House Tour: Bradley's South Africa Transplanted

House Tour: Bradley's South Africa Transplanted

Jill Slater
May 6, 2009

Name: Bradley
Location: Upper West Side
Size: 800 sqft. 1-bdrm co-op
Years lived in: 9 years


Bradley "feels at home as a foreigner" in New York City. That is why, after moving here five years ago from South Africa, Bradley believes he's here to stay. To compensate for lingering homesickness and South African pride, however, Bradley keeps importing mementos from his country of origin....



When Bradley first arrived in New York, he had just a suitcase of clothes in his possession. Since then, he's built a home for himself on the Upper West Side. Other than the furniture, most of his belongings are from South Africa. That is because, each time Bradley returns to South Africa for a visit, he says he "brings home back with me." Over the years, he's lugged back lamps, photography, home accessories, and chochkes both large and small.

In addition to the artwork, Bradley wanted to continue to push himself to create an environment that went beyond his comfort zone. So, he hired a stylist. She came in, and after interviewing Bradley, decided on all the paint colors for the apartment, as well as the fabric for his couch. These were not choices Bradley would have made on his own but he trusted the stylist and made the changes she suggested. He's very happy with them and is pleasantly surprised by the couch time and again. He just needed that little push and was brave enough to go out and ask for it!

After five good years and a major renovation to expand the kitchen and the main closet of the apartment, close off the extra closet doors and create a solid living room/dining room area, Bradley is moving on. He is trying to sell his apartment but wants to continue living on the Upper West Side. Surely, his next home will yield, again, a wonderful mix of his new home here and his old home back in South Africa.

AT Survey
Style: Mid Century Modern with an eclectic African bent. I love clean lines mixed in with interesting objects and furnishings for color and texture.
Inspiration: Eclectic styling of luxury boutique hotels that started to spring up in South Africa in the mid 90's, mixing hip urban elements with local flavors.
Favorite Element: A few favorites - My Jonathan Adler Markham sofa and constructed lamps by Gregor Jenkin in the living room. (Unfortunately, JA no longer makes that sofa) Having the steel doorframes scraped down to their original base was a messy, expensive experience that was well worth the result.
Biggest Challenge: Designing a decent layout for the living room with a closet door in the middle of the longest wall. So I removed the closet door, closed the wall, and combined it to make a large walk-in closet next to the bedroom. Now the living area makes sense.
What Friends Say: You should be in
Biggest Embarrassment: The knock-off LEM Chairs, which everyone can tell are not the real McCoy.
Proudest DIY: Converting a room divider/bookshelf from West Elm into a dining consol by turning it on its side and screwing metal legs on the bottom.
Biggest Indulgence: My artwork – the William Kentridge lithograph, Michael Subotzky photo, Lolo Veleko photos and Robert Hodgins lithograph which I collected over the years through a great program called Artthrob Editions
Best Advice: I'm so glad that I took my time (a few years) to decorate my apartment. Each trip to South Africa, I brought something back with me, and by the time I felt I was done, I had created the perfect balance of objects from "back home" with items that I'd acquired in New York. I felt like a bird collecting scraps to build a nest.
Dream Source: I don't think I can think of just one - I have a natural inclination to want to collect things from different places and put them together. But if I had an unlimited budget, I'd love to take a clever designer to a hotel in Johannesburg called The Saxon, and say: make my apartment look like this!

Dining Room:
Carol Boyes Salad Bowl
Table from Door Store
Console from West Elm
Lithograph – Robert Hodgins, La Contessa Venamosa

Living Area:
Gregor Jenkin lamps
Club chair, round side tables and coffee tables – Room and Board
Cushions – covered in Kudu hide from Johannesburg
Sofa – Jonathan Adler
Photograph by Michael Subotzky
Lithograph by William Kentridge

Bed – West Elm
Linen – Calvin Klein
Photographs opposite bed by Lolo Veleko
Photos above the bed by Bradley Silver
Sapporo bookshelves from Design Within reach

Steel Frame Mirrors from Room and Board
Shower curtain from West Elm


Images: (Jill Slater)

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