Coast to Cape, the team from local business OLALA INTERIORS creates homes for their clients with passion. They tell us about the one-of-a-kind home they brought to life in Clifton.
As a collaborative, the OLALA INTERIORS team is a talented bunch of designers and craftsmen who travel and work all over the world to bring home the best of internationally acclaimed designs and trends. They install complete, unique and exquisite interior projects for high-end clients and deliver gorgeous interiors, including kitchens and cabinetry.
Schane Anderson, Interior Designer, Creative and Founding Partner of OLALA INTERIORS, started the company in Johannesburg in November of 1993. If you do the math, OLALA INTERIORS had just celebrated their 30* birthday this past November! Schané scouted KwaZulu-Natal for a few months before deciding to relocate to Ballito in 2009. She looked for development, growth and future project possibilities, and Ballito looked promising. The business has grown from strength to strength offering a full decorating and design consultancy, a manufacturing arm and installations all over the country as well as outside our borders.
If you mix an exclusive Cape Town property, an open brief and a trusting client with an eye for designer pieces, the end result is a decorator’s dream project. This was a client-centred project – as are all of OLALA INTERIORS’ designs. “In our first project completed for this client, I designed and made a deep midnight blue buttoned couch,” says Schane. “The client loved it then and still loves it now. That cemented his favourite interior colour scheme: black with saturated blues, deep sapphires, cobalt and navy.”
This home project actually came about unexpectedly! With the trucks loaded to decorate another house for her client, Schané and her team were informed of a change of plan: the house they were primed to furnish had been sold, and in its place was an exclusive Clifton property, designed by Jane Visser of Visser Architects. The brief from the client was simple: surprise me.
Schané had to go back to the drawing board. “A toned down yet alluring modern industrial style was redesigned into a layered and more glamorous look and feel,” she says. In the end, it took her a matter of weeks to turn the project around, to travel to find exclusive designer pieces, to hunt for fabulous art, and for the team at the OLALA INTERIORS factory to make the custom-designed cabinetry. To pull off a project of this magnitude is testament to the relationships Schané fosters with her clients. The brief may have taken her by surprise, but the trust in and success of the execution is a result of her knowing her client’s preferences and building good lines of communication.
Schané has two loves: black and velvet. “So, now I have a client who loves black, adores velvet, travels extensively, has an amazing eye for design, and fell in love with this gracious home and its unobstructed views over Clifton and Camps Bay!” This could fairly be classified as a dream job.
Four storeys, five bedrooms, 3.9 metre-high ceilings, bare white walls and panoramic views from the Twelve Apostles to Clifton’s beaches – this was the blank canvas that Schané had to work with. The views, seen through tall sash windows, are framed in lush black velvet drapes. The home’s magnificent proportions, which allow for expressive decorating with volumes of epic wall space for beautiful, imported wallpape and local art, are the work of architect Jane Visser. “The brief by the previous owners was to make the most of the Twelve Apostles view and to build in the kind of Edwardian architectural style inspired by original Clifton houses,” says Jane. “We studied the architecture of other Edwardian buildings in coastal suburbs like Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay and St James to come up with a believable architectural style.”
The challenge was the plot itself. “The site is steeply sloping and shaped like a kite. Onto this, we had to position a highly symmetrical classical building, maximising views and the north sun. This was a difficult puzzle to resolve,” Jane says. “I think it’s an achievement that we shoehorned a design that should really be in a much bigger garden. I’m also proud of the way we’ve hidden the modern construction of the building so that it appears authentic to the style.”
The slightly exaggerated Edwardian proportions make the house feel grand despite its awkwardly shaped grounds. The high ceilings, for example, have a void above them for the air-conditioning ducts, with a vent detail between the double cornices designed by Jane’s team, the scale of which also corrects the proportions.
In addition to being a family home, the house is also used as a corporate and entertainment venue for business clients, hence the importance and expense placed on reception and entertainment areas as well as the fairly masculine guest suites.
By combining bold blues and black hues with gold trimmings and vibrant artwork, the OLALA INTERIORS team has created a luxurious family home that ticks all the boxes.
Words by OLALA INTERIORS
Photos by Grant Pitcher