Cool, Calm & Colourful

Brilliant colour meets clever design in a Ballito duplex thanks to the interior designer owner

The cover feature in Garden and Home’s August 2019 issue is Amy Mitchell’s private lock up and go residence. A benchmark in stylish and colourful compact living, perfect for the modern professional couple.

Making the most of the available space was interior designer Amy Mitchell’s primary focus when she and her husband Greg moved into this duplex in Ballito, north of Durban.

“It had a practical layout and we loved the garden and the views, but I felt that we could do a lot more with it”

“Duplexes are finished with standard products chosen by the developers. So find out if you can choose these beforehand. A very simple way to make a small space appear larger is to use one type of flooring throughout, creating a seamless flow.”

Another is to look at unused corners to add extra storage space. Amy took advantage of the awkward area under the stairs and used it to build in cupboards. Painted the same colour as the walls, they’re hardly noticeable. “Having a place to put clutter really helps to establish a light, airy atmosphere,” she says.

“While you may think that a large U-shaped sofa would be too large for a small duplex, it provides more seating space than a conventional sofa and chairs,” says Amy. However, as she was concerned about the proximity of the sofa to the oven and hob, she designed an easily cleaned metal and glass screen to partially divide the two areas. “Funnily, it’s made the two areas seem larger and given me more room to work with in the living area,” she explains. As you enter through the dining area, Amy kept the furnishings here to a minimum to keep an open traffic flow.

“The dining table was a lucky second-hand-shop buy that my father helped me to restore.” The stackable chairs can also be brought into the living room for extra seating. Once the basics were in place, Amy could start adding splashes of her favourite colours. “I chose emerald green in the living room. It’s both calming and eye catching and is a link to the garden. I also introduced black as it adds definition.”

Amy admits that she had a great deal of fun decorating the bedrooms. In the main bedroom palm fronds and a blue and green scheme establish a soothing atmosphere. However, in the guest bedrooms, she let her creativity run riot and made up for the lack of space with an abundance of pattern and colour. In one, black and white wallpaper and a geometric rug offset brilliant yellow scatters and a quilt. An orange hide was the inspiration for the other, in which she combined a deep aqua wall and rug and patterned fabrics.