When it came to decorating our South African home, there were a number of points to consider.
Firstly it is a holiday home which we rent out when we are in London. Tenants are strange creatures whom we love and loathe a little all at the same time. It is not their home so leaving personal items such as photographs and such is verboten.
It is also our home and we need to feel that when we stay there, we are surrounded by familiar objects that personify who we are.
Adding to the salad mix are the belongings of my late mother and grandmother. Inherited memories which, sadly, we have had to give some away to charity, always thinking others need them more, and they are serving a good cause. But not all can be given away.
This leads to a compromise of sorts. Some being my mother’s beloved tapestries. Not my favourites but I share loving memories of conversations as she stitched, quite contentedly and had framed at great expense. I had to keep a few. Then there is the Delft, my parents heritage, and mine so Dutch influence remains. I also opted to keep their dining room table, again not a favourite, but too many moments in my life happened around it. So it stays. Lets not even talk about all the copper! Perhaps one day I will let it go …
My London home is harking on French vintage, but here, I wanted to install some African flavour. A few animal skins, horns and fabric with a distinct African twist. Neutral colours in throws and linen, Mozambican bowls carved in wood. The blue of sky mixed with the blue of Delft.
So how to combine these eclectic items into a design that flowed easily, was pleasing to the eye, not too personal and yet personal? Call it African with a European influence.
Drawing inspiration from places such as Babylonstoren and the old farmhouses I discovered in the Free State, the style is minimal, yet functional, and represents both the European linage of our forefathers, my own family and the rich South African decor. The decor tells a story.
Most of our tenants are swallows, coming to South Africa for the summer months, and they are thrilled to find some of their own history infused with South African design.
There are three large cupboards in the garage that holds our personal things. When we stay, the photographs and favourite items are displayed and packed again when we leave.
I like to think that this is our home, but also a place for others to enjoy and see how proud we are of being South African, from European decent. I think my parents, and grandparents would be proud.
Never discard your heritage but blend it in with the new – the eclectic mix works beautifully. Even the tapestries. And all that copper …