Revamp Space #1 - City Barn

Finding an old barn in Cape Town's Sea Point is unusual. But for its owner, who transformed this offbeat space into an urban oasis, it was all rather serendipitous.

Frances Marais
Storm Ross

City Barn | House and Leisure

‘Discovering this place was a “lucky strike”,’ says Candice Hatting, model agency owner of My Friend Ned, The Casting Studio and Disco Casting, and creative management company Disco Creatives.

‘Although many said it was an obvious disaster, I found it intriguing, and I’m glad I pursued the project.’ It’s hard to articulate how it looked before, she says, having once been a panelbeating garage, and prior to that, an urban barn. ‘It was dusty and dilapidated, and sometimes I’m surprised at how beautifully it all turned out.’  

Initially intending to use the barn for her businesses, Candice couldn’t imagine it would one day become home to her and her four-year-old daughter Zsa Zsa.

‘It was never clear what would become of the space in the long run, so I was reluctant to invest too much money in it. It evolved bit by bit, as my life and career did,’ she explains. 

City Barn | House and Leisure City Barn | House and Leisure

But the business outgrew the space and the barn did become her home. ‘The kitchen is my favourite area now, particularly because of the lighting I chose and the giant Michael Taylor painting on the wall,’ she explains.

In it, an elegant man in a giant hat and a glamorous suit rows his boat towards an idyllic-looking island. ‘It resonates very well with me,’ she smiles. ‘This painting gives me courage. It’s called “The Scout”, which is the story of my life in every way.’ 

City Barn | House and LeisureCity Barn | House and Leisure

The biggest challenges, she recalls, were plumbing and electrifying the barn, as well as getting rid of rodents and other pests. When reimagining the interiors, Candice felt that the roughness of the space needed embellishment with creature comforts and quality touches.

‘I started with a basic palette of cream, white and black, then added pops of colour. The juxtaposition of the rough and the more refined worked out nicely – it was like converting “camping” to “glamping”.’ 

City Barn | House and Leisure

‘Apart from the Michael Taylor artwork, some of my favourite things include the handwoven mohair rug from Frances VH, and a strange and bizarre horse sculpture by my friend Koos – it is so weird and wonderful, and it’s a good example of the incongruity of the space, which I like to sum up as “messy perfection”,’ she laughs. ‘And my Anatomy Design lamp looks good wherever you place it.’ 

This project has taught Candice a great deal: ‘I think it’s good to challenge yourself on preconceived ideas of what it takes to live well. Sometimes, the most outrageous place can end up making you the happiest.’

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