WORDS Tracy Greenwood PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink
A compact semi in Tamboerskloof is a stylish reflection of the owners’ Parisian sensibilities.
Not so in the case of the intricate art-works created by Swiss-born artist Thomas Boog, a great number of which adorn the walls of the holiday home he and his wife, renowned French stylist Elizabeth Leriche, bought in Cape Town three years ago.
Thomas has been fascinated by seashells since he was a child. They are, he says, one of nature’s gifts, a noble raw material that cannot be appreciated in the murky depths of the sea and that he brings to life with lacquer and polish before arranging them in artful displays.
Thomas’s work in found objects from the sea is in evidence all over the Tamboerskloof home: in the coral branch chandelier in the living room, in the sea fern artwork on an ochre background, in the large mirror inlaid with mother-of-pearl discs above the fireplace in the dining area. Then there are the meticulously detailed cornices in the master bathroom and the razor-clam-framed circular mirror in the lounge. (Thomas, Elizabeth and their two sons picked up the clams on a beach in Normandy while on holiday, making this piece a real family affair.)
Buying a home in Cape Town was also a family affair, and Thomas and Elizabeth’s sons Eliott (19) and Nelson (13) were very much a part of the process. As it turns out, the family fell in love with the first property they viewed: a picture-perfect slice of Victoriana on the slopes of the mountain in Tamboerskloof.
“South Africa is such a creative place; there is change afoot, it’s dynamic and the art is fantastic. South Africa is filled with good taste,” says Thomas, “and that is something you don’t find everywhere.
“The decision to live in the City Bowl was a conscious one, as we wanted an urban pad, not a beach house.”
A short walk from the nightclubs, restaurants, art galleries and cafés that line the city streets, their slender semi is located in a serene suburban road that feels a lot further from the buzz than it actually is.
In a nod to Elizabeth’s love of all shades of turquoise and teal, intricately detailed Moroccan tiles were imported – via Antwerp, no less – to create the striking kitchen floor, and whitewashed solid oak flooring is on order for the rest of the house as a replacement for worn Oregon pine slats that have seen better days.
The family loved the architectural style of the house on sight and elected not to make wholesale alterations, but rather to restore and improve upon the original features. After a wall was knocked out to connect the tiny living room to the dining room and an open-plan kitchen was created, an initially claustrophobic arrangement has been transformed into a light-filled space, the perfect pied-à-terre for these citizens of the world.