Art of Fine Living

Martine Jackson designed her home shelf by shelf. Presented with a blank canvas when she moved into a new penthouse apartment on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, she was faced with a peculiar challenge – how to display her ever-growing collection of ceramics without cluttering the space. The challenge proved to be the making of the apartment, as Martine designed a series of perfectly coordinated recesses to accommodate carefully selected pieces.

She opted to keep the alcoves black, with imbedded lighting so that the artworks each had their own mini gallery-like space. Industrial track lighting was also cleverly adopted to run the length and breadth of the ceiling, giving Martine the flexibility to shift the focus onto the works as the light, or her mood, changed. Mirroring the wall nooks, Martine opted to create two small areas off the main living space, dining area and entrance hall – a TV lounge and a study – providing functional and space-saving areas without restricting the flow of the first level. The children’s rooms, and main en-suite, bookmark the apartment, and Martine and her husband’s living area delivers more dramatic mountain views. The freestanding bath, which she cleverly fitted into granite to expose the curves, is embraced by windows on the mountainside, with scatterings of collectibles softening the stony surfaces.

‘I prefer dark to light shades; they have a grounding effect’ – Martine Jackson

The couch in Martine Jackson’s Cape Town apartment is self-designed and the silk and bamboo rug is from Gonsenhausers Fine Rugs. Martine designed recesses in the wall to accommodate specific ceramic pieces she wanted to display, without making the space feel cluttered

A Gregor Jenkin ‘Turned Table’, chairs by Billiani and ceramic pieces by Martine fill the dining room

A painting by Peter Eastman in the TV lounge

While pops of colourful artworks line the walls of her home, Martine elected to use dark shades for her custom-made furniture. This was in part to tackle the intensity of light that enters the space, and the shadowed impression it gives. ‘I prefer dark to light shades; they have a grounding effect,’ she says. This preference also informed her choice of kitchen cabinet doors, which are made from charcoal painted frosted glass, and provide a beautifully smooth, matte backdrop to the open-plan living area. Having been raised in Cape Town’s budding art community, art (and the ceramics she now crafts) is a dominant feature of the apartment. While Martine initially explored her art career by using beads as a medium, in recent years she has returned to ceramics, of which organic shapes and curves are her trademark, all hand-made using the coil method.
‘My beaded work had shifted into a commercial space, and I desperately wanted to return to art and ceramics,’ says Martine, whose mother was South African ceramicist and creative director of Carrol Boyes, Barbara Jackson.

Martine now balances her time between creating new pieces, teaching ceramics and running her school, and working on product development for Carrol Boyes, under her own name. While she spent many hours as a child and student in her mother’s Green Point studio, and is inevitably influenced by her mother’s works, she says that she has found her own artistic voice, and her current series is partly inspired by the panoramic views from her home. On the one side, the slopes of Lion’s Head dominates the view from the kitchen, while opposite the eye is drawn down to the icy Atlantic Ocean and buzzing high street. While dark and textured shades are her speed, Martine was conscious of not making the space feel small, which is evident in subtle design decisions such as the open cavities in dividing walls to let light and views through, and the granite floating staircase that takes you to the top floor. It opens into a glass-walled conservatory that leads onto a deck with a plunge pool, daybed, barbecue and wall of built-in planters filled with indigenous plants.

The rooftop deck is where the family spends their summers. During the day, sheets of blinds shield them from the sun, and at night the view is transformed into a sea of neighbourhood lights. ‘The views and light this apartment provides cannot really be described; you have to see it to believe it,’ says Martine. ‘It was very cleverly designed to capture it all.’

In the entrance, a partition forms a small foyer while also creating a home for artworks, ceramics and books

The TV lounge

In keeping with her quest to avoid furniture that can collect clutter, Martine opted for a headboard constructed out of a series of covered cabinets

The bathroom off the main bedroom is positioned to take in the views

A curated collection cleverly displayed on custom-made shelves

Martine with her children in the kitchen

Featured image The rooftop deck overlooks the ocean and the mountain.

Text Lori Cohen Production Sven Alberding Photographs Warren Heath/Bureaux