Photographs Francois Oberholster | Styling Marian van Wyk
Craig Olckers and his pooches, Zac and Zoe
Where Observatory, Cape Town
There are two things Craig Olckers is absolutely passionate about: flowers and interior design. In his home business, floral boutique Oolong Blue, he has turned his love of blooms into a thriving career. His love of design is expressed in his “downtime” – most recently having renovated his two-bedroom home in Observatory, Cape Town.
While modest in size, there is nothing average about Craig’s Victorian-with-a-modern twist abode.
The front door opens onto a pristine all-white passageway, the walls adorned with tall mirrors framed with ornate mouldings added to draw the eye upward to the dramatic chandeliers.
The elegant bedrooms and bathroom are simple and clutter-free and at the end of the passageway, an airy open-plan lounge, dining nook and kitchen open up onto an inviting courtyard.
While each space has a unique look, elements such as the white walls and floors; black and white tiles on the front and back stoeps; plush, jewel-toned furniture; and striking wallpapered focal walls create a cohesive feel.
Unsurprisingly, friends and family have sought Craig’s help when decorating their own homes and often encourage him to consider interior design as a career.
But, thus far, his love of flowers has always come out tops. “I love my current job and I don’t think I can give 100 percent to both. Decorating as a hobby allows me to really take joy in my own spaces; there’s no pressure and I can truly enjoy it,” says Craig who is now hunting for a new home to renovate. This home, of course, sold immediately to the first viewer!
Proving that light colours are not the only option in a small space, the cosy dining nook packs a punch with its black-and-white houndstooth wallpaper, purple velvet-covered deep-button sofa (which doubles up as storage) and dramatic chandelier. It all comes together to create the old-world charm Craig was after.
Dining table and black chandelier from Weylandts; purple sofa fabric from Hertex; chairs from Chair Crazy
The tropical theme in the lounge, with its botanical scatters and golden bamboo palm, is a clever way of creating flow as it matches the lush green of the courtyard. Before Craig renovated his house, the kitchen was squeezed into the current dining nook and a wall separated it from the dining room, which is now the kitchen.
“Because a kitchen needs more storage space, it made sense to swap the rooms around,” says Craig, who loves to cook and entertain.
Wallpaper printed by ArtLab; sofa covered in velvet from Hertex and upholstered by Ashraf’s Upholstery; green scatters by Pezula Interiors; gold scatters from Woolworths; pouffes from Moroccan Warehouse
This courtyard off the kitchen was once an unsightly parking area covered in concrete! An avid entertainer, Craig decided to transform the 42m² into a relaxing space. He added hanging plants, an assortment of potted plants on the stoep, a wooden table and chairs on the lawn – and even a fish pond!
The greenery against the charcoal-coloured walls adds vibrancy while the checkerboard tiles and black-and-white awning mirror the palette at the front of the house, a smart way to carry through a theme.
Hanging pot plants from Weylandts; marble stoep tiles from Womag; awning from Solara Awnings
It’s all about the layers
Craig has created a luxurious atmosphere in his compact home; here are his top tips on how to achieve this look:
- Add loose rugs to existing carpets for a warm, plush and textured effect. “I like layering coir carpets with Nguni hides and sheepskins to create a sense of abundance.”
- Adding artwork to patterned walls creates interest, especially when using frames in varying shapes and sizes.
- Layered bedding makes for an inviting and luxurious space; use textured throws, oversized pillows and comforters.
The headboard in the main bedroom is a showstopper! Craig had the colour on the walls specially mixed to pick up on the blue in the headboard pattern.
Craig turned a tiny bathroom and an en-suite from a neighbouring bedroom into one spacious bathroom. The neat, sleek mirror also serves as a storage cabinet.
Vanity from Coricraft; pendant from Hoi P’loy
- @home 0860 576 576
- ArtLab 021 448 1421
- Ashraf’s Upholstery 021 447 9510
- Block & Chisel 021 691 0878
- Chair Crazy 021 465 9991
- Coricraft 021 508 5200
- Hertex 012 346 4331
- Hoi P’loy 021 447 1433
- K.Light 021 552 4370
- Lim Furniture 021 423 1200
- Moroccan Warehouse 021 461 8318
- MRP Home 0800 212 535
- NMC Decorative Mouldings
- Oolong Blue
- Pezula Interiors 021 424 2661
- Solara Awnings 021 951 3104
- Union Tiles 011 663 2000
- Weylandts 0860 103 400