Simon Rademan - My Space: Pretoria

04 April 2010 - 02:25 By Craig Jacobs

Craig Jacobs discovers the art of framing in this French-inspired lounge

Simon Rademan has a confession to make - he is addicted to frames and, as you enter the lounge of his Pretoria home, and find yourself surrounded by gilt frame after gilt frame, there can be no doubt of this.

There are the framed photos of his godchildren, Christiaan and Elizna (the offspring of Egoli actor Chris du Clerque and former Miss SA finalist Ronel Ruthven), a whole wall of mirrors framed and lined up - even a pair of scissors gets the treatment.

"I adore heavy, almost immovable items and I'm a frame-aholic," Simon admits. "Every possible space against the walls has been used to frame a fond memory or place a different mirror."

And not for Simon the usual photo album the rest of us might use - in one corner a piece assembled by The Framing Nook documents the significant events of his life.

"They're social images of people involved in the first of almost everything I have done: my first design prize, the first time on stage, my first showing, my first celebrity dress, my first car, my first television interview, my first magazine cover ... It's an ongoing project - I trust there are many more firsts to come."

Simon describes the style of the room as "a mini world tour, where a multitude of styles reside in warm harmony".

"The room is an extension of my personality because it characterises a practical fusion between luxury, glamour, sentiment and reflection."

The designer says his approach to decorating the space was to allow it to develop over time.

"I didn't do it all in one day. Instead, I collected special pieces over the years, not always thinking where they should be placed. I'm stubborn and tenacious, often saving money over a long period to buy exactly what I like, accepting no substitutes."

Simon's latest addition is the Baby Grand piano which takes centre stage in a room with a French feel and dark, polished parquet.

"This is where I practise (when no one is near ... ). My friends also play for us and we all hum along when we have dinners here; it brings peace to my world, which is full of deadlines and couture perfection."

The story of the piano is a special one - as a young boy growing up in Ceres he took lessons, but when the earthquake struck the town some 40 years ago, and "houses and careers were severely destroyed", along went his opportunity to continue studying the piano.

Now, at the age of 46, he has revisited his long lost love - he shopped high and low for the right instrument, until a friend emigrated and sold his Baby Grand, originally bought from Multi Music.

"When I wanted to pay for it he said, 'You've been such a good friend to me. Please, take this as a gift from me to you, it's yours.'"

Simon has an impressive collection of candlestick holders in a range of styles, like the striking Perspex-rendered piece from Spilhaus, and intriguing items such as the vintage dustbin with floral motif, which he bought from Pieter Oosthuizen, a store he avidly supports.

"The shopssells rare and exotic antiques; the dustbin is French Provencal and I have had it for six years - it doubles up for anything: from storing umbrellas to acting as a flower vase to holding bits and pieces of everything I design for future inspiration."

Simon's dos and don'ts

  • DO remember diversity - it should be possible to move things around, in and out of the room without disturbing the harmony
  • DON'T underestimate the value of a newly painted wall
  • DO use mirrors to reflect outside light inwards
  • DON'T do it all in one day
  • DON'T get everything for the room from one supplier. I only shop for single pieces, not sets