A Hidden Gem: Jewellery Designer Kirsten Goss At Home
Meet jewellery designer Kirsten Goss at home in Cape Town, where she has given a 1980s bungalow an eclectic update, creating a colourful family space.
Rows of graphic prickly pears, a pair of ceramic watchdogs, a cluster of retro sconces and a glass cabinet brimming with vintage cameras – all before you’ve stepped beyond the lobby. This is the kind of quirk that one has come to expect from the design dynamite behind Kirsten Goss Jewellery. Kirsten admits that she 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 by clearing the garden and shifting the bearing of the house proved to be the making of this home. The ever-changing shades of the slopes now dominate the outlook, and Kirsten and her partner Clive Will chose to contrast this placidness with a sweeping lawn dominated by a circular pool and a series of round beds of waterwise plants.
‘I call it our “crop circle garden”,’ says Kirsten. ‘We wanted our home to be an inside-outside house – so much so that we chose to use artificial turf in the garden so that 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.’
With three children ranging from toddlerhood to their teens to accommodate, the home had to be flexible, but that didn’t mean Kirsten couldn’t have some fun with it. The kitchen features lights that can transform it from a family hub into a colourful strobe light-filled ‘party’ zone at the flick of a switch, and the brightly painted doors reflect Kirsten’s penchant for bold combinations.
‘Every time I fit out a new shop, my house ends up looking like it,’ she says, referring to the ‘disco’ lights that are fitted into the kitchen cabinets and were inspired by her ‘karaoke-look’ store in Cape Town’s Silo District. ‘I love the notion that we’re having a regular family dinner, but have disco lights on too. It’s all about being playful. I’m not afraid of mixing shades, 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.’
As a filmmaker and photographer, Clive has his own conspicuous contributions, and a series of his eye-catching prints as well as objets collected from artists, craftspeople and markets across Africa can be found 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,’ says 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.’
The furniture ranges from antiques to Mid-Century Modern and contemporary items, and the addition of oak parquet floors provided an anchor for the otherwise eclectic aesthetic. ‘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 spaces is both effortless and practical. An expansive lounge forms a link between the family zone and the couple’s bedroom/bathroom, which is again a single area that opens onto the garden.
The children’s rooms can be found off a corridor that lies behind the kitchen. All doors and windows were replaced with oversized bespoke structures made of oak or steel, and porthole and strip windows allow for surprise views. This injects natural light into the home and is indicative of the way Kirsten chose to experiment with shape and scale throughout.
Having previously lived in heritage-style homes, Kirsten’s move to a more austere build provided the opportunity for a new design adventure. Fine art and vintage finds reflect her and Clive’s down-to-earth sensibilities which, when combined with an array of characterful additions, makes for an engaging family home, kitchen disco lights and all.