The brief that interior designer Hendre Bloem was given when tasked with clothing a newly built double-storey family home perched high up on the slopes of a mountain on Stonehurst Estate in Cape Town’s Tokai was to create something timeless, practical, homey and comfortable. ‘They just wanted a space that they could enjoy; it had to be a home that was designed for the long-term,’ he says.
What he achieved was right on the money, but in addition to meeting ease-of-use expectations, Hendre also envisioned a home that’s remarkably handsome.
At its heart, it’s a functional dwelling: an open-plan layout downstairs makes way for the owners’ fondness for entertaining; a cunningly compartmentalised kitchen design ensures every spice, pot and coffee grain has its place; cleverly placed oak furniture doubles up as storage space; and a trim lounge and dining room open right onto the solid timber pool decking so that the owners’ three children can dash straight from the living space into crystal waters.
Similarly, a natural, neutral palette with layers of charcoal and an absence of any loud hues that might lose appeal in months give the interior an ageless aesthetic that will no doubt be enduringly attractive. Even the kids’ bedrooms feel like they won’t date – only the top-layer accessories render them teen-friendly and fashion-driven.
And yet, even though it doesn’t embrace of-the-moment trends, the home still somehow radiates with style and modern verve. This certainly has much to do with Hendre’s ambition to ‘create beautiful moments and make every room striking in its own right’.
He’s achieved this in part by filling the space with both his own crisp, clean custom-designed furniture and classic pieces from iconic designers, including Haldane Martin, Tom Dixon and Linteloo. And then there are the materials that make up the home’s bones. The owners are not big collectors of art or memorabilia, so it’s the textures, patterns and furnishings themselves that serve as points of interests.
The beauty is in the metallic sheen of lighting installations and steel staircase rods, the warm glow of wooden floors and timber-clad feature walls, the rough touch of sand-textured paint, the undulating waves of slatted ceilings and the coarse imperfections of concrete edging the hearth.
Not to mention, as Hendre says, ‘the view from the house becomes an artwork too’. The property, which sits hemmed in by natural fynbos, lays claim to a spectacular 270-degree panorama of False Bay and the Constantia Valley. To let this vista in as much as possible, the designer decked the house’s shell with oversized windows and glass stacking doors that also invite in a flood of sunlight. ‘I think the house is sitting right on the legal limit with regards to how much glass was used,’ says Hendre, ‘but with this kind of property, we just had to’.
Sometimes, as Hendre has proved, it’s necessary to go well beyond what’s set out or expected to achieve the sort of balance he has here between practical and beautiful.
CAPTIONS FOR MAIN SLIDER IMAGES: 1. The open-plan kitchen and dining room are ideal for easy entertaining. 2. The four-poster bed and desk in the teenage daughter's room are both custom concepts of Hendre Bloem Design, the gold feature pendant lights are from Weylandts and the royal blue chair is from Haldane Martin. 3. The lounge is given added warmth and comfort with a distressed imported rug, timber-clad walls and cosy couches and armchairs by Dutch designer Linteloo; the duco-sprayed slatted ceiling offers great texture. 4. Hendre Bloem sits against grasscloth wallpaper below a Tom Dixon Etch Web pendant light in the entrance area. 5. The floating solid oak bed in the main bedroom is a Hendre Bloem design, and the breathtaking view that's visible through the window behind is all Mother Nature. 6. This elegant bathroom features Limestone wall paint by Earthcote, a feature Bordeaux armchair and a lovely timber stool from Weylandts.