The ebullient Kim Hutton brings city-slick liberation to a family new build
story Natalie Boruvka photos Angie Lázaro
Despite being contrary in every way, the adjectives conservative and eclectic aptly describe the essence of this house. Even its bold modern aesthetics rooted amidst Constantia’s genteel centuries-old homesteads seem a somewhat deliberate defiance. It goes without saying that what stands now is not the original structure. 'It was a circa 1980s attempt at what was then considered a modern home for newlyweds but where children and family were plainly distant thoughts,' recalls interior designer Kim Hutton. Relishing the scenic surrounds for so many years, the family of five made the decision to stay put, demolish the boxed affair and replace it with a home the layout of which would better suit the needs of their laidback lifestyle.
LEFT Rhythm is an energy vital to every room and can be easily achieved through repetition – you don’t want to be obvious though. Allow for colour to make a subtle reappearance at strategic intervals and repeat shape and form for a pleasing visual momentum across a space. Not every decor element need be immediately noticeable. The turquoise silk inners of the barrel lights are only noticeable when seated: a detail made all the more gorgeous for its element of surprise.
RIGHT Don’t be afraid to think out the box. Consider an alternative to the conventional and you may surprise yourself with eye-catching focal points and arresting details. Kim H’s ‘chain curtain’ is a novel way of defining the living area while maintaining the light, spacious feeling that was such an important part of the brief.
A visual definition of space and light is met across the threshold. As wide as it appears long, the all-white entrance passage contains a suspended staircase, its weightlessness exaggerated by the double-volume expanse of glass that runs alongside. Acting like a transparent canvas, it displays the magnificent spine of the Constantiaberg. Across the way, a melding of an 'informal' formal living and dining area unbundles onto the exterior of veranda, pool and garden. Fortified by cheerful bursts of turquoise and chartreuse, it is an experience of uplifting illumination that not even the greyest Cape winter day could cast a damper on. Working closely with architect Michael Dall at the start, Kim exploited volume and space where possible by specifying oversized doors, generous skirtings and large-format tiles and combining with a selection of bold, over-scaled fixtures and furnishings.
LEFT Very often, outdoor areas are overlooked. Don’t be fooled. They serve as an important intermediary space connecting the garden and home and so should be afforded as much consideration as one would give the interior
living spaces. The veranda showcases items of furniture that either in style or material make for an interesting ensemble. Beautiful suspended lanterns create a visual pause while scatter cushions and a rug complete a setting that could easily reside within an interior. A synergy between outdoor and indoor spaces is essential. Colour is the medium used here, reflecting the hues seen in the adjacent living
and dining space.
MIDDLE & RIGHT Don’t underestimate the canvas that is the wall.
Throughout the home spaces, excel in providing constant engagement without slipping into a barrage of over-stimulation. Most notably in the living and dining area, the magic appears to lie in the layering of arresting elements that complement in unity rather than dominate individually. Separated by a unique Kim H-designed multi-leg wood server given elevation by two lofty table lamps, the dining area recedes into a monumental 15-seater Pierre Cronje table crowned by a silver barrel shade triptych with a solid oak-stained wall concluding the composition. It’s a succession of ingredients that makes for an engaging journey of depth and perspective through balanced intervals of shape, form and weight. Simply put, it’s Kim – who’s a stickler for detail – attentively interpreting the client brief and having some fun. Quirky elements fill the home with surprise and mirth. Achain wall contains one side of the living room, demarcating spatial boundary with visual texture rather than traditional mass. Suspended adjacent, a light fitting that, despite appearing a random placement, was a carefully considered element that bathes a delicate side table in a warm glow with its bright pink inner.
'They are accountants by profession you understand, so despite requiring a fair bit of convincing at times,' Kim quips, 'it was a delight to have clients who were open to a whole host of ideas that they wouldn’t necessarily have thought of on their own but were still in line with what appealed to them.'
LEFT & MIDDLE It is Kim’s personal opinion that no matter what the proportions, the bedroom is a space to showcase and celebrate. Enhancing the effect of five-star hotel suite luxury, is a curious tempering of arresting contrasts as the silver fabric padded wall, mirrored side tables and sumptuous velvet are offset by exposed wooden trusses and an antique cabinet. Fabrics by Home Fabrics
RIGHT Play with contrasts. Something like this classical crystal chandelier accentuates the modern fittings of the enormous bathroom.
It’s in the main bedroom – regarded as the focal area of every Kim H project – that a firm 'show-stopping' policy has been implemented. 'This is the space where the two people who have made all the sacrifices should indulge and as such it must feel like the very best hotel suite they’ve ever stayed at.' Spurred by the words 'Hollywood' and 'glamour', the result is luxury of presidential suite proportions. Responding cheekily to the raw integrity of the soaring timber trusses, an audacious silver fabric panel wall simultaneously screens an enormous bathroom and dressing area while making for a novel headboard. At almost 20 metres, there’s space upfront for two velvet-upholstered daybeds that mom and dad declare ‘an amazing winter afternoon spot to read and hide away from the kids!'