Through a quiet elegance, decorator Sumari Krige celebrates the interiors of this Cape Town heritage home.
TEXT PIET SMEDY PHOTOGRAPHS ELSA YOUNG
There is a feeling in this home of being transported to a bygone era; a quieter, more charming time,’ says La Grange founder Sumari Krige, who oversaw the interiors of this heritage home in Cape Town’s leafy Fresnaye neighbourhood. ‘It’s the perfect, compact home; not excessively spacious and impersonal but also not small and stuffy – it’s a case of everything in its right place.’ With views of both the city lights and the ocean, the home is perfectly located just on the outskirts of the bustling City Bowl without taking on the dubious title of suburban. ‘I’d been travelling between Cape Town and London for years and always had this idea in the back of my mind that one day I’d buy a house in the city,’ says homeowner Tom Fox. So, on one such visit, Tom decided to get the lay of the land and set up a day of viewings, only to fall for this one, the first he was shown. ‘The property is over a hundred years old, constructed out of sandstone with a flowing, open-plan layout inside,’ he says. ‘I had always assumed my Cape Town home would be ultramodern, filled with glass and concrete, but instead I found this one said more about what living in a seaside city is like.’ What Tom was looking for was an interior that didn’t feel uptight in any way, but rather had a sense of understated luxury that made it feel carefully selected rather than overdecorated. ‘I wanted the interior to pull back from that hard-edged, modern style to something more subtle – touches of timeless design that blend African and European influences,’ he says. Having heard about Sumari from a friend, Tom quickly began researching his possible future decorator, only to once again fall in love – this time with La Grange Interiors’ brand of effortless, barefoot luxury. He made the call and Sumari was on board. ‘We always decorate with lots of layers. I feel it creates depth and a feeling of abundance,’ says Sumari, who approached the project with careful consideration. ‘From the outset, we knew that we had to let the architectural details, high ceilings and beautiful arches shine. Instead of trying to overpower them, we used this approach to champion them.’ For Sumari, achieving her goal would require a mix of classic sensibilities with just the right amount of modern insouciance. Cue a profusion of graphic prints, balanced by a calming palette of blues and greys. Materials were kept natural and simple, almost hand crafted. Mirrors were used extensively to reflect light throughout the house, amplifying the feeling of openness and space. ‘Preserving the past and respecting the character of the house was imperative. For us, it was about creating a contrast to highlight the beautifully old with a sense of bold freshness, which was then softened with texture and pattern. But, most of all, it was about creating comfort.’ Well, Sumari, mission accomplished. La Grange Interiors