Cape interior designer Cheryl Herweg turned a dated beachfront duplex into a stylish pied-à-terre in Mouille Point.
We’ve bought an apartment. Pick up the keys from the estate agent and please renovate and decorate it. We don’t need to see anything until it’s done.” These were the instructions Cape Town interior designer Cheryl Herweg received from her clients. “I had already worked on their home in Durban and another apartment of theirs so I knew their style well and they trusted me to give them what they wanted.”
After picking up the keys, she discovered bland dated spaces with poor finishes. “The apartment was like a tunnel with no windows on the side walls and it was very open plan,” Cheryl recalls. On the plus side the apartment faced the ocean with wonderful views of the comings and goings in Table Bay. In addition, being a duplex, the upper level with entrance, living, dining and cooking areas was quite separate from the lower level, which is reserved for the private spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
My aim was to create a sense of depth and space with contrasting tones and layering,” Cheryl explains. But first all the finishes had to be replaced. The carpets were lifted and replaced with oak flooring. As the ceiling is concrete, bulkheads were installed in order to update the lighting. These accommodate new downlights and the air-conditioning ducting. The walls were embellished with moulding, which in some cases provides a frame for wallpaper panels.
“The entrance was very dark and the stairwell was rather gloomy,” says Cheryl, “but the empty wall on the side of the stairs presented the perfect opportunity to ‘open’ up the upper floor.” The entire wall was mirrored but instead of solid sheets, Cheryl framed sections of mirror with moulding. She BEFORE
defined the living and dining areas with new built-in storage including a work station and media unit in the
living room. These were either given a natural wood finish or painted in deep rich shades. New white kitchen cabinetry offset with pale countertops
and a glass splashback reflects light into the dark kitchen.
All the furniture was made especially for the apartment. “I don’t shop for furniture ‒ everything is custom designed and manufactured to suit each project,” Cheryl explains. She decorated each bedroom with a different fresh colour scheme and included dressing tables and sitting areas where possible. The result is luxurious spaces for the clients, their visiting children and grandchildren.
Her attention to detail includes making sure that there are no costly surprises. Cheryl plans and costs everything from the position and number of plug points to the skirtings, cornices and joinery well in advance so the clients know whether any improvements are within their budget. She also knows where to spend and where to save. For instance, the upholstered leather dining chairs were a big expense, but the stylish crockery was purchased from a chain store. “I bought it not because it was inexpensive, but because it was interesting and just the right colour for the decor,” she reveals.
“When the owner first walked into the apartment she was overjoyed,” recalls Cheryl. And who could blame her? From dark and dingy it’s now filled with light and colour, each carefully thought out space is comfortable and stylish and it has the airiness and sophistication of a
classical seaside villa.