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Written by:Yvonne Kramer


What Home Means to Interior Designer Yvonne Kramer

Gerieflijk journeyed with interior designer Yvonne Kramer to discover what home means to her and why she chose interior design as a career.

The pandemic has indefinitely changed our relationship to our homes. The intensity of confinement either had us dreaming up far-flung places to escape to or conjuring up ways to bring beloved remote influences and beauty into our homes to cocoon in.

For me, home is a place that offers you room to evolve. It’s a space to safely express your individuality and experiment while being free of social mores. It’s where you feel you belong.

Mojo Hotel

The interiors I created for Mojo Hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town, capture my approach to minimalism which is all about creating spaces that have a cool and clean allure.

Living in London gave me the feeling of home because it is a melting pot of different cultures and styles in constant flux. New hybrid styles and objects are created there by blending high with low fashion while building on London’s rich fashion history. Around the world, people want their homes to be as well dressed as they are. Thinking of it this way, the principles of styling are the same in both fashion and décor – you build up layers of objects that work together; some expensive and some that are more affordable; some that are pre-loved, others shiny and new – reflective of the here and now. My wish is for décor lovers to feel as confident in their home décor expression as they are about their fashion choices.

After living abroad in tiny spaces, I returned to South Africa and adopted a ‘joyfully minimalist’ approach in pursuit of living comfortably with less. This meant owning fewer items that were more personal in terms of the story they tell or, which made a statement impact in terms of shape, texture and/or living colourfully. During lockdown, I found myself reconsidering the everyday objects I surrounded myself with. What mattered most was not the brand, the expense, or even its inspiring beauty. What stood out to me were the objects that help you remember and connect to a ‘Few of Your Favourite Things’, to quote actress Julie Andrews. One of my “favourite things” is a decorative plate and glassware that makes you think about sharing a wonderful meal with family & friends.

Iris Apfel's joyful layering of texture and colour was one of my main inspirations for redirecting my career towards interior design.

Photo: Saatchi Art

On becoming a designer…

I didn’t know I wanted to be an interior designer until after I’d edited three Christmas issues of a health, wellness, and homeware magazine. In my first career as a women’s magazine editor, I tired easily of products following the routine commercial themes in retail publishing and sales, but I did love the creative curation, working with a team and finding solutions to clients’ lifestyle problems.

My mind wondered to jobs I might do up to the age of 75. What could I have tireless energy and passion for and still be relevant even at that age?

Instantly, fashion icon Iris Apfel – still cool at 99 – popped into my head. As well as the answer to my thought experiment: Interior Design. Iris cites humour & curiosity as her youth elixir. Plus, she reminds us that money doesn’t buy style. This also holds true, I believe, when making a house a home. In your home there are no constraints on interior style. Just be brave and march to the beat of your own drum.


Yvonne Kramer  |  Interior Designer

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