Karen & Gawie’s Artistic Home in South Africa

published Jan 7, 2016
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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Name: Gawie and Karen and their children, Mila and Gabriel
Location: Cape Town City Bowl, South Africa
Size: 600 square meters (6,458 square feet)
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned

Karen and Gawie share their beautiful two-story home with their two teenage children. Nestled on the slopes of Table Mountain, this magnificent home has a lush garden and incredible views across Cape Town to the sea. Architect Wynand Wilsenach designed their house and Karen took care of the decorating. After being a pharmacist for too many years, Karen needed a creative outlet, and this led to ceramics and painting. Her artistic eye and quirky style are evident throughout their warm and inviting home.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Each room is filled with character. You’ll spot unusual artworks and artifacts that have been carefully arranged by Karen. The well thought out interior architecture combined with a relaxed and spacious open plan living area create a wonderful, unique family home.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Our style is a mix of old and new. I don’t stick to a specific look, but rather buy things that speak to me.

Inspiration: I was inspired by the beautiful homes of Belgium and France, but also by the industrial elements of New York lofts. I love different textures and incorporated that into my house: raw brick, pale wood, smooth walls, velvet, and linen.

Favorite Element: I love the feeling of space and light and I love my garden and our view of the harbor.

Biggest Challenge: The bureaucracy of the City Council when we were building.

What Friends Say: Friends love the fact that the house is open and spacious, but still feels warm and welcoming. It also changes constantly.

Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that there is always something that needs to be fixed. Maintenance is a constant.

Proudest DIY: The mosaic in my daughter’s bathroom.

Biggest Indulgence: My beautiful, hard-working Viking stove. It took a while to convince my husband that it was worth the money, but I haven’t had one day’s regret.

Best Advice: Don’t worry about what is trendy at the moment. Rather, buy what you love. If you love everything you put into your house, it will have your signature and will make you happy. And buy the best taps you can afford!

Dream Sources: Pezula Interiors, casamento, Kooperasie Stories, ONSITE Gallery, Tolix, Mercury Fittings


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • The general wall color is Earthcote HEMP.
  • The dark color was specially mixed, and we called it Elmo Grey (Elmo is the name of our builder).
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • Glass chandeliers: custom-made by Anzu, who lives in France for half the year and in Cape Town for the rest
  • Sofa: casamento
  • Leather sofa and chairs: Art Deco set bought 20 years ago at an antique shop in Johannesburg
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • Pendant light: antique shop in Stellenbosch
  • Headboard: casamento
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • Hanging chair: Weylandts
  • Bed: Mila’s great-grandmother’s bed—Karen had it re-upholstered and painted.
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • Mozaic artwork: collaboration by Karen and her sister-in-law, Nancia, inspired by the work of Victoria Verbaan
  • Free standing basin: custom-made
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)


  • Table: made by our builder from old, weathered wood and Singer sewing machine stands
  • Chairs: hope garden furniture
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A floor plan of the ground floor (Image credit: Lana Kenney)

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Thanks, Karen & Gawie!