Cape Town City Bowl Loft

WORDS Sam Woulidge PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink

Few people would consider trading an impressive house in a leafy suburb for a warehouse in an industrial area. One couple did.

How did The Wife get The Husband to move out of their home when he was clearly reluctant to leave the life and luxury of that leafy suburb?

She did it slowly, lovingly and with incredible style. The Wife had fallen in love with a three-storey 1 500 m2 inner-city warehouse, originally a wool shed built in 1886. She liked the enormity of it, the original wooden floorboards – beautifully scored by years of use – and cast-iron pillars. She loved that it felt like a sanctuary; that the space was comforting, as if it had taken on all the warming characteristics of the many bales of wool that had once been stored inside it.

For The Wife this was a happy space, and she was determined that The Husband would experience it so as well. She knew he would move. Because their love was strong and years ago they had promised that they would move to the ends of the earth for each other. And this was, after all, only a short distance from where they were living.

The Husband knew The Wife would create a home for them, as she had always done. The children had left the nest, and now it was just the two of them. He was risk-averse, but he trusted her. He did, however, have four conditions The Wife had to meet: 1) He would take charge of security. 2) Their bath and bed had to move with them. 3) The Wife would design him an incredible “happy space“ kitchen. 4) And The Wife would not wedge the television into a cupboard.

All conditions were met and resistance crumbled. The Wife knew The Husband was being pushed out of his comfort zone, so she created a new comfort out of their old treasures. This home would certainly be different, but also reassuringly familiar. She explains, “We have an amazing collection of things that hold great meaning for us both. In this vast space they come into their own. Initially I thought of doing something completely different, something modern and industrial. I battled with myself. Do I stay with the monochromes, the rusted metals? But I realised that I need colour. Colour is life. And our carefully curated belongings are a reflection of us, of what we love. They hold our memories. I couldn’t discard them.”

Luxurious jewel-coloured velvets are juxtaposed with hard industrial metals. Chinese antiques nestle against cast-iron pillars. Steel-and-glass factory partitions reflect coral walls and yellow kitchen cupboards. Ornate gilt antiques and Grandma’s riempie chairs coexist in harmony.

This home is opulent but not pretentious. Everything feels well lived-in. The space is vast, yet there are pockets of intimacy throughout. There is a sophistication, an unaffected velvet glamour that, while unexpected, is not entirely surprising when you know the two people who have made it their home.

And in the end it really didn’t matter where they lived as long as they were together, pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves. And finally agreeing that the TV need not always be hidden away in a cupboard.