I arrive at Carin’s home straight from Asia. Stepping through the front door into a room full of vivid colours, bold patterns, face masks and artefacts, I immediately feel that I’m in Africa. Her home is a small Victorian townhouse in Green Point. The house has a discreet grey façade, but isvibrant with colours inside. A living room on the ground floor opens up all the way to the rafters, with a kitchen to one side. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and an enclosed courtyard swathed in greenery are also on this floor. Tucked away under the eaves is her bedroom that also has a small workspace and a second bathroom.
Carin is a freelancer, often working from home with photo and copyright research for publishers. Her background as a textile designer shows up in the strong colours and prominent patterns found in her home. She is also educated in art and painting and plans to return to it one day. The paints and brushes are ready and waiting. But it’s in interior decoration where she mostly finds an outlet for her creativity today. It may be by painting a piece of furniture or a staircase, sewing cushion covers or by upcycling things. She is true to her motto which is: ‘It’s the doing and the loving of the doing that brings happiness’.
When she bought the house five years ago, it was the openness and airiness of it that attracted her. The interior, which was painted white and had a clean appearance, was another essential factor. The size was alsoright, about 90 square meters*, as she was keen to downsize. Her daughters suggested at first that she move to an apartment, but she felt she needed an outside space too.
“Show me anything that can’t be painted,” she says. I love playing with paint and I had a lot of fun when I painted the furniture, the doors and the staircase. My favourite colours are red, yellow and turquoise, especially when they are combined with white.”
“How would you describe your interior design style?”
“My style is very simple, almost naïve, and colourful. I have no rules whatsoever. If I like something I will buy it, but it would always have to be cheap. My biggest thrill is to do something cheaply and to upcycle things. It gives me more pleasure than buying something new and expensive.”
“What is the best advice you can give people in terms of making a home for themselves?”
“Be true to what you really like, and not what you think will impress others,” she answers. “I can walk into houses that are really nice, decorated in greens and browns. But I just can’t make my own home like that. Try to make your home in your own style and in a way that really appeals to you. Perhaps making scrapbooks as I do could be good advice. In making them, take anything that inspires you; it can be a colour, a shape, or a pattern. Collect inspiration even though it doesn’t feel relevant to you at the time. As long as it resonates with you, it’s good.”
This is an excerpt from the book Home Life Around the World and is one of the unique and personal homes I visited.
Release date 15th May.
Home Life Around the World is available for pre-order in iBooks store, Kobo and Google Play. ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
The book is also available for pre-order in the Kindle format. ASIN: B079VDPBVF
Print edition ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3
Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer