Volume 8 (Create) – Autumn 2023

House tour

Two interior designers join forces to elevate a barn-style home in the Val De Vie estate, creating something out of the ordinary in the process

Words by Justine Stafford, Photography by Greg Cox, Styling by Sanri Pienaar

When her husband proposed moving out of their chic Cape Town apartment to build a new house in Paarl, Claire Oosthuysen was not convinced. ‘I didn’t want to leave the city that I love’, Claire says. One global pandemic, a national lockdown and two children later, she can’t imagine living anywhere else. ‘It’s the ideal place to bring up kids’, Claire says of the Val De Vie luxury residential estate where she and Paul have built an expansive four-bedroom, barn-style home complete with swimming pool and a large garden that backs on to a forest greenbelt. The only problem? Although an accomplished designer in her own right, when it came to the interiors of her own home, Claire felt stuck. ‘I prefer working collaboratively and, as a busy mom of toddlers, I needed help.’  

Enter Anette De Jager of 360 Design. Although the pair had never met, Claire followed Anette on Instagram and felt she would evolve the Oosthuysen’s home into the cohesive family enclave it is today. ‘Anette elevated my vision to the next level, challenging me with out-of-the-ordinary choices’, Claire says.  

A key feature of the double volume dining room (see opening image) is The Formakami Pendant JH5 lantern by &Tradition from Créma Design. The Beni MRirt rug from Morocco is from Herringbone; the oak table is from Lemon; the Ikebana vessel is from Vorster & Braye.

‘I understand why Claire felt challenged by her own home’, Anette says. ‘Working in this trade, and having so many choices close at hand, can make it difficult for interior designers to be their own clients.’ Especially if said interior designer is committed to living in the space long term. ‘We fell in love with this area so have invested our hearts and souls into our house because we don’t believe we will ever move’, says Claire. 

In today’s fickle world, that kind of lifelong commitment is enviable but can also be anxiety provoking. That’s why, despite specifying all the fixed features like floors, tiles and joinery herself, Claire put off buying new furniture before moving into their 448m2 new build. ‘I didn’t want to make rushed, regret purchases. Instead, we chose to first live in the space to get a feel of the flow while also bringing someone in who could help guide our decor choices.’ 

Vintage style tulip chairs from Ride A White Swan inject a shot of colour and character into the otherwise monochromatic patio room palette. Fixed finishes like flooring and joinery were all specified by homeowner Claire Oosthuysen, an accomplished interior designer in her own right. Here, a marble-clad braai and pizza oven create a stylish, but highly functional, heart of the home.   

Choosing Anette to be their someone felt like a creative meeting of minds. ‘She just gets me. We speak the same language’, Claire says. And although having a client trained in the same discipline could feel intimidating, it was anything but, says Anette. ‘Claire gave me creative carte blanche over the whole project. That level of trust from a client is rare but makes all the difference. I think it is clearly evident from the end result how much I enjoyed sourcing special pieces that bring her stylish, but happy, home to life.’   

It is, indeed. Thanks to Anette’s careful curation, every room artfully introduces multiple layers of interest via an array of rare vintage treasures mixed with artisanal crafts and designer jewels. Like the magnificent hand-tufted Beni M’Rirt rug from Morocco which, Claire admits, she would never have thought to buy for herself. ‘The minute Anette placed it in the dining room, I realised it was a perfect fit.’  

Similarly, Anette suggested replacing the existing woven lamp shade that used to hang above the dining room table with the more unorthodox, but infinitely more interesting, Formakami Pendant JH5 lantern by &Tradition. ‘Instead of being overwhelmed by the double volume roof structure, the light suddenly did the space justice. This design is not something you see every day so it became a signature feature in the room that still feels aligned with the simple elegance of the home.’ 

ABOVE In the main bedroom, a hand-knotted, distressed Persian rug from Herringbone lies atop oak Oggie floorboards. The vintage chair is from The New Modernist; the framed art print is from Lemon.

LEFT Paul and Claire’s main en-suite bathroom is a spa-like sanctuary with sanware by Vado, KitKat wall tiles from Akashic and terrazzo floor tiles from Lovric Dittberner.

For a family that loves to cook and entertain, the utilitarian patio room, that flows seamlessly out into the garden and pool beyond, was always going to be an important zone to get right. ‘They needed it to be functional but Claire still wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing’, Anette says. With this in mind, warm woods and natural textures work well to offset practical finishes like the terrazzo-tiled floor and sleek, marble-clad braai and pizza oven. ‘I love mixing things up by sourcing interesting pieces that tell a story’, Anette says of the Italian-made, electric blue Tulip chairs that she happened to find at one of her favourite vintage stores in Cape Town. ‘I knew they would inject a shot of colour and character into the otherwise monochromatic patio room palette.’  

In the children’s playroom, the bespoke ash cabinet and bench seat are from Hoop; the Beach House Wallpaper in Kelp Forest is by Lemon; the Flowerpot Pendant by &Tradition is from Créma Design. Two painted vintage chairs sit before a bespoke ash children’s desk from Hoop.

With two busy kids and baby number three on the way, one of Claire’s favourite spaces is the children’s playroom. Gifted to the children by their grandparents, the room is built across a courtyard from the main house and is thoughtfully laid out to encourage little feet to happily trot between the safe haven inside to the veggie patch and fruit orchard outside. ‘Playrooms can become messy junk zones but this one draws us into it’, Claire says, crediting Anette’s use of exuberant colour and playful mix of pattern in making this an inviting space that the whole family can enjoy.  

Ultimately, the appreciation of her clients is what makes her work so rewarding, Anette says. ‘It’s great to work with someone like Claire who is willing to push boundaries and do things a little bit differently. For her, and her family, to then truly love what I create for them is the ultimate compliment.’    360design.co.za  @anette360design 

The house opens up onto an elevated pool which backs on to a forest greenbelt in the estate. The Tom Side Table is from Pezula; the throw is from Mungo. Leading out from the playroom and into the vegetable garden sits a vintage patio set from Haut Antiques.

Purchase Volume 8 (Create) for more colourful home inspiration >