Inside a Textured, Plant-Filled Apartment in Cape Town

Blending time-worn antiques, modern design finds and natural greenery, this light-filled Oranjezicht apartment reflects its creative owner's textured style.

Greg Cox
Gemma Bedforth
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Sanet Coetzee’s Oranjezicht home in Cape Town is an exercise in juxtaposition, as seen in the dining room, where modern pieces such as Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck for Kartell come together with vintage finds. The ‘Scarlet Ibis with an Egg’ design on the wall is by Maria Sibylla Merian, which was downloaded from the Rijks Museum app and printed at Smart Art.


‘My house is as much an expression of myself as my style is,’ says Sanet Coetzee, the creative visual merchandiser who calls this Oranjezicht abode home. ‘I think my style is quite eclectic,’ she adds. ‘I like to combine classic with contemporary and a touch of vintage. I like to play with proportions and textures, and I tend to choose elements that contradict each other – making something that would ordinarily seem hard now feel soft.’

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Crystal Bulb pendants by Lee Broom from Créma illuminate a dining table from OnSite Gallery. The antique stool at the head of the table is from  Brocante Society, the faux-fur throw is from Weylandts and the conical flask and wooden plate holding the aloe are from Central.


Indeed, as you move throughout this space, Sanet’s penchant for contrast instantly reveals itself, at once bold yet subtle, earthy yet modern, unfussy yet artfully layered.

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Factory-style French windows echo the cabinet in the dining room.
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Plant life fills the home, adding bright pops of colour and natural texture.



As co-owner of VM Central and Olive Studio, a visual merchandising (VM) consultancy and VM school specialising in workshops, events, retail displays and windows, Sanet designs the visually arresting vignettes found in the windows of some of the country’s best-known retailers. Along with her business partner Rupert Smith, she’s also behind Central, an alluring plant-filled boutique in Cape Town that blends vintage and modern home elements in a curated setting.

ALSO READ: Central is Cape Town's Cool and Inspiring New Decor Store

For Sanet, work and life intertwine, and her home is an outlet for her creativity. ‘VM inspired Central and gave us a platform to express ourselves without the confines of a brief,’ she says. ‘There is no way you can be part of a VM studio and a shop, and not have it influence your space – and vice versa.’

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The kitchen is a contemporary, light-filled space complete with dark cabinetry and floors that contrast with transparent pieces.
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Sanet Coetzee is the co-owner of VM Central and Olive Studio as well as Central design boutique in Cape Town.



Sanet started renting this apartment with her brother following a move from Johannesburg, and subsequently snapped it up when the owners were ready to part ways. ‘We found this Art Deco building and saw the view of Table Mountain – and that was it. We had to have it,’ she says.


Watch a video of Sanet's textured space here:

Complementing the lush surrounds, greenery is a constant theme inside, with plants appearing in every room – from small pots of succulents, air plants and fresh blooms placed atop counters to cascading creepers and leafy ferns.

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More vessels and plants from Central can be found in the study, with its soft Champagne tones and custom-made yellow mirror.


Decor displays that further express Sanet's textured style feature throughout too, and the dining table in the narrow lengthwise kitchen offers a taste of the kind of easy entertaining the owner enjoys most.

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Contemporary terracotta vessels by Wiid Design from Central are paired with brass vintage finds displayed in a glass cabinet from OnSite Gallery.


‘My favourite space is the kitchen-dining area,’ she says. ‘When people visit, they naturally gravitate towards it.’ Here, antiques mingle with modern design finds and a scarlet ibis mural reflects Sanet’s knack for introducing the occasional pop of colour into an otherwise neutral palette.

‘In my dining room, I have copper and cut-glass lights that hang above a concrete table with Perspex chairs on one side and a vintage bench on the other. These are all completely different elements, but they work so well together,’ she says. ‘I wanted the space to feel open and light, taking nature into consideration. I decided to have the dining and kitchen area west facing because the afternoon sun shines through the huge gum trees and lights up the space. It really is quite magical.’

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A Glo-Ball pendant by Jasper Morrison for Flos crowns the guest bedroom, with its antique bed from Artefect and throw from H&M. 
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Adding dimension to the bedroom’s lush, jungle-like atmosphere are scatter cushions from Central and a Swarovski pendant light.



Morning sun also streams into the lounge and bedroom area courtesy of the factory-style glass doors. ‘This is when Oscar and Kyle are happiest – it’s a kitty’s paradise,’ says Sanet of her two cats. Embracing colour and comfort, the layered bedrooms feel utterly serene.

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Artworks by Pierre Carl Vermeulen and Atang Tshikare rest on the main bedroom’s dressing table, above which hangs a round mirror from Wauhaus.


In the master bedroom, tropical wallpaper enhances the sense of being immersed in nature, while also bringing a dose of vibrancy to the space. In these zones, Sanet has carefully combined raw and tactile textures with antiques and plants.

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Aesop toiletries and a curvaceous mirror in the bathroom.


Having been in the design game for many years, Sanet’s textured style has evolved over time. ‘I’ve been in VM most of my life and it is a constantly evolving world. One needs to be up to date with what’s going on, so I am constantly inspired and affected by the style movement,’ she says. Today, she describes her home as ‘visually busy, yet somehow very calm and simple’.

Sanet sums it up in the theme of contrasts that abound in her space: ‘Less is more, unless it’s not – then more is more!’

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An Anglepoise lamp from Gilles de Moyencourt Haute-Antiques sits atop a cabinet bought at an antique shop that was then sprayed with glossy black lacquer.