Miniature Artist Lorraine Loots’ Incredible Cape Town Home
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Photographed next to small objects to show their scale—matchsticks, earbuds, jelly beans—Lorraine‘s teeny art pieces are detailed delights. What began as a 365-project challenge at the beginning of 2013 (where she crafted a miniature painting with a different theme each day), has turned into a global phenomenon. Her Instagram account boasts over 300 thousand followers who are treated to drawings of animals, landscape scenes, treasured objects and more, all that beckon you to look closer. The home she owns with her husband Mark in Cape Town might not share her artwork’s miniature size… but both her house and her artwork have soft color palettes and warm details that make you feel good.
Mark runs a business that provides admin assistance to anyone in the creative space. And together, this inspiring couple has created a cozy sanctuary for their family of three. But it took them some time to find just the right house to turn into a home.
“We had been hunting for a property to renovate and didn’t want one that had been badly fixed up and then flipped,” Lorraine confesses. When they found the perfect 1890s cottage, previously owned by a woman who had been born in that very home and lived there her entire life, they knew they had found it. Eager to get going, they started the renovations while Lorraine was pregnant. Something she admits that in hindsight, perhaps wasn’t the best idea, warning: “[d]on’t renovate while you’re pregnant!” And to make matters worse, halfway through the project the builder disappeared with the remaining budget. They never heard from him again.
Luckily a more trustworthy builder stepped in, took over, and completed the home you see today. And most importantly, they managed to retain the character of the house while adding their own personality. For example, they went to great lengths to restore the wooden ceilings instead of just giving them a lick of paint. Simply knocking out a wall created their open plan kitchen and living area and removing an outside bathroom made space for a courtyard with an outdoor barbecue and shower. The smartest move, however, was converting one of the bedrooms into a main bathroom, a guest bathroom, and a walk-through wardrobe. Furnished beautifully with carefully chosen pieces and Lorraine’s art, their home is welcoming and warm. “I never want to sell it, that’s all I know,” admits Lorraine. And I can see why.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Kind of minimal, scattered with special pieces from our travels. Sentimental. Cozy. Messy, but happy.
Inspiration: Not sure, it’s quite intuitive. I know what feels right in the moment. We did consult Pinterest a lot when we were initially renovating!
Favorite Element: The Michael Taylor piece above our fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: Making a small space feel spacious and cozy at the same time.
What Friends Say: Q: “Where have you guys BEEN all this time?”
A: At home, on the couch, in front of the fireplace.
Biggest Embarrassment: Trusting someone with all our money! Our builder ran away mid-project.
Proudest DIY: I was banned from the premises because I was a crazy pregnant person at the time, but my husband’s pretty proud of the light fixtures next to the bed that he made by hand.
Biggest Indulgence: The SMEG oven. And having the ceilings restored by hand.
Best Advice: Don’t renovate while you’re pregnant!
Dream Sources: I’m always looking for special pieces whenever/wherever we travel.
Dining Table — Custom made from Iroka wood
Dining Chairs — Houtlander
Bowl on Dining Table — Bought in Turkey on their honeymoon
Lightbulbs — Hoi P’loy
Basin — Salvage yard
Art Above Basin — Katrin Coetzer & Michael Taylor
Blue Dessert Glasses — Gift
Kettle and Various Ceramics — Le Creuset
Oven — Smeg
White Sideboard — Mr Price Home
Sound System — Bang & Olufsen from the ’60s given to them by Lorraine’s dad
Table and Chairs — Hand-me-downs from Mark’s mom
Throw — Joinery
Sofa — Klooftique
Art Above Fireplace — Michael Taylor
Pendant Lamp — Builders Warehouse
TV Unit — Mr Price Home
Rocking Chair — From a second-hand store
Kid’s Table and Chairs — Used to be Lorraine’s when she was a child
Art Above — 2014 Retrospective print of all 365 miniatures painted in 2014 by Lorraine
Cot — Hand-me-down from a friend
Mobile — Etsy
Artwork — All books by Lorraine, Tree by Lorraine, bear by Ashleigh Jane Fisher, Village by Jean de Wet, Mountain peak collage by Anna Bu Kliewer
Owl — A market find
Art Next to Window — Andrew Sutherland
Carpet — Mr Price Home
Drawer Unit — Hyrax
Wooden Kist — From Lorraine’s childhood
Thanks, Lorraine and Mark!
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