Global Nomad

Global Nomad

Creative people are seldom single-disciplinary creatures – their artistry usually spills out into other, if not all, areas of their lives. Global nomad and boutique owner Yolanda de Villiers proves this theory absolutely in her Paarl home, an eclectic amalgamation of cultures and eras that she shares with her children, Daniel and Camille, an Anatolian shepherd dog called Aslan, and Coco, the Labrador puppy. As a lover of fashion, it comes as no surprise that she understands how to dress and accessorise a room. What is surprising, however, is just how well the divergent global influences mix.

In Yolanda’s home, she’s drawn on her experience of different destinations to create a globally inspired space that feels a little like stepping into another world. Although now it’s an oasis of cool colours and exotic references, it wasn’t always this accomplished. ‘Before we renovated, the house was a bland 1980s box. It was entirely devoid of personality,’ she recalls. From the Arabesque arch doorways – a shape she fell in love with in the south of Spain – to a Moroccan-inspired courtyard, the house now has elements of each of the cultures that resonate with her. This applies to the furniture too: The mix of carefully selected one-offs, auction finds and antiques initially seems like a bit of a motley crew, but a pattern soon emerged.

Statement pieces pop against the shell she’s created. ‘I love dark colours, but
black was too extreme and I thought my children might find it a bit morbid – so I chose a bovine colour which is cocooning and calming, but not flat,’ she observes. Ebony-stained, stripped wooden floors
and marble continue the monochromatic thread. Indeed, the dark wood floors, and white and grey walls have a serenity about them that’s almost Zen.

Statement pieces pop against the shell she’s created. ‘I love dark colours, but
black was too extreme and I thought my children might find it a bit morbid – so I chose a bovine colour which is cocooning and calming, but not flat,’ she observes. Ebony-stained, stripped wooden floors
and marble continue the monochromatic thread. Indeed, the dark wood floors, and white and grey walls have a serenity about them that’s almost Zen.

Morocco was also a big influence on Yolanda’s vision, and elements of Moorish architecture were incorporated from the word go. The world tour continues further west as you come upon an elegant outdoor dining scene, where a decorative lantern hanging above cane chairs in the courtyard just screams French countryside, as does
a generous raw oak refectory table over in the dining room. The house is definitely geared towards entertaining and outdoor living, the open-plan spaces flowing into one another smoothly. But it’s the courtyards Yolanda has created that are the true jewels in the crown – one a Moroccan-inspired walled room with a star-shaped water feature as its centrepiece, built during the renovation. It’s so evocative that you can almost hear the noise from the souks.

With all these concurrent influences, the interior has clearly been thought through (despite the pieces having
been collected over time), but the spaces aren’t stiff. Instead, they have been styled rather than planned. Loose arrangements of incongruous objects are a clue as to Yolanda’s day job – styling clothes is always a less permanent affair than furniture and it shows here, with plants hooked casually on a ladder or an artwork leaning up against a wall. These pieces can easily be reshuffled to accommodate her next find.

‘The way I decorate is instinctual. There aren’t any rules,’ she admits. ‘I never quite know where I’m going to end up.’ Said like a true traveller.

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