With her penchant for moody, impactful spaces, a skilled interior design specialist has transformed her Cape Town apartment into an industrial-chic urban bolthole.
Moody yet light, industrial yet cosy, this modern Cape Town apartment is the epitome of urban sophistication and a study in considered contrasts. ‘I was looking for a personal creative project and an inner-city loft has always been on my bucket list’, says homeowner Kim Smith, ‘so I set out to build something that I would want to spend time in’.
As director at Weylandts, an upmarket South African homeware and furniture store, Kim saw this as opportunity to fashion an edgy city bolthole unique to her style – and within close proximity of one of Cape Town’s most sought-after districts. And it’s a shining example of the kind of modern design you’ll find along the popular Bree Street strip, fringed with achingly hip coffee shops, eateries and boutiques, at once straddling the line between contemporary cool and classic chic.
When she first alighted on the space, Kim was won over by its surrounds: ‘magnificent views over the city, Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head.’ Of course, as is often the case with any new home, it wasn’t perfect to begin with. ‘I completely gutted the place and sorted out all the levels to make it more user friendly’, Kim explains.
Changing the flow and simplifying the layout, she also extended the mezzanine level and installed strong walls in place of the tin sheets that separated the home into living zones. ‘The reward is when I believe I have unlocked the best solution to space utilisation, incorporating my aesthetic style to create the ideal environment.’
For all intents and purposes, this home should feel cold, enveloped in its moody shades of grey; however, layers of tactile materials, objets and furniture pieces in complementary light hues are peppered throughout its three storeys, softening the steely tone and delivering a good dose of warmth.
During the day, light floods the ground floor living area courtesy of expansive windows that let a generous panorama of Table Mountain take your breath away. ‘I was very cognisant of the environment and how the interior relates to the exterior, so I opted to stand the dark in opposition to, and to soften, the brightness of the outdoors’, Kim explains. ‘I wanted this space to reflect and play off the location of the apartment – city living at its best. It’s bold, simple and masculine, with an emphasis on great design and comfort.’
Striking monochromatic interiors are Kim’s calling card, and she’s honed her sensitivity to tone and detail over years of fashioning the homes of others. At every turn you’re met with another carefully curated vignette. Dark mahogany wood and steel finishes play off the bone-dry skulls and cascading greenery smattered over the home. ‘The abundance of indoor plants is critical to creating life and interest in this masculine space’, Kim notes. It’s all cleverly arranged but never overly decorated.
‘Simplicity and good design involve discipline and serious editing and considered layering’, she explains. ‘Often people err by putting everything they like into one project – the result is schizophrenic.’
Through the use of careful spatial arrangement, key design and art pieces from Weylandts become artful talking points – the factory-style pendants in the kitchen, a linen artwork that adds a striking splash of cool indigo, the molecule light at the breakfast table, a shaggy graphic occasional chair that invites you to curl up with a good read.... ‘I selected beautiful, comfortable pieces that are timeless and do not overpower the space but work well in terms of proportion and materiality.’
‘While it has a universal language, this apartment definitely has an African heartbeat’, Kim says, summing up its essence. When it came to materials, the South African landscape was a strong influence, referenced in the animal hide rugs, artwork and artefacts.
In the bedroom, a decidedly pared-back zone geared to relaxation and calm, Kim cleverly used raw steel panelling to divide sleeping quarters from the bathroom, and the mood shifts subtly between the two spaces with the bathroom taking on a tropical character. ‘I wanted to create a cocoon’, says Kim, ‘private, peaceful and unexpected on top of this ten-storey building’.
Each area of the home has spaces where you can hole up, from a perfectly placed chair for reading a book, to a spot to sit and absorb the view in the bedroom. ‘The views over Bo Kaap are very special’, she says, pointing out the vibrant boxy homes of the neighbouring Cape Malay district.
‘I love the sound of the call to prayer from the local mosques. This is my idea of city living – a central, stylish and spacious penthouse connected to the city.’
Words: Jessica Ross Styling: Sven Alberding Photography: Greg Cox/Bureaux
Create the look: Moody hues
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT About Colour Silver Taupe, Armour and Maz Black Paint aboutcolour.co.nz; Green Home 03 Art Print paperplanestore.com; Tim Webber Design Wrap Stool thecleverdesignstore.co.nz; Carmo Three-seater Sofa & Sakka Rug boconcept.com; Porcelanosa Mirage Dark and Bluestone Acero Tiles nextdore.co.nz; Menu Salt + Pepper Grinders & Cascades Cushion paperplanestore.com.