Gardens Bachelor Pad

PHOTOS Estie-Marie Anderssen WORDS Ashraf Booley

Thanks to a structural and design makeover, a 36 m2 bachelor flat in the Cape Town suburb of Gardens has been modernised and maximised.

Walking through Ruhan Simon’s contemporary-chic bachelor pad in a complex on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, you cannot help but feel inspired by the way he has utilised the space – especially if you live in a flat of a similar size.

“Before the renovation, the flat had only an en-suite bedroom and kitchenette – no lounge area and a lot of wasted space,” says finance director Ruhan of his newly renovated place.

With the help of a structural engineer, Ruhan and his team knocked out all the interior walls and stripped the entire flat to start afresh. By doing so, he was able to include a small lounge area, distinguishable thanks to a trendy emerald-green feature wall. After all the structural changes had been made and the building work completed, Ruhan felt he needed a pair of fresh eyes to bring the interior together, so he approached interior designer Marilize Anderssen of Figleaf, who happily took on the challenge of fitting every thing into a mere 36 m2.

He gave Marilize a blueprint that detailed where everything should go, and together they considered decorating ideas. “The look and feel came together as we discussed Ruhan’s lifestyle, his needs, his hobbies and his desire to keep the design timeless,” says Marilize.

An active, adventurous and outdoorsy man, Ruhan loves sport (surfing, tennis, squash and golf), has a penchant for yachts and is involved in breeding racehorses in Mossel Bay with his cousin. To reflect his hobbies and interests, Marilize incorporated frames and gold-foiled books, which are displayed on floating shelves against the feature wall.

Opening kitchen cupboard doors reveals an under-counter fridge-freezer on one end and a washer-dryer on the other. Such inventive use of space is evident throughout the flat: Even the microwave oven and induction plates are located in an otherwise under-utilised area. Trendy concrete pendant lights add texture.

The bedroom features a large mirrored sliding door that does double duty for the bathroom and the wardrobe. A world map printed on wallpaper adorns a wall, a nod to Ruhan’s love of travel. And exposed I-beams and black spider lights – custom made by Brandt Bester of BB Designs, the carpenter on the project – bring in some industrial chic. A classic black-and-white chequered tile floor in the bathroom is juxtaposed with raw finishes on the walls in neutrals Grey Typhoon and White Chalk.

“The flat previously had old-fashioned yellow-greenish division walls, which made it look even smaller,” says Marilize. “What we have now is a minimalist, contemporary look with a touch of colonial panache.”

The renovation epitomises the optimal use of a small dwelling through design thinking, careful planning and collaboration, while keeping true to the character of the homeowner.