Tamboerskloof Studio Flat

WORDS Biddi Rorke PHOTOS Greg Cox PRODUCTION Jeanne Botes

A black-and-white colour scheme adds drama and depth to the interior of a sophisticated city hideaway.

When Nick Gluckman, the owner of Oggie Hardwood Flooring, and his wife Robyn chose to overhaul their majestic Tamboerskloof home, it was both an emotive and a financial decision. Recently married, the couple wanted to create a refreshed canvas that reflected their new life together and at the same time maximise the value of their property.

One decision was a no-brainer: extending upwards from the double garage to create a self-contained unit for guests staying over.

Having worked with design duo Zeanne Duminy and James Goss of Zeanne + Goss Interior Architecture Designs on previous ventures over the past 10 years, Nick had absolute confidence in their vision and gave them carte blanche with the build.

“I let them run with it 100%,” he says. “I saw concepts, made quick decisions and had faith in their abilities. My only directive was that I wanted timber cladding.” Nick and Robyn’s trust paid off handsomely. The end result is an elegant space that is practical (think easy cleaning and solution-based storage) and utterly captivating.

One of the most striking aspects of this build is the charred-timber exterior cladding. Designed by James, it’s an arresting detail that offers privacy, character and contrast to the white bagged-brick walls. “To ensure the cladding wouldn’t warp, we experimented with different iterations before settling on larch, which was charred to the desired colour,” Zeanne explains. The slats are spaced widely enough apart for guests to appreciate the mountainscape, yet closely enough together to act as an organic veil.

“We wanted the mountain and the timber screen to be the main stars,” Zeanne says. As a whole, the unit peeks out over an urban street, much like a bird hide would offer an observational retreat for twitchers.

Inside, the studio is pared-down yet punchy. Occasional timber elements such as oiled and stained oak veneer add warmth and contrast – and the timber cladding narrative is repeated, albeit reinterpreted above a low wall that defines the bathroom space.

It was a challenge to work with the limited space in the 42 m² flat, but Zeanne and James performed wizardry with clever storage solutions. Generous drawers under the bed offer space for luggage, alcoves on either side of the flat-screen TV provide space for things like an iPod, and the cupboards all feature finger-groove handles or push-release for maximum sleekness.

“We were bold in some of our decisions in order to create depth in the small space,” says Zeanne. “And although the matte black fittings might date in 10 years, they are easy to swap out when the time is right.”

To soften the look, potted plants bring elements of the outdoors in – punctuating this urban hide with reminders of the world beyond the timber cladding.