Margaret Hirsch, the matriarch of the multi-million-rand family-run appliance and furniture store, Hirsch’s, is a decor doyenne. She chatted to Omeshnie Naidoo about integrated spaces.
A beautiful kitchen is to a home what diamond stud earrings are to a girl’s jewellery trousseau - I would argue, indispensable and indicative. The hostess with the mostest wears them both with pride.
And while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are always prevailing trends. When it comes to kitchens, streamlined and minimalist are de rigueur.
“Even in small places, we can achieve spacious kitchens,” says Hirsch.
“If you’re getting a new kitchen, consider the Scandinavian style, which continues to be relevant. Think beautiful white Neiman doors, no handles, no fuss, with integrated appliances - the fridge and its friends all behind doors.
“Focus on clever lighting, beneath and above the cupboards, as well as mirrored surfaces, such as reflective mosaic, to amplify the illusion of space.
“We’re loving Caesarstone and the uniformity it offers. You can create a grand peninsula in the material in your kitchen and carry it through to other spaces in the home such as bathroom vanity, staircase and walk-in closet.”
Interior designer Grant Horak, of Horak Venter Design, who works closely with Hirsch on her numerous projects, says continuity is definitely key.
“Modern-day living is integrated on various levels. To create harmony, choose only a few quality materials for the home and repeat them. Use the same flooring throughout your home. If you like a particular artist - such as the Sandy Slater pieces we’ve showcased here - display them.”
Lynda Kapsimalis, who Hirsch asked to do the table, used this principle, repeating cabbage leaves and penny gum, white roses and snowdon on a long, casual dining table. Vases for height hold white roses and peacock feather.
“The turquoise chairs offer a distinct starting point. We used crockery that matched on a crisp, white tablecloth and offset everything with gold candles and gold faux-leather place mats.”
Horak says open-plan, integrated living spaces do not have to be bland and boring.
“We’ve gone for dramatic crystal chandeliers, Versace-inspired thick pile rugs and mirrors. The trick is that we used them more than once.
“We haven’t shied away from colour, either. The ocean view in this house inspired a lagoon theme and we’ve embraced and layered turquoise. The piece de resistance is a silver-leaf paint technique wall in the foyer and living room.
“The dark seafoam-like colour seems to trick the eye into believing there is more space,” he says.
“The guest bedroom is a contrast. We’ve opted for saffron stripes on the wall and Jim Thompson fabric on the bed.”
Texture is another key element, says Hirsch. “Choose decor items with interest. We’ve added a faux Stingray-top table, a mother-of-pearl side table, glass-blown lampshade stand and hand-painted drinks cabinet. The wallpaper in the TV lounge is Versace leopard skin with crystal dust.”
Hirsch advises that whatever you buy for your home, you seek out quality and reliability.
“Decor is about more than pretty scatters; you want it to look good but you also want it to function for you. There’s no reason the practical pieces can’t be aesthetically pleasing or integrated into your space to create the feeling a home should have.”