from La Grange Interiors. The curtains are made from a Manuel Canovas fabric – Bella, in Rose Indien – and the black and white artworks are by Cape Town artist Kurt Pio. The graphic black and white rug, which is layered over wall-to-wall jute flooring in a style also used in the first-floor bedrooms, is from Herringbone in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
A perfectly petite home office is situated on the first floor of the house. It features Saraille – a lovely ombre wallpaper by Designers Guild in Grass – on the walls, and a charming white chair that is an upcycled find from a Stellenbosch junk store.
The main bedroom has a relatively muted colour palette, with the bright tones of the recently acquired artwork adding a few more vibrant tones. The bed was custom made by Moorgas & Sons to a design by Kim Stephen; the wooden bedside tables are from Block & Chisel. The graphic rug, which is layered over wall-to-wall jute flooring, is from Herringbone in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
A bath with a view: in the main bathroom on the first floor, the freestanding pewter bath is from Victorian Bathrooms and the bright turquoise side table is from Cécile & Boyd. The textured black and white rug Berber-style rug is from Herringbone in Hout Bay, Cape Town.
In the guest suite, the bathroom leads out onto a private courtyard. The custom-made terrazzo floors are based on the design used at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The black and white bath and standing towel rail are both from Victorian Bathrooms.
In the homeowners’ son’s room, the decor is bold and graphic with lots of black and white, punctuated by bright red accents including these scatter cushions, which are made up in Fougere Picus fabric in Rocoto by Romo. The ‘Pow! Snork! Zap!’ Pop-art cushion is from Mr Price Home.
In the homeowners’ son’s room, a large, glass-fronted cabinet from Loft Living displays his toys – including that rather enviable plush Minion – and books.
The homeowners’ daughter’s bedroom is gorgeously pretty, with bold horizontal pink stripes on the walls that enlarge and open up the space. The curvy headboard was custom-made and is upholstered in bright yellow velvet found at an offcuts shop in Muizenberg; the palm-tree cushions are made up in a fabric found in Woodstock and the charming animal cushions and checked throw are both from Designers Guild. Visible through the door is a very large, interactive felt map of the world, which interior designer Kim Stephen sourced from the Conran Shop in London.
The bedroom is gorgeously pretty, with bold horizontal pink stripes on the walls that enlarge and open up the space. The doll’s house is Cherry Tree Hall from Le Toy Van, and the artworks are a mix of finds from Monsoon in London and Cotton On in Cape Town.
Interior Designer: Kim Stephen
Photographer: Warren Heath/Bureaux.co.za
Production: Sven Alberding/Bureaux.co.za