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Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House

Iconic pieces from South Africa's design greats form the backbone of this art-filled home in the Johannesburg suburb of Northcliff.

Sarah de Pina

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

Black, white and great local design combine in a Northcliff, Johannesburg, home recently completed by young interior designer and HL Next Level alumni Erica Schalkwyk of Form Interior. Schalkwyk stays true to her brand’s aesthetic, making South African design the hero, and putting iconic pieces front and centre in the projects she takes on.

We caught up with Schalkwyk to learn more about the process of creating this spectacular Northcliff home. 

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

The architecture of this Northcliff home is quite extraordinary. How did you go about incorporating the structure into your overall plan for the interiors? 

The owner renovated, changed and grew with his home at different stages of his life. The home became this ongoing project showing who he is as a person and how he evolved. I wanted that to come through in the interiors by incorporating quite an eclectic design, showcasing unique styles from different design periods. The concept became quite a nice way to show how we love different things and don’t only identity with one or a certain type of aesthetic. 

You worked with a bold combination of blacks and whites. What’s the trick to getting the colour scheme right? 

The trick is to not be afraid of extreme neutrals and accents. It really emphasises a warm, minimalist interior where you create sophisticated comfort by using only what is important and meaningful. 

READ MORE: Go Inside the Tangier  Holiday House of Two Renowned Designers.

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

The correct placement of artworks seems crucial in a space like this. Why did you put them where you did?

It came down to curating something that is both beautiful and communicative of the different sides of a person. The owner already had an artwork by Peter Hall, so we added the graphic Willem Boshoff and Kathryn Smith pieces. We then softened them with abstract landscapes and oils by Melody French, Will H and Isabella Mostert. We finished it off with iconic works by Guy du Toit to create synergy between our walls and surfaces. 

READ MORE: Discover the 11 Art and Design Exhibitions You Should See in Joburg Right Now.

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure
Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

Sourcing local design can sometimes be a little tricky if you don't know where to look. How should someone start when putting together a collection like the one in this house?

I’d say start looking for art on sites like The Artists' Press and Art It Is. They support artists in all forms, from iconic to young and upcoming, and they make art accessible and easy to purchase. Websites like Design Store, Knus and Stable make buying local designer furniture very easy. Local design makes it possible to purchase timeless heirlooms that you’ll love forever. 

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

How did you work with the homeowners to realise the space? 

The homeowners where very kind in giving me room to show them what is possible. They also communicated very clearly about what they liked, so it made the task fairly easy. The key to a great design is great communication and trust. 

What's your favourite moment in the house?

My favourite moment in the house is the new TV room. It was such a difficult space to design, but it turned into a genius collaboration between myself, Wunders, Luvarre and Andrew Dominic. Every designer contributed to solving this problem and the space transformed into such a beautiful and usable room. 

READ MORE: Tour a Cape Dutch homestead in Babylonstoren.

Local Design is the Star of this Northcliff House | House and Leisure

Do you have any tips for recreating the look in your own house?

Purchase meaningful once-off pieces and fill up your home over a few years instead of one-stop shopping to furnish a space. If it’s true design that says something about who you are, you’ll still love it in 50 years. 

Read more about Erica's unique design philosophy.

See more pictures of this Northcliff house in the slideshow below.