city, houses

bright now: a boutique-style home bursting with colour

Micky Hoyle

The conventional Victorian facade of this three-bedroom cottage in Gardens, Cape Town, completely belies the colourful creativity within. From the street, the house blends in easily with similar properties surrounding it, but once you set foot in the entrance, you’re immediately transported somewhere else. Once a simple family home, it is now a boutique-style space bursting with colour. Owned by a London-based restaurateur, the abode was recently brought to life by interior designer Etienne Hanekom and his team.

‘We didn’t have a lot of time. The owner wanted me to give it a complete facelift and have it ready in two months,’ says Hanekom. ‘Luckily, we’d worked together on another renovation project, so he was happy for me to lead. He didn’t even see the property physically before he purchased it – everything was communicated via photos I sent to him. It’s amazing to work with a client who has faith in you.’

‘We wanted to pay homage to the classic design and architecture of the home, while adding elements of modernity and playfulness,’ says interior designer Etienne Hanekom.

Etienne Hanekom leans against a dining-room wall clad in wallpaper by Ananbô, with a Perch light by Umut Yamac for Moooi adding to the semi-tropical aesthetic.

Textures abound in the living area: a rich blue velvet couch from Loft Living, with scatters from Haus by Hertex, is perfectly at home against teal wallpaper by Zoffany (available at The coffee table was acquired at Pezula Interiors.

A comfy modular sofa and a sidetable (both from Weylandts) invite repose in the dining-cum-lounge space.

With a blank canvas of white walls and Oregon pine floors, Hanekom set to work immediately to convert the space into something very urbane and contemporary. ‘The palette for the house basically stemmed from the floor-to-ceiling wallpaper, which has a semi-tropical theme and was sourced for the dining area from Ananbô in France. That, coupled with the beautiful pink bougainvillea blossoming around the house, set the tone for what would follow.’

The inspiration is gloriously apparent in the front courtyard, where patterned floor tiles and green cacti offset a bold pink wall. ‘Apart from the overriding theme of greens and pinks, the dominant colours for every other room in the house were dictated by the main items I found to furnish each space,’ says Hanekom.

‘In the living room, it was the royal-blue velvet couch, and in the kitchen, the green marble slab. And in the yellow-and-grey downstairs bedroom, [the colour scheme comes from] an artwork of a lizard from Weylandts.’ The palettes for the upstairs sleeping areas are more muted: dusty pink for the spare bedroom with adjacent bathroom, and a jewel green for the main en suite bedroom, which leads out onto an original rounded Victorian balcony, with views over the city and towards Lion’s Head.

The living area of a once unremarkable Victorian cottage in Gardens, Cape Town, is now awash with colour, thanks to a complete transformation by interior designer Etienne Hanekom. Coming together in a panoply of jewel tones are a couch from Leon at CCXIX with mustard yellow scatters in fabric from Hertex on a rug from Haus by Hertex, which stand out beautifully against a wall painted in Azure Fusion 1 by Dulux. The art print is from Rijks Museum online and the Table Trio brass sidetable and server in the hallway were sourced at Cécile & Boyd.

Designed by Etienne Hanekom Interiors, the kitchen walls and cabinetry are painted in Phantom Ship by Plascon, and the stool hails from Weylandts.

‘We wanted to pay homage to the classic design and architecture of the home, while adding elements of modernity and playfulness,’ says Hanekom. ‘Initially the owner was less enthusiastic about all the colour and vibrancy than I was, but in the end, he was really happy with the outcome. I’m glad I pushed him a bit, as it’s hard for someone to understand the vision you have in your head before they’ve seen it in reality.’

Hanekom’s favourite part of the house is ‘definitely the dining room that leads into the open-plan kitchen – it’s the heart of the home and is the thread that ties all the other spaces together.’ With its eight-seater table, yellow upholstered chairs, tropical jungle wallpaper and bird-inspired Perch light fittings (from Dutch design brand Moooi) that all fit seamlessly together, it’s a beautifully bright and charming space.

Flanked by Table Mountain and within walking distance of bustling Kloof Street, it’s no wonder the foreign owner snapped up this Mother City space immediately. 

Plascon’s energetic Forest Found hue characterises the scullery, with a central unit covered in marble by WOMAG. The display of vessels above it is from Moroccan Warehouse and L’Orangerie.

Hanekom’s favourite space in the house is the dining room, which ‘ties all the other spaces together’. Tucked under the black oak dining table by James Mudge is a brace of sunshine yellow chairs, also from Leon at CCXIX.

The lizard pictured in the large print from Weylandts dictated the palette for the downstairs bedroom, which contrasts yellow with greys evident in a custom-made steel bed frame, bedside tables and a pendant lampshade, all from Weylandts, as well as a rug from Haus by Hertex. The bedside lamps were bought at Mr Price Home.

Dusty pinks predominate in the upstairs spare bedroom, where a carved bedstead from Strand Trading Post holds court with a rose-hued chair from, a rug from Haus by Hertex and a wall lamp from Bofred.

The second bathroom’s refurbished cast-iron tub picks up on the bright pinks outside. The side table is from Antiques on Kloof, and the desk lamp from Loft Living.

An assortment of objets and bright blooms adorn a shelf in the scullery unit, accompanied by a wall light from K Light.