House Tour

Genius space-saving hacks abound in this compact Cape Town apartment

This stylish family home has an expansive feel that belies its small footprint

23 July 2017 - 00:10 By Laura Twiggs/Bureaux

Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable, observed Donna Karan.
And as living-space illustrations go, this apartment in Sea Point, Cape Town, would be hard to match as a successful example of balance.
At just 138m², it's not the size your average would-be family-home hunters would entertain for a moment, much less go on to view and purchase.
But then, headed by Michael Udell, MD of digital advertising agency Punk, and Carin Dean-Wales, serial entrepreneur, the family that did just that isn't what anyone could call "average".
To them, the actual physical size of the apartment wasn't nearly as important as its orientation - with light which floods in through windows facing north, west and east and views that take in the ocean, Robben Island and Table Mountain's Signal Hill.
On top of this was an added boon in the desirable, built-up area: rare privacy afforded by the school directly opposite which effectively blanks out an entire phalanx of neighbours and allows the sort of expansive, indoor-outdoor living seldom experienced in densely-populated urban "flatlands".This finely-tuned balancing act of design binaries extends far beyond the plainly visible and is perhaps even more effective in the nexus where form and function meet.
"Odd" spaces that typically languish as "dead" are not only fully integrated, but put to multi-dimensional use.
The day bed in the awkward window alcove is not simply the inviting suntrap it looks - it's also a valuable storage unit and a cunning means by which to safeguard the streamlined, open sensibility. Both it and the cleverly underplayed TV unit hide visually jarring cables, unsightly plugs and a clutter of electronic detritus.
Multi-functional solutions like these are too many to mention, but the most impressive of them and the one that best sets and encapsulates the inspired strategic ethos has to be the internal dressing room that separates the bedroom and bathroom of the master suite.Occupying the entire width of the apartment, set behind a sliding door and internally linked by an open-ended passage space, this "wing" is where the real genius of the apartment is most apparent: the frosted glass and grey steel inner dressing-room chamber.
Providing not only ample storage, this small area works hard. As a distancing buffer, it bestows total autonomy and privacy on the most personal rooms. Then its lengths double as feature walls for main bedroom and bathroom. And in addition, its material composition means that irrespective of season or time of day, natural light filters across the entire suite...

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