WORDS Amelia Brown AFTER IMAGES Andrea van Der Spuy
Interior architects Attik Design stripped this 1926 home to its bones, opening it up dramatically, modernising it with fittings, finishes, furnishings and contemporary colours, and working with landscapers to capitalise on its elevation and incredible views.
It took five months for the plans to be approved by Western Cape Heritage and Council before the renovations could begin. The house had been through six renovations since it was built in the ’20s. The layout was clumsy and fragmented, and the interior was not only very dark, but also disconnected from the garden. The brief from the client was for a complete overhaul. Attik Design’s intention was to design a home with easy flow while simultaneously creating intimacy within spaces and remaining sensitive to the original plans from 1926.
“We moved the entrance to its original position at the centre of the house to regain symmetry,” explains Interior Architect and Attik Design owner Brigid White, “and added a wraparound front porch to connect the interior and exterior. We created a seamless flow internally by demolishing all internal walls, as well as a seamless transition to the exterior through a cohesion of interior and exterior finishes.” Natural light was increased through the addition of windows and doors, and by raising the height of the ceilings. Large windows and stack-away doors create an airy transparency and enhance the home’s connection to its surroundings.
The biggest challenge was to connect the interior to the exterior without a cumbersome block of stairs. The internal floor level was 2.3 m above the lawn level at the pool. “With the wraparound front porch we wanted, the drop became even more extravagant,” says Brigid. “Together with a landscape team, we designed a terraced garden that ‘rolled’ down from the edge of the front porch in the form of curved garden beds onto a level lawn area where we built a 20 m lap pool.”
Brigid designed an interesting landscaped staircase to flow from the outdoor entertainment area. It incorporates a thoughtful mix of finishes and the stairs are purposefully offset to create wider seating zones. The surrounding vegetation was landscaped to merge into the stairs for a harmonious exterior.
Internally, with the house gutted, Brigid created intimacy and flow by partially separating spaces, such as the double-sided fireplace between the dining and living rooms with punctured openings on either side for firewood. The original staircase layout from the 1926 plans was reinstated and Brigid enhance the connection between the floors by using a glass balustrade.
A predominant palette of crisp whites, stone grey, and natural wood is accented by the use of bold, contemporary colour, striking furniture and lighting and custom-designed rugs. “For every project, wherever we can, we aim to create custom pieces for our clients that are unique to them and their space,” Brigid adds. For this project, Attik Design’s patterns and designs were crafted by Coral & Hive (dining room rug), The Artisan (the brass suspension pendant above the kitchen island), and Nieuw Design (the steel entrance console, floral slipper chair in guest bedroom, statement linen cupboard and upholstered bench on the first floor landing).
“We absolutely adore the Flos AIM pendant, dramatically suspended above the staircase, and the Brokis Shadows cluster pendant in the dining room,” says Brigid. “The artwork in the entrance foyer is a piece by William Kentridge, selected by the client from the Goodman Gallery, which rounds off the hallway perfectly.”
“My favourite spaces are the kitchen and master en-suite,” she says. “I know the client well and was fortunate enough to have an open design brief. They trusted my style completely and I was given the freedom to make design choices, or more simply put in their words, ‘to design a house that I would like to live in’. I have designed these areas as personal sanctuaries.”
Check out the interiors of cool Cape Town restaurant Mink & Trout, another project by Attik Design, and follow the interior architects on Instagram for more beautiful interiors in both Cape Town and San Francisco. Looking for more inspiration? Read more amazing before and afters here.