Text Leigh Robertson Photographs Naashon Zalk Styling Jeanne Botes That Capetonians Carmel Naude and Dawn Dickerson, who joined forces to start HotCocoa Interiors and Design more than a decade ago, share a background in fashion is telling; both have that effortlessly stylish look about them, and the interiors they create are as warm, soulful and full of personality as they are chic. The HotCocoa portfolio covers boutique hotels and restaurants to homes across the Atlantic Seaboard and Southern Suburbs, and beach houses in Paternoster and Plettenberg Bay, and they are currently working on an apartment in London’s West End. What is your design philosophy? We have an overwhelming desire to create something beautiful yet different for each client, while providing a positive, creative experience. We create interiors with warmth, soul and personality. The end result needs to look effortless but underpinning it is our painstaking attention to detail, proportion and finishes, and our ability take creative ideas and make them happen. How would you describe your signature style? Our style evolves with each new project and client, but it is founded on a strong architectural discipline, painstaking attention to detail and focus on quality. We strive to create a balance of texture, clean lines and simplicity for a look that is distinctive and modern. What are some of the key projects you’ve worked on? The Greenhouse Restaurant at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, and the public spaces of the Marine Hotel in Hermanus. Our favourite projects tend to be the ones we’ve most recently completed, like a beach house in Paternoster and two apartments we’ve done in the V&A Marina. That said, it’s hard to pick as they are like children – we love them all. Your top tips to maximise a small space?
- Plan good floor layouts. Work the space until the best layout emerges.
- Paint walls, doors and skirting the same colour – it simplifies the space and calms everything down, allowing you to focus on one or two key features.
- Paint a neutral warm tone of stone grey.
- Use low beds in small bedrooms.
- Make use of fewer elements to create focal points, such as a feature lamp or artwork.
- Use textures rather than strong prints. Layer the textures, take one element to create a focal point and depth in the room, such as a dark textured wallpaper or timber panelling on one or two walls.