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House Tour: See Why the Kitchen is Really the Heart of this Noordhoek Family Home

With influences from Africa as well as Asia and France, the layered approach to this home’s interiors by HK Studio has no shortage of warmth

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By House & Garden South Africa | April 18, 2024 | Interiors

It might sound corny,’ warns HK studio and anatomy design’s Megan Hesse, but for the owners of this Noordhoek abode, ‘the kitchen really is the heart of the home’. The interior designer insists the well-worn cliche is also a very apt one when it comes to sego and Mark Elliott’s expansive base on a private estate, which comprises a lofty five-bedroom house, a working farm complete with vegetable garden, chickens, goats, horses – even a couple of alpacas – paddocks and stables and a guest cottage, all surrounded by Noordhoek’s characteristic greenery. While this home has no shortage of spaces imbued with warmth, it is in the kitchen where the couple and their three teenage children come together to work, cook, eat and bond.

Oversized copper pendants from la grange interiors fill the double volume space and natural, raw silk scatter cushions from Mavromac and gatehouse top the sofas. Photography by Greg Cox.

‘It is important for them to spend a lot of time with one another,’ explains Megan, so much so that they eschewed installing a TV in the downstairs entertaining area for shared family moments sans screen time. ‘They wanted this to be a space that brought them together without distraction.’ The thread of connection is woven right through the home’s zones and is one that Megan sought to maximise with her design. as co-founder of anatomy design and HK studio, Megan’s ethos is ‘interiors made for the individual’.

In the casual living room, a custom-made armchair, Singita Boutique couches and a Weylandts ottoman surround coffee tables from Pezula interiors. Photography by Greg Cox.

Here, the individuals in question believe in living holistically with an unfussy, family oriented and organically led lifestyle, right from the things they surround themselves with to the food they put on the table.

Interior designer Megan Hesse sourced the leather armchairs and white Spanish pots from onsite gallery. A Cécile & Boyd sculpture stands in front of an artwork from the private house collection. Photography by Greg Cox.

They like to share this lifestyle with others – as the cottage is available for rent and the family hosts retreats on its grounds. Megan was tasked with giving the Elliotts plenty of opportunity to connect – both with each other and to their verdant surrounds – while remaining indisputably authentic. ‘It is a traditional home with traditional proportions, and we did not change that, but we gave it light and brought it up to date,’ Megan explains. Once dark and a touch gloomy in parts, the house is now light, open and breezy, courtesy of some clever adjustments to the interior structure. So, while the bones remained intact, the team knocked out walls and flipped rooms, restored wooden floors and repainted walls to imbue them with life and light and tether them to the outside leafiness. a chief example of this is the couple’s bathroom: ‘We pushed the bath forward so that you could lie in the tub and have a view to the outdoors,’ she notes.

In the kitchen you’ll find pendants, a wooden island table and blue cabinets. Photography by Greg Cox.

With the structure in good nick, Megan turned to pieces with provenance to achieve that feeling of authenticity. Layering aged, handcrafted and unique items with the couple’s collected heirlooms from their travels to far-flung locales, the team sourced designs with a difference. ‘Everything has a story,’ she notes, ‘and they liked pieces of furniture with personality. Our client, Sego, was wonderfully involved in the selection progress of items, which helped guide us’. To complement the home’s volume, many of the selected pieces are outsize – the copper pendants in the living room are up to a metre in diameter, heavy vintage doors were reused as coffee tables, and there is generously spacious armchair seating that invites you to curl up on a biting winter’s day. Every room carries a strong sense of materiality. Megan opted for raw earthy textures and a landscape-driven palette. ‘Sego loved the idea of bringing the indoors out and outdoors in nature was really important,’ she explains. The designers combined tactile elements such as raw, unrefined natural silk scatter cushions with finishes including aged copper and hand-grooved timber – and then peppered the space with the family’s collected items. ‘It is a collector’s home, and that influenced our approach to the design,’ explains Megan.

A Weylandts Mirror hangs above a custom-designed Bathroom vanity Made from hand-grooved oak with aged copper handles. Photography by Greg Cox.

‘They are an international family, and so there are influences from Africa as well as Asia and France, where sego was born. It’s full of layers of different stories and places.’ Properly draped in greenery, the home itself is thoroughly bucolic, and as you approach the front door you are enveloped in birdsong from the established oak trees that tower above. It is in harmony with its Noordhoek setting, which is just 40 minutes outside of cape Town, but often feels like a remote country locale. From its windswept, white beaches to craggy Jurassic-like mountainside, the village’s natural splendour makes it a sought-after base for families who want their kids to spend time plugged into nature rather than their phones. And that is certainly the case here, where no matter where they are in the house – outside harvesting produce, swapping stories in the kitchen or savouring a long soak in the tub – they are immersed in the spectacular landscape. ‘The thing that makes this home really special is the context,’ says Megan. ‘You feel so privileged to work in a space with such beautiful surroundings.’

Words by Jessica Ross