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Take a look inside the classic yet undeniably inviting Fresnaye home

Sue Bond invites us into her maximalist, classic, yet undeniably inviting Fresnaye home

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By House & Garden South Africa | October 23, 2021 | Interiors

Sue Bond invites us into her maximalist, classic, yet undeniably inviting Fresnaye home, a testament to the interior designer’s instantly recognisable style and talent as a conversationalist through design.

By trade. How does your design sensibility translate into your everyday life and your own home?

Designing beautiful spaces invite us to live in them rather than admire them. It is probably a challenge being a designer’s partner or child. The upside of this is that in the spaces I create for my clients, I am always insistent at the outset of the design process that they be liveable and be lived in. When the camera is not pointed in the direction of the sitting room, it is, in fact,a sitting room, and one to be enjoyed.

Your style is clearly ‘more is more’, but also liveable and decorated yet uncluttered. How do you balance maximalist layering with the feeling of informality?

I always set out to have a balanced room, regardless of its scale or function. otherwise, I do not feel like one can relax in the space. It cannot just be a room decorated down to the last detail, but you end up walking past it to find somewhere more comfortable to lounge. For our home, I was even more determined that the sofas, for example, allow for putting your feet up or for having pets sit on them – I am not precious about anything like that at all. honestly, wherever I live and however we live as a family, I think balance, for me, is crucial.

This balance is something you achieve effortlessly in your home. How do you get that right?

I wanted to create a space that invites you in to enjoy it. I apply the same thinking when I am designing spaces for my clients. The main consideration for me is how a space will translate into everyday living. With it being my home, I had the opportunity to test the space out on my family over time. I constantly observe how they interact with a room. If they do not ever go and sit at this table or on that chair or lounge on the sofa, I know something is wrong, and I need to rework that space. It is in the simple, almost mundane details that this is achieved. For example, at the entrance hall, I provide a space where you can leave your things. I aimed to make the space practical, inviting, and make it start conversations because there is a story behind every piece that occupies it.

How would you describe your home’s style?

My style is distinct and authentic, not only to who I am as a designer but also who I am as an individual. I like to stay ahead of the ‘trend’ and blaze a trail rather than follow fashion. And I think that is what makes it work because it has an authentic character and identity.

What design thinking did you apply?

The starting point, for me, was how the interior works with the exterior. Inspired by the views, I disciplined the colour palette to support that. The core aesthetic was Georgian inspired, and there are also Asian influences throughout as we lived in Hong Kong for four years. White canvas sofas always form the base of my sitting rooms because they lighten the room, and do not draw the eye down but create the illusion that you are floating at sofa level. This allows people to take in the art, objects, the cushions’ fabric, and the space as a whole.

Tell us about the art. There are so many memories and stories we associate with each work.

Art is integral to my design ethos. I have collected art since I can remember, and my most current passion is the collage artist Olivier. Not a drop of paint is used in creating detailed images with bits of paper. The first piece by her that I owned was also the first one she sold through a gallery. She is an unbelievable talent and artistic voice. The staircase also features works by Elize Bezuidenhout, another local artist whose work I adore.

Your home also maximises its incredible location. How do the interior and exterior interact?

I wanted the interior to spill seamlessly onto the outdoor areas and vice versa. The garden, although manicured, is pared back to capitalise on the views. The whole reason we would entertain outside would be to enjoy and take in the vista. I used the landscape’s colours throughout the interior to give the impression there is almost no barrier between inside and outside. I also used wallpapers with botanical motifs in the bedrooms to allude to the textures of the garden and the mountain nearby. It is a design logic I applied throughout the interior by introducing natural materials and organic forms.

Text: Marnus Nieuwoudt

Photographs: Greg Cox

Production: Thea Pheiffer

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