WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES Dear Heart
Struck by the magnificent mountain-and-ocean setting of this three-level Bakoven bungalow, interior designer Susanne Brodnik, founder of My Place in Cape Town, sought to create a unifying design language and a bright, light, open interior.
“The magnificent setting steered all the important decisions,” says Susanne, who considered the outlook from every corner of the house, most especially the bedrooms and chill-out areas. “The house has amazing views, not only of the sea but the mountains too, which make for a majestic backdrop. When the red sunset tints them in this astonishing red hue, it’s simply breathtaking.”
The brief to Susanne from the property’s well-travelled international owners was for a home away from home. “As a parent myself, I immediately understood when the owners, who have a young son, said to me: ‘We want to arrive at this house and be at home.’ Everything is built around that sentence. I needed to create an easy living, open plan, holiday home; a second home for the owners to unwind and simply relax as soon as they arrive,” she says.
For the predominantly monochrome palette, Susanne was guided by the existing dark slate flooring and the exteriors: “The mountain and the sea already made the house visually so rich, I wanted to support that with a muted colour palette. The play of light and shadow is so special at this property, so I opted for textures rather than colour.” The floor upstairs has been finished in white, reinforcing a light, coastal aesthetic.
“As much as every room has its own identity, everything needs to speak the same design language,” explains Susanne, who used an abundance of indoor plants to offset the graphic black-and-white theme and create a fluid transition from outside to inside, in addition to natural materials and textiles. Brass has been used throughout to bring an elegant warmth.
Following a Scandi-meets-mid-century motif, the furniture is simple, minimalist and functional. Susanne sourced pieces from Hoi P’loy, Vamp, Fabrica and Weylandts, and worked with joiner Niels Korup of Joynt Fabrication + Design on some bespoke pieces, like the beds, which are made from sustainably sourced timber. The electrics and plumbing were also updated in the renovation to be water- and energy-efficient.
As well as redesigning the landscaping to maximise the property – day and night thanks to well-placed night lights in the garden – Susanne ensured there were clear areas for every occupant to live, work and entertain over the house’s three levels without disturbing one another.
“My focus is on the human experience – human interaction in a space and trying to add value to that,” says Susanne of her approach. “Every smell and sound, every ray of light and every colour can influence one’s mood in a profound way.”