A Colorful Organized Bohemian Home in Cape Town

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Name: Lian and Fabien
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 3 years

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The fresh white floors and puddled curtains were the first thing that made me sigh when I stepped into Lian and Fabien’s beautiful home in the City Bowl. Along with its high ceilings and lovely light, this home immediately draws you in.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Lian is a brand strategist and personal style consultant and so creativity is definitely one of her fortes. Their home shows her flair for combining different styles and bringing everything together in a cohesive way.

Vintage pieces, like the armchairs that Lian inherited from her grandmother, sit comfortably alongside patterned Moroccan rugs collected on travels. Artworks and prints bought in Paris during their stay there adorn the walls, all adding to the colorful and creative mix.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Quite a bit of the furniture comes from the Stanford Trading Store as owner and artist Cobus van Niekerk is a close family friend. Cobus assisted Lian with finding those missing pieces and helped them hang their artworks.

When they first moved into the house, they stripped all the old carpets and had to sand the floors by hand as they had been previously over-sanded. Afterwards, they decided to take the plunge and paint the floors white. They left the bedroom and office floors unpainted as they feared they might have the feeling of living inside a fridge!

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Next on their list of to-dos would be to add a fireplace. Lian says, “Yes, we’re dying for a fireplace—which would mean actually furnishing that empty front room. So yes, Project Comfort—install a fireplace and add a couch (and maybe a TV…but we’re still doubtful about that).”

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I’m a bit of a neat-freak, so even though traditional minimalist spaces really appeal to me, I can’t live without lots of color and bits of crazy—so our space ended up being a bit of both.

Inspiration: I love fashion and decor magazines, especially Apartemento—and also films. I remember watching a biopic on the ballerina Anna Pavlova when I was a little girl—she had a pure white apartment with gold accents and it made such a big impression on me.

Favorite Element: The natural light and the view from our living area onto our neighbor’s olive tree.

Biggest Challenge: Our house is quite old—so there is often drab maintenance that has to take precedent over other, more inspiring, home projects.

What Friends Say: “Should we take our shoes off?” The white floor is our nemesis (although actually surprisingly easy to clean) but it can send a high maintenance signal to guests —which we try to counter with my husband’s extra strong mojitos.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Biggest Embarrassment: Painting the outside entrance’s tiles in a black and white checkerboard despite many warnings from the guys at our local hardware store—unfortunately they were right and the paint is not loving Cape Town’s wet winter…

Proudest DIY: Lian: Painting two dark wood chairs that we inherited from my grandmother grey, without ruining the vintage gold velvet.

Fabien: Our raised veggie patch

Biggest Indulgence: Shopping on visits to Paris & fresh flowers

Best Advice: If you like color—never paint your walls a color other than white. White is the perfect backdrop for a home full of colorful decor and art.

Dream Sources: Hunting around flea markets and vintage shops—especially artist Cobus van Niekerk’s Standford Trading Store near Hermanus and Woodstock Vintage here in the city. Morocco is our dream destination for rugs (a necessity when you have white floors); we traveled there just before moving into this house, and would love to go back.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)
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The wooden chair in the entry was a house warming gift from Lian’s grandfather. The rug is from Mr. Price Home. (Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Thanks, Lian & Fabien!

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