A Tiny House With A Refreshing Green And White Palette
This historic family home is stripped down to reveal its clean-lined bones, and is updated with summer-bright colors
Stylist and design consultant Doreen de Waal, along with her husband, Meyer, has lived in their lovingly restored historic villa in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa, for several decades. Over the years it has undergone renovations, tweaks and extensions, but its basic footprint and architectural integrity has remained constant.
Reconciling a personal and decorating style that is, self-admittedly, idiosyncratic with an historic home can be challenging. Never one to follow the decorating rules, fun touches bring this historic home into the contemporary realm. There is the dining room that leads off the kitchen, its walls painted in chalkboard paint. “We are forever writing messages, drawing and doodling on the walls,” says Doreen. Here, an old chest of drawers from a pharmacy stands in as a server, open pigeonhole shelves (built by Meyer) act as storage, and a World Map wall decal on the ceiling gives the optical illusion of a chandelier’s reflection coming from a single light bulb.
Of all the spaces in the house that feel “like little sanctuaries” to Doreen, the second-floor bedroom is the most cocooning of all thanks to its layers of texture, its color palette—gray with touches of navy, charcoal, cream and pops of yellow—as well as a bathroom that opens up to the outside. “When my mother died, she left me a few pennies with the stipulation that I do something that gives me joy every day,” recalls Doreen. “So we built this bathroom and made it really special. It’s simple but luxurious and feels like being in a spa. More of another ‘room’ than just a bathroom.”
“The magic of this house, to me,” muses Doreen, “Is the strong sense of the people living here. I love how it accommodates us and the way that we like to live. I love this house because it has a history. I love this house because it represents the happiest parts of my and Meyer’s lives, of our children’s lives, and I feel connected to my past and our late parents through it. It is filled with memories of the things one finds along the way, the really important stuff. It’s the most peaceful feeling, being here. I love that it’s a space where you can hang out and just be.”
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