Ready the station
Kim H gives us an exclusive first look at his latest development project
production colin o’mara davis photographs gunther gräter
‘I’ve always wanted to live in a fire station,’ says Kim Hutton of Kim H Interior Design. ‘It just never made sense to do only one.’ So, as is the case with all good stories, kismet eventually struck: a sizeable property in Rosebank became available and buyers were tripping over themselves to relieve Kim of his then Parkhurst abode. ‘Of course, I couldn’t say no!’ he laughs. The stand would comfortably accommodate five units, thus providing the ideal opportunity for Kim’s off-shoot property-development agency to haul in the earth-moving equipment and construct a block of luxurious, upmarket apartments that aren’t short on space. ‘It’s ridiculous in terms of proportions,’ he gestures, and it’s no exaggeration – each of the units are pieced together from floating mezzanine levels, lofted walkways and cascading galleries, offering the faintest nod to MC Escher’s mind-bending graphic work.
Above: The Gallery study and lounge is the ideal retreat. Kim had a custom-banded carpet joined and installed to echo the prevalent scheme. Charles Eames lounge chair with footrest in white leather by @home living space. Standing lamp by Spazio. Top Tip: A big trend in décor is to group your pictures in a grid on the wall. Kim has even included the TV and a wall-mounted clock, a clever way of incorporating art and appliances
Thorsten Deckler and Anne Graupner of 26’10 South Architects are well versed in South Africa’s changing urban landscape and, as such, took up the reins on the architecture side, masterfully juggling voluminous proportions and ingenious spatial arrangements to craft these inspiring structures. Entering Kim’s unit, the complex interplay between interior and exterior spaces construes a convivial main lounge and dining kitchen.
Top left: Kim commissioned a large-scale replica of Jan Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring to complement his eclectic traditional and trendy décor. Top right: Kitchen work surfaces by Apollo Interiors. Appliances by Siemens. Leather dining table by Kim H. Chairs by Peter JA Stuart. Bottom left: The main living area displays the many antiques that Kim has collected over the years. Rug by Paco. Coffee table by Weylandts. Bottom right: Framed work by Pierre Croquet. Custom wall cladding by Valchromat.
Interior walls painted in black and putty make the built structures disappear from view, promoting a sense of informal verandaliving while underscoring the perception that the overhead levels appear to float. Tell-tale idiosyncrasies like painted face-brick detail on boundary walls and placards signifying water closets, first aid and fire escapes further impress the notion of a converted fire station.
Above left: Sanitaryware by Infi nity Bathrooms.Right: The main bedroom is an impressive retreat replete with luxurious amenities. Bed and linen from Loads of Living. Soundproof curtains by Simply Soft. Diamond-buttoned PVC seater by Kim H. Shaggy rug by Paco.
Access to the upper levels is a short ride on the rack lift, for the less adventurous (admittedly a matter of opinion), or a ladder is sometimes employed. To disassociate with the structure’s inherent industrial air, Kim furnished the interiors with sculptural shapes, an instinctive orchestration of plush and sheer finishes, articulated by untreated timbers, metallic patina and leather – not to mention a lifetime’s worth of collectables and oddities for character dressing.
Above left: Cabinetry by Rossi. Sanitaryware by Infi nty Bathrooms. Above right: Club chairs, bench, wedge ottoman and carpet by Kim H Interior Design. Standing lamp by Spazio. Shaggy rug by Paco. Chandeliers by Rebel Lighting.
Above: The 1957 Blutner grand piano takes centre stage in the main living area. Couch by Kim H Interior Design. Rug by Paco. Wallpaper from Design Syndicate. All other furnishings were collected by Kim from antique shops over the past 20 years.
DESIGNER SECRETS FROM KIM H
How would you define your style?
I guess my personal sense of style is quite eclectic. I like to push the limits a bit in décor – mixing
traditional and contemporary designs. For instance, upholstering a Chesterfield couch in white vinyl with chrome studs. It might not be everyone’s taste, but it makes for interesting pieces.
What is your favourite room?
The upper-level lounge and study. It just feels incredibly spacious. The textures in this room are so plush and comfortable – I call it my ‘pyjama room’.
How do you plan your schemes?
Well, I can’t really say that I ever plan a scheme – it has a lot to do with the instinctive ‘feel’ of a room. I like a lot of natural textures, so I often bring in raw timber and metals like silver, brass and copper.
How do you group objects and fabrics together and know that it works well?
I know going into a project the kind of look that I want to achieve. Again, it’s a very instinctive process. With this property I wanted to create the look and feel of a renovated fire station, so you’ve got wall details like the face brick that’s been painted over and flooring that’s unfussy and practical. If you want to, let’s say, do an Atlantic Seaboard-style home, you’re going to do things like clapper board-cladding and use a lot of creams, whites and duckegg blues… that sort of thing. I think it just has a lot to do with being clear about the look you’re going for and getting creative with dressing it up.
Do you have any tips on improving one’s home to up the value?
I’d rather people improve their homes to suit their lifestyles, instead of just upping its resale value. Create a space that you enjoy living in. And don’t destroy it. That should keep the value pretty steady.
Above: Kim Hutton
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