An ’80s suburban bungalow in Cape Town was given a charming makeover by its owner Kirsten Goss with the use of colour, quirk and a disco ball
Rows of cacti, china dogs, a wacky cluster of retro flush-mounted lights on the wall, and a glass cabinet brimming with vintage cameras – all before you have stepped beyond the lobby. This is the kind of quirkiness that one has come to expect from the design dynamite behind Kirsten Goss Jewellery.
Kirsten admits they took on the transformation of this home with the same out-of-the box intentions as she has when fitting out a new shop.
Capturing views of the Constantiaberg Mountains, clearing the garden and shifting the bearing of the house proved to be the making of the home. The ever-changing shades of the slopes now dominate the outlook, and Kirsten and her film-maker/photographer partner Clive Will chose to contrast this placidness with a sweeping lawn dominated by a sexy circular pool and a series of round beds of water-wise plants.
“I call it our ‘crop circle garden’,” laughs Kirsten. “We wanted it to be an inside-outside house. So much so that we chose to use artificial turf in the garden so it feels like a carpet. At night the lights make it a really dramatic space and our family moves in and out, and we don’t need to worry about the kids getting dirty. It feels like we have another room to use,” she explains.
With children ranging from toddlerhood to their teens the home had to cater to flexible needs, but that didn’t mean they had to scrimp on fun.
The kitchen features light functions that can transform it from a family hub into a strobe and colour-filled ‘party’ zone at the flick of a switch and the near ceiling-height doors in bold colours reflect Kirsten’s weakness for striking combinations.
“Every time I fit out a new shop my house ends up looking like it,” laughs Kirsten referring to the disco and strobe lights that are fitted into the kitchen cabinets and inspired by her ‘karaoke-look’ new store on Cape Town’s Foreshore. “I love the notion that we are having a regular family dinner but have disco lights on too. It’s all about being playful,” she says.
“I’m not afraid of mixing shades together,” she continues, “but you almost have to be deliberate about it to pull it off. I’m not big on decorating. I’m more about throwing something down to see if it works.”
Kirsten’s partner Clive has added his own conspicuous contributions. A series of Clive’s eye-catching prints and his insatiable appetite for objets collected from artists, craftspeople and markets across Africa are curated throughout the home.
“I think we have a penchant for the unexpected, the sometimes unloved and the brave, but we are also big on quality, longevity and comfort,” explains Kirsten of their design choices. “I’d say we lean towards a clean, bold style, but we also get a lot of joy out of eccentric pieces.”
Furniture choices range from antiques, to mid-century modern and contemporary pieces, so the addition of oak parquet floors provided an anchor for the otherwise eclectic vibes.
“The furniture might change as the children grow up, but I loved the idea of having a sophisticated floor that would stand the test of time. It gives the home a great foundation,” says Kirsten.
With an open-plan TV room, dining room and kitchen opening onto the garden the flow of rooms is both effortless and practical. An expansive (and it has to be said, irreverent) lounge forms a link between the family zone and the couple’s bedroom/bathroom – which is again a single zone that opens on to the garden. The children’s rooms can be found off a corridor that lies behind the kitchen.
Kirsten chose to replace all the doors and windows with oversized bespoke pieces made of oak or steel, and porthole and strip windows make for surprise views. This injects a plethora of natural light into the home and is indicative of the way she chose to experiment with shapes and scale throughout the property.
Kirsten has previously lived in heritage-style homes, so the switch to a more austere build provided the opportunity for a new design adventure. Brimming with fine art and vintage finds, Kirsten and Clive’s home reflect their down-to-earth sensibilities and makes for an engaging family home. Kitchen disco lights and all.
Words and photography by: Bureaux