Green Living, sustainability

Green House

Text Vicki Sleet Photographs Micky Hoyle 'There’s been green in every house I’ve lived in,’ comments Micky Hoyle of the myriad shades of the colour splashed throughout the Cape Town home he shares with his girlfriend, Laurel Mader. From the otherworldly collection of sculptural succulents that greet visitors at the gate (and that are ever-present once inside) to the soothing planes of green paint colours juxtaposed with black, slate-grey and metallics it’s clear that Micky is deeply inspired by the world outside his window. Working long hours as a photographer and in the competitive advertising industry respectively, it’s important that Micky and Laurel have a home that provides respite from their busy work days. ‘This is where we switch off, where we do very little, just enjoy being in the space,’ says Micky. And indeed their mountainside idyll is dressed to chill in a palette of calming hues and natural textures, and is blessed with plenty of glass to bring the beautiful garden and panoramic views of the city indoors. It was this latter feature that sold Micky on the property the first time he saw it. He found this gem, positioned in the highest reaches of Oranjezicht, at an auction sale. ‘Its only redeeming factor was the fantastic position; the style was nondescript and there was nothing that really appealed to me from an aesthetic perspective,’ he says, chuckling about the Mallard duck plaques that flew across the stippled wall in the original living room. That was two years ago. Micky’s one of those people who relishes the opportunity to get his hands dirty and do tricky DIY stuff, from staining floors to welding metal and planing wood for panelling. He spent many weekends immersed in projects converting his lucky auction find into a home that fits where he is in his life – happy to be unwinding in his oasis with Laurel and the newest addition to the family, Stella the Staffie. But as it now stands, the house, having undergone few major changes (barring the demolition of a couple of walls to open things up, and the addition of sleek aluminium windows and an en-suite bathroom to the main bedroom) is just phase one of what Micky has in mind. Phase two (‘sometime in the future’) will take things upstairs to another level – to create more space and more access to the magnificent city and sea views in front and unspoilt views of Table Mountain behind. Of the texture-driven and moody interiors, Micky and Laurel reveal their innate ability to revamp and remake. Using old crate wood as panelling in the kitchen and bedroom, he’s created an artful sense of rough luxe. Clearly a master of reinvention and finding the beauty in the everyday, his projects are plentiful and beautiful. Not unlike his astounding copper collection, which, ironically, had its heyday around the time Mallard ducks were big. ‘I found my first piece at a place in Kleinmond and after that I kept seeing copper items everywhere – you can pick them up for next to nothing,’ Micky grins. ‘Because I knew I was going to build and make some major changes down the line, I was reluctant to spend unnecessarily. That’s what I loved about this process – creating something out of things other people didn’t really want and even threw away.’ Positioned as it is, and finished with interesting details and natural textures, there’s no doubt that this home’s a keeper. Mickey's Home Truths I never leave home without looking back and appreciatingwhere we live. I really wanted to get a dog and this house was an opportunity to fulfil that desire – we live right on the mountain and we’re on it all the time. Our home is a private space – we both have very social days, so at night we like to unwind and enjoy the quiet. Our favourite time of day is the still afternoons when there’s beautiful light, loud birdsong and the view goes on forever. We had no idea that having Table Mountain as your back garden could be so humbling. I’m most pleased about having revived the rambling garden and making the view a bigger part of the house. I’d describe my style as earthy, eclectic, dramatic ... and cheap! My favourite bargain buys are all 158 pieces of my copper-kitsch collection and our Dutch handmade espresso cups (and we don’t even drink coffee). On weekends you’ll find us at Milnerton Market or at the park with Stella. I can’t live without my blowtorch! If money were no object, I’d indulge in a home studio where we could potter and create. Our desert island essentials would be Earl Grey tea, Trivial Pursuit and Cadbury’s Cashew & Coconut chocolate.   This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of House and Leisure.