I met with Ploy and Guy back in November 2017, shortly before their baby was due, and have been so busy with the operational side of Design Store since that I've only now got the chance to finally share this amazing home visit with you.
Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about the story of this house?
We own a lighting design company in Cape Town called Hoi P'loy. We found our home after many years of searching for the right place when we were introduced to the previous owner through a mutual friend. At the time we were traveling through Italy, and it just so happened that the owner had moved to a nearby small village in Tuscany a year earlier. Kismet? When we got back to Cape Town we popped by to see the house and instantly fell in love. We asked if she'd be interested in selling, and everything fell into place! Within a few months we had bought the house and moved in.
How would you define your style in terms of decoration?
During the time we were looking for a house we had been focusing on a shell that we could make our own. In the end the house we found was so close to our own style that we didn't have to do much at all. I suppose an eclectic blend of old and new would be something we naturally gravitate towards. We value the soul often present in items of a bygone era but then we are also seduced by the functionality and clean, minimal lines of contemporary aesthetic. At the end of the day a welcoming sense of comfort is important, and we try to find a balance between those two worlds.
With a little one on the way what are the changes you might be looking to implement from a design perspective?
The previous owner had two children, a teenager, and a young toddler. As a passionate interior designer she'd already designed the house around her children which is a great benefit to us. For example the baby's bedroom had a custom printed wallpaper from a vintage illustrated French children's book. There's also a built in "bunk/loft bed" in the playroom which I would have been nuts about as a teenager. In terms of changes there's one primary part that we've been hoping to upgrade since we moved into this house. That is to replace the very worn out wooden floors with a new hardwood floor, as well as to install a timber deck outside which might be more child friendly than the cobblestone courtyard that we currently have.
What is the most beautiful thing you own?
Beauty comes down to individual taste. An emotional connection one has to an item can often evoke a sense of beauty that others may overlook. (Ploy) I'd say our seal-point munchkin cat, Leroy. For me (Guy) it would be a ceramic sculpture that my father made of my mother's face from before I was born.
What items would you buy if you had R500, R5000 and then R50’000?
R 500 Shopping spree at the Milnerton Market
R 5 000 Hepper Cat Bed
R 50 000 Wooden deck for our courtyard
If you could have invented anything, what would it be?
There are many things... Today I'll say a type of brass that doesn't oxidize in its natural state.
How would you define or introduce your work?
We draw on traditional production values and materials and marry them with contemporary aesthetics to create pieces that have one foot in the past and the other in the future.
When do you think up your best ideas?
When there are clear problems at hand that evoke very specific solutions. The majority of our designs have not been created in a romantic sketch book or drawing board, but rather in the moment when an unexpected challenge presents itself as a way of solving practical problems. These ideas have their roots in functionality, and aesthetics are often just the icing on top.
How do you feel about South African design?
The strong sense of community and support that's evolved amongst local designers over the past few years has been a big part of what inspires the industry to keep growing and maturing. We feel honoured and excited to be a part of that.
If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would it be?
Japan. We're both enchanted by the country's sophisticated culture. I spent two months there a few years ago, and developed an immense admiration for the integrity with which each person in society approaches their work, no matter how seemingly insignificant or important their role might be. We long for an homogeneous environment like that in which to create and produce. The sense of trust in all the components that make up a well-functioning society is something that we're always dreaming of.