Light, bright and comfortable, this quaint cottage in Greyton got a fuss-free Scandinavian makeover by interior designer Hendré Bloem

WORDS: SARAH MARJORIBANKS – PHOTOS: STEFAN CALITZ

After purchasing a small cottage on a quiet, leafy street in the Overberg village of Greyton, a young Cape Town couple began the hunt for an interior designer to give it a new lease on life. They wanted a clean interior, punctuated with quirky, bespoke details, and a layout that used every inch of the cottage. And after seeing his previous work at the Greyton Lodge, the couple knew they’d found the right man for the job with Hendré Bloem.

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Greyton know-how

It wasn’t just that his aesthetic suited their vision for the cottage. This interior designer is well versed in Greyton renovations, including the best spots to buy building supplies, the top local contractors, and how to get plans signed off – a process that isn’t as straightforward as in other regions. “The house may not have heritage status, but we still had to get the go-ahead from the Greyton Aesthetics Advisory Committee,” says Hendré.

Greyton founder Herbert Vigne’s design guidelines direct that houses had to look like a simpler version of the Cape Dutch home, and the cottage encompassed that typical look – small gables, front door flanked by two symmetrical windows, and an outside staircase leading to the attic. Hendré kept the external changes to a minimum – the outside staircase moved inside, the attic became two loft bedrooms and an en-suite bathroom, and the single garage was converted into a guest cottage.

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It’s what’s inside

The inside of the cottage has been transformed completely. “We opened up living spaces and turned a dark room off the kitchen into an airy stoep with views across the wooded garden and mountains,” says Hendré. The brief was for clean Scandinavian lines, locally designed furniture and fittings, and a white and grey palette. Practical and warm oak-feel vinyl flooring was used throughout, with the bulk of the interior painted and tiled in white – from the walls and tiles to the living spaces and kitchen.

Carefully selected items bring pops of colour and interest to the calm, neutral interior, including artworks that the couple had brought back from their time in London, bright green armchairs flanking a warm oak table, and James Mudge’s custom-made ash hanging shelves in the kitchen – even the raw steel staircase designed by Hendré at the entrance draws the eye.

Beautiful rooms

The converted garage is Hendré‘s favourite spot in the home. “In place of the roller door, we used cottage-paned French windows, allowing in lots of light and amazing views. I then thought, why stop here? So we knocked down another wall, and more light and garden views streamed in. It worked beautifully.”

The upstairs bathroom boasts a skylight and vintage-style bath, with exposed copper pipes and metro tiles completing the retro look. The master bedroom is kept clean and simple, while the kids bedroom in the attic showcases clean, functional shelving and single raw pine beds tucked under the eaves.

Downstairs, the indigenous garden and views of the Sonderend Mountains are best admired from the back stoep, where one can sit under the retractable awning and enjoy the peaceful village atmosphere.

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