Chic Cape Town pad proves grey CAN be a cosy colour
With her penchant for moody, impactful spaces, a skilled interior design specialist has transformed her 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, Kim saw this as an opportunity to fashion a city bolthole unique to her style - and within close proximity of one of Cape Town's most sought-after districts. Plus, it's a shining example of the kind of modern design you'll find along the Bree Street strip, fringed with coffee shops, eateries and boutiques straddling the line between contemporary cool and classic chic.
When she first saw the space Kim was won over by its surrounds: "Magnificent views over the city, Devil's Peak, Table Mountain and Lion's Head." Of course, as is often the case with any new home, it wasn't perfect to begin with. "I gutted it and sorted out all the levels to make it more user friendly," says Kim.
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. "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 as it is in shades of grey. However, layers of tactile materials, objets and furniture in complementary light hues are peppered throughout its three storeys, softening the steely tone and delivering a 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 cognisant of the environment and how the interior relates to the exterior, so I opted to stand the dark in opposition to the brightness of the outdoors," says Kim. "I wanted this space to reflect and play off the location of the apartment - city living at its best. It's bold, simple, masculine with an emphasis on 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 a carefully curated vignette. Dark mahogany wood and steel finishes play off the bone-dry skulls and cascading greenery. "The abundance of indoor plants is critical to creating life and interest in this masculine space," says Kim.
It's all cleverly arranged but never overly decorated. "Simplicity and good design involve discipline, editing and layering. Often people put everything they like into one project and the result is schizophrenic."
Through the use of careful spatial arrangement, key design and art pieces from Weylandts become talking points: the factory-style pendants in the kitchen, a linen artwork that adds a splash of indigo, the molecule light at the breakfast table, an inviting shaggy graphic occasional chair ...
"I selected beautiful, comfortable pieces that are timeless and work well in terms of proportion and materiality," explains Kim.
"While it has a universal language, this apartment has an African heartbeat," Kim adds, summing up its essence. And 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 pared-back zone geared to relaxation and calm, Kim used raw steel panelling to divide sleeping quarters from the bathroom. 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 10-storey building."
Each area of the home has spaces where you can hole up - from a perfectly placed chair for reading to a spot to sit and absorb the view in the bedroom. "The views over Bo-Kaap are special," she says, pointing out the vibrant homes of the neighbouring Cape Malay district. "I love the sound of the call to prayer from the mosques. This is my idea of city living: a central, stylish and spacious penthouse connected to the city."