Text Glynis Horning Photographs Clinton Friedman Styling HL Decor KwaZulu-Natal-based Michele has been creating her signature understatedly glamorous interiors for the past 10 years in SA, the UK and the USA. She moved from Johannesburg to Zimbali in 2008, opening offices in Ballito and creating her own laidback contemporary home of wood and stone. ‘I’m inspired by natural organic elements and I love laid back home-grown South African style,’ she says. What is your design philosophy? Truly understand the lifestyle and desires of your clients – it’s as simple and complex as that, and applies whether I’m helping to design existing spaces, or working with a new building, conceptualising the project from start to finish. How would you describe your signature style? Classic contemporary – I love a natural palette, a mix of old and new, and the use of layering and texture with a touch of glamour. Some of the key projects you’ve worked on? A beautiful old Durban classic home on the Berea, which I worked on with Jay & Nel Architects. My client was incredibly brave and fun to work with, she trusted me implicitly, so we achieved a truly amazing 100 per cent rework - contemporary yet keeping an old family feel. A sensational Zimbali beachfront home blending sea and sand with a little designer savvy. And a revamp of an old Saxonwold, Johannesburg, home for the owners of the Zimbali property. This was their primary residence so their needs were different, but I loved the challenge of revamping it and giving them a new twist to their city lifestyle. Your top tips to maximise a small space?
- Mirrors are magic
- Less is more
- Opt for bolder and bigger pieces rather than lots of smalls that clutter and cut space.