A South African Home Is Filled With Color and Personality

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A living room with tiled floors and blue furniture
Credit: Robyn Milne
This is the view as you enter through the front door. Welcome!

Name: Robyn Milne
Location: Zeerust, North West Province, South Africa
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 650 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

Credit: Robyn Milne
My wine rack is an old wooden wine crate that I found at a secondhand shop. The bar stools are also secondhand and I just reupholstered them with some funky world map fabric my grandmother gifted me.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live on my own in this two-bedroom apartment, but I have filled it with lots of color and personality so I never feel lonely when I’m at home!

Credit: Robyn Milne
My uncle made this sideboard for me and my mom painted it and added the mismatched door handles. The pig painting is by my mom. I have been wanting to "steal" it from my parents' house for years so I am so glad it finally made its way to me!

I am a recently graduated veterinarian and am currently doing my community service year in Zeerust, a tiny town in the North West Province of South Africa. Since I grew up in Cape Town, I am a long way from home, but decorating my house with things that make me happy has made this experience so much more enjoyable. I love that I can point to anything in my house and I know exactly where I got it, who I got it from, or what the interesting story is behind it. Many of the pieces in my home come from my parents’ old house (and the one I grew up in) as they are in the process of moving to a new house. Over the years I would throw hints like, “Oh, I love this couch!” or, “This picture would look so good in my kitchen!” and eventually many of these items made their way to my home.

Credit: Robyn Milne
This is my bedroom. My mom made the crocheted blanket at the foot of my bed for my thirtieth birthday and I absolutely love the colors! The poster above the bed was another secondhand find — I got it for R50 (about $3) at a vintage and antique market in Pretoria. The cushions on my bed are all homemade — some by me, some by my mom, and one by a friend. The man and woman watercolor paintings on either side of my bed were done by my mom and are probably my favorite pieces of art I own.

My mother is an artist and my grandfather (oupa) was a woodwork teacher, so the majority of the paintings in my home were done by my mom and many of the wooden pieces of furniture were made by my oupa. I have also made a few of the pieces myself and I love buying secondhand things and modifying them a bit to fit in with my style. Walking into a colorful home at the end of a long day always puts a smile on my face, so I never shy away from bright colors or bold patterns.

Credit: Robyn Milne
This is my spare bedroom/music room/study. I played piano throughout my school career but haven't played since. I recently treated myself to a keyboard so I am very excited to get back into it. The desk was made by my grandfather and is one of my most treasured possessions.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, bohemian, fun, secondhand, personal

Credit: Robyn Milne
The jug I am currently using as a vase I painted a few weeks ago at a Clay Cafe event I attended with my boyfriend. It was a lot more difficult than I expected, but I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The blue throw over the back of the couch is an authentic kikoi that my Kenyan friend gifted me years ago.

What is your favorite room and why? My living room, mainly because I spend the most of my relaxation time there. I also like to think back on the evolution of the room: it started with only the coffee table and blue-and-green couch (from my parents’ house, that I have wanted for years!). I then bought the two armchairs, then added the rug and other accessories, and just last week I added the old telephone bench. One of my favorite things to do at home (besides cook) is to sit on my couch, look across the room at my blue sideboard, and just enjoy looking at all the items I’ve curated on it; I am also constantly switching these up depending on my mood.

Credit: Robyn Milne
This is the old telephone bench I bought for R200 (about $12) at a secondhand shop last week. I am on the lookout for a vintage telephone to replace the plant.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My latest addition is the old telephone bench that I found for R200 (about $12) at a secondhand shop. I saw it as soon as I walked into the shop and immediately fell in love with it. I’ve never seen a bench like it before and had no idea what it was until I had it in my house and sent my mom a photo of it; she then told me that you used to sit on the seat and use the telephone that would be resting on the shelf and you’d store your telephone book in the drawer.

Credit: Robyn Milne
My coffee station is one of my favorite things in my flat. This dresser was in my bedroom growing up and it now houses my cutlery, tablecloths, and some pretty cups and saucers. I (clearly) collect fridge magnets — there are some that were gifted to me, some I bought while traveling, and others I just love the design of.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Do what makes you happy! When you walk through the door after a long day at work, your home should put a smile on your face. I spend hours looking at photos and videos of house tours and save pictures of everything I like. I currently have over 1000 saved pictures on my computer! At least once a week I go through some of them and get new ideas and inspiration for things I can do in my own home. Just have fun with it!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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