Partners in Design
Hendre Bloem and Mias de Vries’s innovative new project presents property development and design in a fresh way
With an idea to launch a new arm of his property-development business DEV by Hendre Bloem in a real working space, Hendre zeroed in on a house in Woodstock. “I know what I like when I see it,” he says. He bought the property as the start of this new venture.
Hendre had a good idea of what he wanted the house to look like but knew he’d need the help of an architect, so he approached Mias from Fifty8 Twelve Design, whose knowledge of property development, master’s in architecture and eye for detail complemented Hendre’s skills in interior design. “Hendre and I always said we would like to collaborate on a project, especially one where we could buy, design and renovate with a view to ultimately selling or renting it out ourselves,” says Mias. “When Hendre found this house we started investigating the possibilities of how we could add value to it.”
Together, they planned the renovation and came up with a concept, compiling a wish list of Cape Town designers, artisans and crafts people whose work would come together to create a layered and exciting space. Focusing on Cape Town companies but including a range of styles and price points, from the high end to the artisanal, resulted in a real and relatable end result. “We thought it would be great to furnish the house the way we think a future owner would rather than create a showroom effect, using South African designers and artists to showcase their products,” says Mias.
The duo’s selection criteria for this project included designers who’re excelling at their craft and pieces that would complement or contrast with the architecture. “What I love about the designers we’ve used is that their work is timeless yet they also bring in local and traditional motifs and methods,” says Hendre.
Dressing up a property to show case it as a lived-in space has enormous impact on its sale ability and desirability. “An empty space usually looks a lot smaller than it actually is,” says Hendre. “Many people also struggle to envision a potential layout or understand the scale of a house when it’s vacant.”
Mias agrees that furnishing the rooms highlights certain architectural features and makes the interior relatable. “You want to give potential buyers a taste of what is possible and for them to then walk away thinking: ‘I could live there and make it my own.’ It is only when one places the first piece of furniture in the space that one gets to read it as being functional and (hopefully) liveable and enjoyable.”