New York Inspired Loft

INTERVIEWED BY Michaela Stehr IMAGES Supplied


An old sunlight factory in Joburg received a creative facelift and a plethora of plants to bring the outside in. We chat with creative Tina Kapp about the process of creating a contemporary urban jungle.

What was the inspiration/brief for the space?

It’s an old sunlight factory so with the very industrial structure, old windows and rolling door we wanted to open up the space and create a New York Loft meets Modern African Style Unit while letting as much light and views in as possible. We like industrial design coupled with historic and modern African Art aesthetic and finished with bohemian touches. We used black custom fittings without, from the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms down to light switches and wall plug fittings.

Where is the space?

Frost Street Lofts is an eclectic collection of business units in the front and stylish apartments in the back. Being next to mature trees and the sound of birds in the morning, is one of our favourite things about the place. Walking distance to 44 on Stanley is also a plus! Being part of the old Johannesburg it has a very unique character and creative feel that gives the place a very special energy.

READ MORE: Monochromatic Cape Town Loft

Who was involved?

It was a self-design working with specialised sub-contractors.

What materials were used?

In keeping with the industrial nature of the original building, only natural materials in their most basic form were used, being concrete, steel and wood. The flooring throughout is industrial black concrete, cupboards are simple black stained plywood, decking and wood panelling is thermo treated South African pine and built-in units were made with cold-rolled steel. Iron plumbing pipes are incorporated into the lighting.

What are some stand-out features?

Built-in display and TV unit using cold rolled steel which uses as little space as possible but is a visual feature and hides cables. Custom light fittings using a visible network of powder-coated plumbing iron pipes create a clean, modern industrial look. We redesigned the front end of the unit into a coordinated Kitchen/entrance area. An indoor garden, with a hanging chair, surrounded by a rope wall (we hand-strung ourselves) is one of our favourite spots.

Any local makers/designers used?

Mike Made This is an amazing local craftsman in the East Rand we used for bespoke steel and wood custom units. We have stunning pieces from Weylandts whose aesthetic and quality we love. Rhinowood created our window decking and feature walls. Decobella tiles, Pedersen and Lennard with their beautiful custom-made study desk from their bar design and bar stools. Dark Horse, Iconomy, KLight and Spazio Lighting, local artisans we’d found in Victoria Yards which included handmade pottery, and chairs made in collaboration with basket weavers in Mozambique. David Balam’s photo prints take pride of place in our house with 3 of his pieces featured in Amatuli rustic frames adding beautiful pops of colour and perspective.

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How did you develop a colour scheme?

Monochromatic with splashes of colour in the decor. We wanted to embrace the semi-underground setting of the apartment and enhance its cosiness while also bringing in as much light from the light well and front windows as possible. This inspired the split black and white walls which we feel best bring out the angles and beauty of the structure.

Any obstacles?

Being an old factory meant no straight lines! Crooked walls and slanted flooring meant building straight walls and cabinets needed to be custom-made to fit the spaces. All utilities needed to be pretty much redone from scratch including plumbing and electrical to bring it up to standard.

Any particular movements that inspired the decor and design?

We’re big fans of Amatuli and love incorporating African art and natural textures. We turned large wooden Snake art into lighting on the wall giving it a new life. An old boat that was actually used on the Zambezi now holds beautiful plants in our indoor garden/study.

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