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A Curated Home In Cape Town, South Africa

by Lauren Chorpening

An artist’s life’s work is never done. There isn’t usually a point where a designer or painter will step back from a finished project and decide that it has fulfilled them enough to stop creating in the future. It’s the same for these designers in Cape Town, South Africa. Their home is a constantly changing reflection of who they are and where they are as artists.

Diana, object designer and jewelry maker, and Andre James, industrial designer and educator, have made their home into a piece of art. They moved into their Victorian-style home seven years ago and have been recreating it as they go. The home is a mixture of vintage, global and industrial pieces and design that all together feel welcoming and intriguing. “As we see it, decoration is an emergent process where the aesthetic value of the result is inversely proportionate to the effort expended. Our aesthetic is an honest reflection of our history and our lives and the materials used in the building of this house,” Diana says. “The industrial aesthetic underpinning the Victorian era has been reinterpreted in a way that reflects the way that modern South Africans live.”

The couple has curated, redesigned and reworked a house into a collective work of art. Their ability to do so is met with gratitude. “It is difficult to look past the privilege of owning a house. In the words of Ton van Summeren, ‘A house is the ultimate artwork,’ as such we enjoy using this house as a canvas for expression,” Diana says. “The house is an ongoing ‘cowboy’ building project and is constantly changing with our needs.
” The result is a space that is very deliberately styled, arranged and designed for Diana and Andre and by Diana and Andre. —Lauren

Photography by Kovacevic|Bosch Photography

A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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The front room is divided by a fireplace that separates the living room from Diana and Andre's studio space.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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The mix of materials, styles and curated pieces in the living room demonstrate Diana and Andre's unique voices in their fields.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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The contrast between the Victorian-era ceiling and the minimal, industrial pendant fixture is wonderfully unexpected.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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"The cats do whatever they want, whenever they want, which mostly include sleeping, eating and playing with their toys. And the objects observe," says Diana.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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Japanese and African influences are seen throughout the home.
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Their home is literally their showroom called The Object House, where they display Andre's furniture and industrial designs and Diana's handmade objects and pieces. Their home is open by appointment.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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"Collection of South African and Japanese plates hanging on interchangeable wooden picture rails." Andre designed and created the wooden picture rails that are seen throughout the house.
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The kitchen is where the Victorian, mid-century and industrial aesthetics really mix. The industrial walls, exposed ceiling and modern cabinets give the space a deconstructed feel. Andre James and Dennis Hofmeyr designed the cabinets.
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The natural light and collection of objects give the raw space a lived-in feel.
A Curated Home In Capetown, South Africa | Design*Sponge
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The view into the entryway and living room from the dining room.
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"The Kokeshi dolls are part of Audette’s (Andre’s sister) collection. In front is a hand carved Walnut knife by Anne Hodgson," says Diana.
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Every piece in their home is either part of a collection, something vintage, from other local designers, or something for sale from The Object House and their website, including their 1960s-style E.E. Meyer dining sets.
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"Andre spent some of his early childhood years living in Tokyo," says Diana. "These masks are part of the Kabuki mask collection that his mother collected for his bedroom as a child." 
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Diana and Andre make statement walls feel full with added objects that complement the feature, without pulling attention away from it.
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"We are spoiled with a front and back garden, which is quite rare in our neighborhood," says Diana.


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