A Cape Town apartment in need of a complete overhaul was the perfect creative project for an interior designer to work her monochromatic magic.


Who lives here: Kim Smith, an interior designer and the director of furniture and homewares store Weylandts.

Style of home: A one-bedroom loft apartment in Cape Town, South Africa received an industrial-style reno.

Timeline: Kim bought the apartment in early 2017. The project started in May 2017 and all major changes were completed by August that year.

Budget: The cost of the reno was almost half of the purchase price due to essential electrical and plumbing work.

What’s on your bucket list? Ask most people and they’ll say they want to try skydiving,or take a year off to travel. But if you ask Kim Smith, an interior designer and the director of South African furniture and homewares store Weylandts, her answer reveals a loftier ambition, literally.

In early 2017, she set her sights on transforming a top-floor apartment in one of Cape Town’s most sought-after districts. “I was looking for a personal creative project, and an inner-city loft has always been on my bucket list,” says Kim. So she went on the hunt for a renovation-ready space.

When she first saw the apartment, she was won over by its proximity to the city’s most popular cafes and boutiques and its panoramic view of the nearby skyline-grazing mountains. The buzzing location and that breathtaking backdrop became a source of inspiration during the project, but first, Kim needed to make the loft, which is split over three levels at the top of a 10-storey building, more practical to live in.




“I completely gutted the place and sorted out all the levels to make it more user-friendly,” says Kim. “Most of my changes were quite extreme because the previous owners had made some alarming cosmetic additions. I stripped it back to its original form, then added materials that complement the space.” This involved reconfiguring and simplifying the floorplan so each room flows into the next, installing a new kitchen and bathroom, and extending the mezzanine above the bedroom to serve as an intimate sitting area.

With years of interior design experience, Kim had a very clear vision of how her apartment should feel. “I wanted to create a cocoon; private, peaceful and unexpected.” To achieve this, solid walls were installed to replace the old tin sheets that had previously separated the living zones. Cosy nooks were also created with the help of carefully placed furniture to nurture this sense of privacy.

With the layout complete, Kim turned her focus to the colour scheme. Dark stained oak floors, granite benches and cement tiles blend in with the exposed steel structure, and the grey walls create a “moodier, edgier look,” says Kim. “I wanted this space to reflect and play off the location. It’s masculine, bold and simple with an emphasis on great design and comfort.” On paper, the industrial surfaces and neutral palette might seem monastic. But with Kim’s skilfully honed sensitivity to colour, texture and light, her apartment is the epitome of urban sophistication. Take, for example, how the grey palette in the open-plan kitchen and living area beautifully balances the natural light that streams through the balcony’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

“I was very cognisant of the environment and how the interior relates to the exterior, so I opted to use the dark to soften the brightness of the outdoors,” says Kim. And to temper all those heavy, hard-wearing materials, sensual textiles, warm rugs and an abundance of indoor plants decorate every room, which Kim says is essential for adding life to the loft’s masculine architectural style.

Objects and artworks collected locally and while travelling are displayed in vignettes to enhance the nocturnal colour scheme without overwhelming it. “Often, people put everything they like into one project and the result is schizophrenic,” says Kim. Speaking of proportion, size was another factor to consider during the redesign. Large rugs and sofas create more intimate zones within the living spaces, while comfy armchairs in unused corners provide spots to curl up and read a book.

So, how does she feel having ticked this renovation project off her bucket list? “I have no regrets. I love being able to make a place your own,” says Kim. “This is my idea of urban living − a central, stylish and spacious retreat, high above the city.”


Source: Homes To Love