Colorful, Eclectic, Old-School Glamour in Cape Town

updated Apr 30, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft
Post Image
(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Name: Abi James
Location: Bo Kaap — Cape Town, South Africa
Size: 130 square meters (1399 square feet)
Years lived in: Owned 2 years

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Abi’s home is a treasure trove of unique finds collected on travels abroad and sourced lovingly over time. As soon as you step inside, you’re welcomed into a charming haven full of warmth and personality. Abi is an interior designer who works mainly with safari lodges and travels regularly for her work. This explains all the global influences in her intentional interior.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)
1 / 34
Abi’s living room. The Knitted ottoman is from Gonsenhausers. (Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Everything was structurally perfect when Abi moved in, so there wasn’t much work to be done. But she did immediately paint the whole interior white, creating a fresh backdrop for all of her eclectic pieces and artworks. Abi also put in the wood flooring and added the central kitchen island.

The downstairs area is a light-filled, open-plan space that is perfect for entertaining. French doors open out onto a exotic courtyard with Moroccan-style tiles, but it didn’t always look this way! This was the only area that really needed attention; it was originally a muddy mess. Abi removed the few odd paving stones and tiled the area with the striking blue and white tiles.

Get the look → A Mix of Global Influences & Old-School Glamour

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Upstairs you’ll find Abi’s bedroom, bathroom and jewelry studio. Abi also has her own jewelry brand, Soul Design. Abi sources beads and stones from across Africa and has all of her brass pieces custom made in Kenya by hand. The jewelry is then produced here in her small studio.

Ultimately Abi would love to go up another floor and add a roof terrace. But on a shorter term, two Juliette balconies leading out from the upstairs rooms would be lovely. With the amazing city views on offer, I agree!

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Essentially I’m drawn more to a bohemian style with a mix match of pieces, art and a touch of old school glamour.

Inspiration: Abigail Ahern is a brilliant interior designer in London. I have been on one of her courses and follow her blog—she encourages you to go bold and just do it! I’m inspired by the patterns, textures and colours of Morocco, India, Africa and I also love Pinterest!

Favorite Element: My Moroccan tiled courtyard with pink fringed sun umbrella I brought back from my holiday in Bali.

Biggest Challenge: Putting in my wooden floor downstairs was a bit of big deal, moving everything out…Chaos and dust for a week.

What Friends Say: The house has such character and I think it’s always a surprise coming in from the hustle and bustle of town into a quiet boho space probably more in keeping with Morocco than Cape Town!

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Biggest Embarrassment: Buying an ‘n’ and ‘o’ in big metal letters from a flea market in Paris because I couldn’t spell anything else with the letters they were selling. I wanted the letters so badly that I settled for ‘no’ and carted them back on the Eurostar to London and then shipped them over to Cape Town a year later. I did wonder whether a massive ‘no’ seemed a little negative so changed them to ‘oz’ and have them on my stairs. Still not relevant but hey…

Proudest DIY: Shipping my childhood iron bed over from England and fixing it up for a ‘sofa’ style seat with cushions for my courtyard.

Biggest Indulgence: My Moroccan tiled courtyard!

Best Advice: Only buy pieces that you love. It doesn’t matter how it will fit together, you just have to love it.

Dream Sources: Moroccan Warehouse, Weylandts, Malawi Chairs, Gumtree, Kenyan markets for fabrics from across Africa, Block & Chisel for lamps, Nap, Caroline Gibello for photos, Anthopologie for crockery.


Get the look → A Mix of Global Influences & Old-School Glamour

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Thanks, Abi!

Send us your own:

Share your home with Apartment Therapy: House Tour Submission Form

Are you a designer/architect/decorator? Share your residential project: Professional Submission Form.

→ And see all of our past house tours here