A Former Mosaic Artist’s House Gets a Modern Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Former Mosaic Artist’s House Gets a Modern Renovation

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Liesel and Pieter Crafford and their children, Jack and Gabi
Location: Vredehoek — Cape Town, South Africa
Size: 315 square meters
Years lived in: 13 years, owned

Liesel and Pieter fell in love with this house the moment they saw it, although what you see today is very different to how it originally looked. It was once the home to a mosaic artist, and nearly every single wall was a different, vivid color. Liesel and Pieter have plenty of color in their version of this house, along with some more soothing hues, too. But the artist’s impact can still be seen: mosaic work still sparkles in the living room!

The very first update by the couple was changing two toilets and a very cramped bathroom into one larger bathroom with a walk-in shower. Later they did a major renovation by expanding the kitchen and adding the second level, all while living in the house. At the time they had a six-month-old puppy, two kids under six and Pieter frequently traveled for work; so the renovation was an ordeal.

“I will never recommend this to a client! Yet, it was one of the triggers that resulted in a major career change for me from accountancy to interior design, so I will be forever thankful for the experience,” said Liesel.

Liesel now runs a successful interior design business and works from a studio attached to the house. Although Liesel’s projects tend to be more contemporary, their home is peppered with a mix of inherited pieces along with more modern decor, much of which was custom designed by Liesel. The result is a wonderful, warm home with many layers and full of personality.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I believe that it is more important that a space feels right than looks right, so I am drawn to spaces that breathe and have soul. I also love contrast and texture and something surprising — whether it is in the off kilter way a picture is hung or an unexpected punch of color.

Inspiration: As an interior designer I am always inspired by the work of my favorite designers: Ilse Crawford, Patricia Urquiola, Avroko and and and… But inspiration comes from everywhere. I am still influenced by the Waldorf craft my kids made in kindergarten, always inspired by traveling, books, Pinterest, art, history, stories.

Favorite Element: My windows are always open to connect with the surrounding mountains: Table Mountain from the kitchen, Devil’s Peak from the balcony, Lion’s Head from the shower and Signal Hill from the terrace. We love how louvered shutters filter the light, let fresh air in and give you privacy when you need it.

Biggest Challenge: The house is more than a hundred years old so ongoing maintenance is, well, ongoing.

What Friends Say: They are always surprised by the stark contrast of stepping off a noisy City Bowl sidewalk into the quiet and shade of the garden and the pool just on the other side. They love the color and eclectic air and they say the house is me. My husband always says: it’s our home, but Liesel’s house!

Biggest Embarrassment: A travertine bathroom… A rookie mistake of 13 years ago that we are still living with today.

Proudest DIY: Re-purposing my red wings as a chandelier for the passage. I love the way it makes the dusty pink walls glow at night.

Biggest Indulgence: Lights. Striking hanging lights and table lamps with attitude make my heart race.

Best Advice: It’s worth investing in the skin and bones of a house first. A simple sofa can look awesome in a room with beautiful floors, walls and ceilings while the most expensive lounge can look like nothing on a bad floor.


Love sign: I bought it for my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary lunch from Etsy
Hanging light: It hung in Pieter’s parents first house
Peacock wallpaper: Ferm Living

Hanging lamp: Came with the house
Dining table: Weylandts
Riempie chairs: Grandparents
Shutters: American Shutters
Sideboard: Weylandts
Table lamp: (since closed down)
Glassware: Guido van Besouw
Artwork behind glassware: One of Liesel’s art class experiments

Leather sofa: Coricraft
Botanical cushion on sofa: Isobel Sippel
Curtain: Linen strips from Fabric House
Black paint colour: Dulux 30YY10-038
Leather chair: One of two furniture items we moved to Cape Town after 7 years in London
Rattan horse: Present for Jack from Liesel’s sister
Map: Used to hang in a room Liesel shared with her sister when they were little – her mom found it at the back of her Biology lab at school

Sofa: Designed by Liesel and custom made by Patrick’s Upholstery
Dining table: a salvaged garden table
Dining chairs: Chair Crazy
TV unit: Designed by Liesel and custom made by Instyle Creations
Kitchen island & cupboards: Instyle Creations

Chairs: Chair Crazy
Desks: Designed by me and custom made by Instyle Creations

Duvet covers: Cotton On
Feather/butterfly poster: Typo
Beds: Grandparents
Shell hanging garland: Old Biscuit Mill
Hanging lamp: Online buy, it came flat packed
Pink paint colour: Plascon You’re My Sweetie

Wallpaper: Cole & Son
Giant bean bag: Ashanti
Curtain: Ikea fabric
Chair: Chair Crazy

Beds: Grandparents
Garland light: Tord Boontje
Green cupboard: Designed by Liesel custom made by Instyle Creations

Bed: Block & Chisel
Bedside units: Block & Chisel
Rug: Hertex
Tie dye scatter: Heartworks


Cabinet: Instyle Creations
Oval mirror: Designed by Liesel

Thanks, Liesel and Pieter!

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