TextRobyn Alexander Styling Sven Alberding Photographs Warren Heath
This home blends an enduring architectural style with inspired interiors that combine sophistication and everyday ease, making it ideal for a young family.
‘My projects tell a story,’ says homeowner and interior designer Simone Hirsch. She’s sitting on the spacious veranda of the house she recently renovated in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, for her family, which she shares with her husband Richard and their two sons, Cole and Connor. The story of the Hirschs’ home has unfolded over several years following the young family’s move to Cape Town and their renovation of this house, which they had lived in for two years before starting the remodelling project.
Like many other homes in the verdant suburb, this one has a name rather than just a street number: it’s called Summer Planes, in tribute to the numerous plane trees that grace the property’s large garden. At one time, the house was owned by a member of the Labia family – the original Cape-based members who built the stately home that is now the Labia Museum in nearby Muizenberg – who left behind the beautiful old marble fountain that still graces the garden today. And renowned Cape Town landscaper Franchesca Watson, who also lived here for a time, laid out the garden’s design.
Stories abound at Summer Planes, then, and the most recent chapter of its long history is a very happy one. Together with Johannesburg-based architect Peter Cohen, Simone has brought the existing house – built in Cape classical style – into the 21st century in a way that emphasises all the best aspects of this genre of architecture.
With simple geometric lines and pared-back yet substantial forms, the house now melds timeless architectural elegance and sophisticated interiors that reflect Simone’s eye for restrained colour, layers of natural textures, and just the right touches of unique detail. Simone has been an interior designer for almost five years now, offering a full turnkey service to her clients, and has to date worked on a couple of projects with Peter. He has a ‘genuinely special sense of space and proportion’, she says, adding, ‘I feel inspired every time I work with him.’
Asked to describe her style, she suggests ‘simple sophistication’ as the best way to sum up her use of clean, contemporary furnishings as well as natural materials and textures – think stone, marble, wood and sandstone – in her interiors.
Overall, every design element employed in the house has been chosen with care to suit the needs and wants of all its occupants, and it quite obviously functions perfectly as a family home. No wonder, then, that Simone sums up Summer Planes by smilingly referring to the house as ‘our happy space’.
The main bedroom is a beautifully designed boudoir with a glass box that feels as if it is suspended in the surrounding plane trees. Simone Katherine Interiors (simonekatherine.com) designed the four-poster bed, the bedside pedestals and the bench at the foot of the bed, upholstered in Miroir by Pierre Frey (pierrefrey.com) – and the bolster on the bed is made up in the same fabric. The curtains that can be drawn around the bed itself are by Ralph Lauren Home (ralphlaurenhome.com), and the standing lamp is from Artefect (artefect.co.za).