Compact but cleverly designed this Cape Town home is an urban oasis

Remodelled from a 1980s property it has open-plan living with the kitchen at its heart

contemporary living room cape town home
Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux/Living Inside

It seems entirely appropriate that the two-bedroom Cape Town home shared by furniture importer Craig Tabor- Raeside and his lawyer husband Christian should have been designed over the dinner table. They love to entertain friends in their open-plan living area, or on the huge roof terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city.

contemporary living room cape town home
Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux/Living Inside

Craig, whose company Créma imports European design brands such as Hay, Tom Dixon and Vitra to South Africa, first bought the house in 2006 and rented it out for a few years before deciding to remodel it to suit his own style. He enlisted the help of a friend, Chris van Niekerk of The Fold Architects, to create a ‘warm and modern’ layout for the building, which was arrived at very informally, ‘over good food and drink’.

contemporary dining room cape town home
Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux/living Inside

In the end, the only part of the original 1980s house that was retained was the rendered façade – absolutely everything else is new. Chris was given carte blanche. ‘I love his work, so I didn’t really give him a detailed brief,’ Craig recalls. ‘My only request was the vertical garden in the alleyway that separates our house from next door. We’re in the middle of the city, so there was no other way for me to have a garden.’ There is, however, a spacious terrace on the roof, complete with pagoda and swimming pool, that’s always in use when the weather is good.

contemporary kitchen with vertical garden view cape town home
Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux/living Inside

The house’s welcoming atmosphere is hinted at even before you get inside the front door, thanks to the bright red masonry. This was matched to ‘Marsala’, Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2015 (chosen to mark the year Craig and Christian moved in). ‘Historically, this area was known for its multi-coloured houses – each one is different,’ says Craig, who added a selection of exotic plants for an even bolder look.

‘To me, luxury is about fine materials such as the rareness of an object’

Indoors, the décor reflects Craig and Christian’s taste for contemporary, refined design, with lighting by Tom Dixon and furniture by Danish brands Gubi and Hay. ‘To me, luxury is about fine materials such as marble, leather and brass, as well as the rareness of an object,’ says Craig, whose prize finds include a set of original 1950s dining chairs by Norman Cherner. ‘I like things that are timeless or difficult to find. Comfort is really important to me, too, and we’ve expressed that through the easy, open flow of this space.’

contemporary bedroom cape town home
Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux/Living Inside

Where does the couple spend most time? ‘The kitchen. It’s the first thing you see when you come into the house and, for us, it’s the heart of any home. Everyone ends up in here.’ With the house’s lush vertical garden adding a splash of green just beyond the windows, we can see why – this abode is a real urban oasis. crema.co.za; thefold.co.za

For the full house tour see Elle Decoration January 2018

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