Go bold – no-one remembers the grey wall,” advises Laura whose affinity for colour is palpable in her Constantia home in Cape Town, South Africa, which brims with soul. Here, where pattern is revered and tradition respected, rooms spill over with an eclectic and hearty aesthetic.
It was on a 2021 holiday that she and her husband Nic half-heartedly viewed a property in a bucolic corner of Constantia and discovered the home they would leave England for. The six-bedroom abode with its large garden and peaceful aura was the epitome of wholesome family living and would serve as a happy base from which to raise their three young boys – Lucas, Alfie and Rafferty.
Who lives here?
Laura, founder of The Little Haus, a handcrafted lamps business, her husband Nic, who works for a surf brand, and their children Lucas, 9, Alfie, 6, and Rafferty, 3; plus Marnie, the cavapoo.
Best decorating decision? Laura: “Renovating the kitchen. We opened the space up … and anchored it with a massive island that we love coming together around as a family when we cook.”
Kitchen must-haves? “I couldn’t live without my Thermomix.”
Any lighting tips? “I love using lamps in a kitchen to soften the overhead lighting. Just one lamp can make the difference between the kitchen feeling like an ice rink or a warm and welcoming space.”
“You could see that it held amazing memories; all it needed was aligning to my own style,” she recalls. And by that, she means a profusion of traditional patterned textiles and lashings of colour, which make for a spirited marriage. In addition, Laura opted for built-in joinery with decorative profiles, updating the bathrooms and kitchen and generally injecting her trademark soulfulness into the interior. This is a home that embraces you from the get-go, dialling up on comfort, personality and whimsy and nodding to Laura’s British heritage. “Were it not for my husband’s reservations, I’d happily go for top-to-toe chintz,” she quips.
A walk through her home reveals sun-drenched yellow, soft pink, air force blue and apple green. Smuggled over in her shipping container among upholstered antiques, sumptuous sofas and beloved fabrics was a stash of paint tins from the likes of specialists Edward Bulmer and Farrow & Ball. These, she supplemented with bespoke paints from a local paintsmith.
With its gorgeous combination of patterns and colours, the kitchen is a perfect example of Laura’s style. Her tip for getting the look is to make bold choices. “I find that the less things match, the more exciting and visually engaging a space is. Create cohesion with the subtle repetition of a unifying element like colour,” says Laura.
We love… upcycling.
“I always have my eye out for a good buy … I recognise the potential for something to take on a new lease of life with a bit of creativity and TLC,” says Laura, who upscaled the kitchen’s existing chandelier with shades from The Little Haus, thelittlehaus.co.za. Visit lawsons.com.au and dirtyjanes.com for potential pieces to restyle and refresh.
The artworks hanging above the bench seat near the window are a mix of works inherited by Laura from her grandmother and prints found at markets and reframed.
Flanked by the kitchen on one side and the deep, covered verandah on the other, this axis is a lung for family living, where kids run back and forth from the pool and friends gather for meals on the long verandah.
Living room and library
In the living room, Edward Bulmer Invisible Green enlivens the walls and bookshelf. Here, Laura’s treasured skirted sofa – covered in Linwood’s ‘Ashfield’ linen – is paired with a set of Malawi cane tables, resulting in a look that’s unassuming and rich with personality. One of her most cherished pieces of furniture – an antique library chair – reupholstered in a vivacious yellow linen, gets progressively better with age.
“I am obsessed with green so much so that I have to stop myself from painting everything in various shades of it … I love how it brings the lush vibrancy of the garden into the house.”Laura
On the ground floor, the main bedroom surveys the lush garden. Over the wall, a verdant greenbelt appears to creep in, the landscaping on their side cleverly blurring the boundary between the two. “It feels like our very own private wine farm,” says Laura. Having come from the countryside in England, the family has succeeded in maintaining a connection to nature.
Guest bedroom and bathroom
Traditional English wall and table lamps feature throughout the home, most of them handcrafted by The Little Haus, Laura’s lampshade business. Some marbled, others carefully pleated with vibrant prints and edged with bold colour trims, each one injects a little magic into the space it inhabits, echoing her brand motto of “sparking little moments of joy”.
Alfie’s bedroom and bathroom
“I had such fun playing with pattern and colour in each of my sons’ bedrooms. When I found this gorgeous red-and-white gingham, I just knew I had to paint the walls a shade of green,” says Laura of Alfie’s bedroom.
“Our home has all the space we need for three busy boys and visiting family and friends. I sensed a happy environment the moment I set foot in it and knew we would make lasting memories as a family,” says Laura.
“I used a lot of rattan pieces to put an earthy, African spin on my traditional English style,” says Laura. “We use the verandah throughout the year as a family and when we entertain.”
Booking details: The home is available for holiday stays twice a year. See Villa Badgemore on Cape Concierge, capeconcierge.co.za.SOURCE BOOK