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City Heights – Residence Nestled into the Slopes of Lions Head


On Cape Town’s mountainside stands a striking angular building by renowned local architecture firm SAOTA. Complementing this terraced home, the interiors, by interior-design leader ARRCC, are a treasure trove of gem-like materials and custom furniture which pull together the client’s brief for ultimate comfort within high- functioning entertainment zones. A profusion of metallic surfaces is juxtaposed with warm wood and splashes of bright colour, invoking a sense of dynamic living.

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Says ARRCC Designer Nina Sierra Rubia of the entrance hall: ‘The walnut paneling is a reflecting of the warmth in the rest of the home, while the metal fleck ceramic by Chantal Woodman for OKHA, standing on a suspended black swing server, tells you that there’s fun to be had inside,’ The patterns in the marble-like flooring and custom designed geometric grey woolen rug are complemented by ceramic installation art by Hennie Meyer, each piece inviting closer inspection in its uniqueness.

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SAOTA developed the house with all guest bedrooms on the bottom storey to elevate the main living area and master bedroom to a penthouse. Dividing the bedroom and bathroom is a slatted, faceted walnut screen. ‘It creates yet another beautiful point of interest, while defining the two spaces and adding privacy,’ Mark explains. The  bathroom walls continue the language of the marble-like floors, presenting the notion of five-star indulgence.

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Director Mark Rielly. Reached via a double-volume-glass stairwell that introduces mountainscape views, the living area is a riot of calculated contrast, where light-reflective metallics – polished, tarnished or patinated – hover above and surround precious marble and wooden surfaces. This is evident in the pared-back kitchen, where a dark marble is inserted into a patinated brass countertop with granite work surface. Brightened up with an optically abstract painting by Andrzej Urbanski from Everard Read, this area also encompasses the dining suite.

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The walnut dining table was custom-made with a marble lazy Susan and is surrounded by Arti-forte chairs from Limeline that complement the table’s rounded form. Such circular shapes come to play in the sculptural light, too. Brass rings cast a halo over the table, an atmosphere that is mimicked in the lounge with its polygon-shaped light. Separated from the dining area by architecturally slatted walnut screens, the lounge continues the dialogue of fascinating form. Its custom sofa, with angled bend, allows for complete immersion, offering views of the ocean, courtyard and television, which also acts as a mirror, further enhancing the sense of space.

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On either side of this mirror is a decorative acoustic fabric with brass detailing, cleverly concealing the speakers, while below the mirror stands a bio-fuel fireplace surrounded by Emperador marble. Such cosiness is best enjoyed while lazing on the reclining chair up holstered in a mustard felt by COR. Two purple OKHA Gloob chairs, on either side of a Minotti side table, introduce colour to this otherwise muted area. The custom-made server and coffee table cluster create interest in their unusual design, with the Tom Dixon Melt lamp acting as sideboard sculpture, maintaining the metallic pops of attraction around the home.

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On the opposite end of this floor is the bar, a stylish nook for mixing drinks under Lee Broom hanging lights from Crema. It’s here that the combination of material and form is at its most condensed, with the slatted ceiling wrapping itself over the back wall, blurring into the wooden splashback that doubles up as illuminated shelving. The bar itself is a custom structure, fronted by Pietra Paesina Laminam slabs. Tom Dixon bar stools and Classicon side tables from Limeline add vibrant colour and light reflection to this intimate hangout.

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‘This entire living-area floor opens up to an enclosed terrace,’ Mark explains, ‘which can be closed completely for weather protection.’ Here, Nina and the ARRCC team created two outdoor entertainment areas – one encompassing another lounge with custom furniture in neutral tones, reflecting Cape Town’s beach lifestyle, and the other sporting a cantilevered bio-fuel fireplace for dry ing off after a swim in the infinity pool.

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Entrance at the back of the building is deliberately understated; a modest canopy shelters the front door opening onto a landing from which a broad spine gently traces down the natural gradient alongside a generous garden courtyard. The corridor ends at the kitchen, whose island – a solid block of granite – forms a fulcrum with the principle living areas placed at right angles, parallel with the lagoon. The kitchen looks out over open-plan dining and lounge areas towards a fireplace and picture window framed in a massive concrete hearth wall.

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The top-storey master suite continues the home’s affinity for walnut, grey, mustard, and curvaceous forms, bringing these to play in a more masculine way, and then softening the aesthetic with linen effect curtains. Another Andrzej Urbanski, hangs over the bed, adding an interesting geometric language to the space. The wall on either side of this brings warmth through walnut slats with brass fittings that light up.

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The limited edition Kaggen Side Table, by OKHA in collaboration with Atang Tshkare, and the marble-topped coffee table by Tonic create visual texture in the lounge area, while a painting by Shany van den Berg on the entrance screen welcomes one to this bedroom floor, offering a taste of what’s to be found beyond – a space for full mental and physical immersion. ‘It’s a dynamic home,’ says Mark. ‘One where unexpected materials combine to create a space that is as energetic as its owner.

Project name: City Heights; Project Location: Cape Town, South Africa; Interior Design: ARRCC; Project Team: Mark Rielly, Nina Sierra Rubin, Amy King; Architect: SAOTA; Project Team: Philip Olmesdahl, Bobby Hugill, Erin Gibbs, Duke Williams; Project Photographer: Greg Cox; Text: Tracy Lynn Chemaly;

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