Blue-sky living: Inside Kim Stephen’s South African home

Huge folding glass doors turn interior designer Kim Stephen’s South African home into an extension of her garden. Add a pool, playground and a view of Table Mountain for outdoor life at its spectacular best.

Kim Stephen
Kim and the family’s two golden retrievers, Buster and Bella, enjoy some shade in the ‘indooroutdoor’ room. Kim and the family’s two golden retrievers, Buster and Bella, enjoy some shade in the ‘indoor-outdoor’ room. The folding glass doors can be fully opened or closed as required, and the area includes both a dining and lounging space. The swimming pool is on the other side of the railing.

London-based interior designer Kim Stephen, whose accolades include being nominated for the Andrew Martin Interior Designer of the Year Award, splits her time upscaling houses for clients in London and – the setting for her own childhood – South Africa. Her recent projects range from a family home in Cobham, Surrey to a compact apartment in London’s Knightsbridge.

Kim Stephen
For black and brass lighting, try originalbtc.com, and for a similar wooden dining table, visit lombok.co.uk. Find brightly coloured Eames chairs at conranshop.co.uk

Her Cape Town home, which she shares with her husband Graham, who works in brand licensing, their children Jamie, 13, and Anna, three, plus dogs Buster and Bella, is a masterclass in contrasts. Sophisticated yet playful pieces are mixed with quirky finds and glamorous touches, all set against the majestic backdrop of Table Mountain and punctuated with jewel shades and bursts of pattern.

Kim Stephen
The three-seater sofa is in the lounging section of the ‘indoor-outdoor’ room; for a similar sofa, see johnlewis.com. The cushions were made using fabric bought at the market in Saint-Tropez. The vintage botanical illustrations are from hagemann.de; for similar, try the ‘Leaf Photogram’ framed collection of prints at oka.com

The house, originally a simple A-frame which took three years to renovate, gave Kim the opportunity to push her creative skills in a new direction. ‘When I’m working in London, I gravitate towards muted tones. This was a chance for me to be creative without having to work to a client brief,’ she says. ‘It allowed me to experiment with colour.’

Kim Stephen
Kim’s daughter Anna in the elegant entrance hall with its standout stairway. Key decor elements here include grey raffia wallpaper – Textures Végétales by the French wallpaper manufacturer elitis.fr – and terrazzo-tile floors, a tall potted palm tree and large-scale floral curtains. For a similar curtain fabric, try elitis.fr

Instead of being intimidated by the acres of lush greenery and jaw-dropping scenery around her, Kim designed the house to work in harmony with its surroundings. ‘I used nature as an anchor for the bold colours I wanted to incorporate. The citrus shades became grounded when interspersed with the warm woods and lush greenery.’

Kim Stephen
The monochrome scheme continues upstairs with this freestanding pewter bath and patterned tiles. For a similar bath try victorianplumbing.co.uk and for tiles, visit bertandmay.com

Kim’s love of contrasts extends to the use of materials: terrazzo flooring is paired with raffia wallpaper in the entrance hall, and weaved furniture sits alongside bold patterned fabrics. ‘I wanted to use materials that complemented each other but that are different enough to create interesting focal points,’ says Kim.

For more information on kim’s designs, visit kimstephen.com

Shop the look…

…mix sleek lines with bursts of colour

Chair, £370, nest.co.uk

Toulouse tile, £8.99, firedearth.com

Pot, £6, patchplants.com

Cushion, £75, trouva.com

Outdoor rug (160cm x 230cm), £131, maisonsdumonde.com 

Vintage botanical print, £18, etsy.com

Missoni cushion, £160, amara.com