Welcome back to Small Fry Home Tours! Today we have Diane Schallert all the way in Cape Town South Africa – she blogs at Wholly Mother and has quickly become an online friend of mine. So happy to share her amazing space today! Welcome, Diane!
“In 2008, after only dating for a few months, my husband broke up his band and I quit my job as a receptionist at an advertising agency. We sold nearly everything that we owned and moved to the Big Island of Hawaii to volunteer with an international NGO. Two weeks after we arrived, in the parking lot of Pololu Valley, steeping with waterfalls, cliffs, and a black sand beach, he proposed to be with a ring that he had hidden in my backpack. He said he couldn’t wait to hike all the way down into the valley, so I said a very sure of myself, “yes” by the trash bins in the parking lot. Nine weeks later we were married and two weeks after that we were in Afghanistan teaching English in a children’s school and distributing food rations to villages that had been experiencing a drought. For the next three years, before welcoming our first baby, we spent most of our time traveling, India, Panama, Pakistan, Haiti, Jordan, Mozambique, Norway, Finland, USA. Our home base was Hawaii and when we were there we stayed in a studio apartment. All of the work that we do is on a volunteer basis and our salary is paid by donors. We never dreamed of owning a house and were quite content with the contents of our suitcases and the midcentury couches that we had gotten for free on Craigslist (that we later had to get rid of because the cat stench from the previous owners was just too overwhelming). 10 years and 4 kids later, we have found ourselves, through a series of miracles, living in our dream home and putting down roots in South Africa. We found this house when it was nearly completed and every detail felt like it was made for our family, right down to the exposed brick wall and vaulted ceilings. In South Africa, we don’t have one-stop shopping giant hardware or superstores, so much of what you see is custom designed. We got to pick the finishing touches, like the screed concrete floors and the subway tile backsplash, the Smeg oven, and the floating shelves. We are inspired by open space, clean lines, and good acoustics. This house has all of that! It is designed in the shape of an H so the bedrooms are all in their own corridor of the house. This is the perfect setup for putting the kids to bed and inviting friends over to entertain.
A few months ago we added the loft in the bedroom that my 4 and 6 year old share. We wanted to create a cozy, yet functional, playroom/homeschool room, away from the main living space that all four of our kids could play together in. The loft gives the room dimension, while separating the play space from the sleep space. At first the ladder seemed daunting as I imagined my four year old coming down in the middle of the night for a drink of water (or to find any other excuse to not stay asleep) but the builder custom designed the railing to be kid-friendly and so far we haven’t had a single mishap. Another feature of this room that I love is the house shelf. I saw a similar shelf in a shop and asked to buy it. It was part of their display and not for sale so I explained it to our builder and I was so thrilled with the end result that he produced. We got this double sided carpet when my eldest daughter was a baby and used it for a few months. We moved so much in the past five years that it got packed away and I only recently found it again. I love the vibrancy it brings into the room (the flip side is even brighter).
We try to keep toys that spur on imaginative play, are versatile and incorporate as many natural elements as possible (which has proven to not be very difficult since my children insist on collecting and hoarding rocks, dead palm leaves, and pincushion flowers from the neighbors bushes any time we are outdoors). I love this story and this space and this fam! I have come to find that you can tell a lot about a person based off the art or words they hang in their kids’ rooms. This is so good and you can tell the Schallert’s value authenticity in every are of their life.
House shelf: custom // Table and chairs: Mambo’s Plastics Warehouse // Double sided carpet: Mr. Price (similar: Kazimah Carpets) // Wicker doll pram: vintage, thrifted // Play Kitchen: Hape (40% off) // Wooden Waves and Fire: Grimms Wooden Toys // We Brave Women Cards: Ashmae // Dolls house: Hape (50% off!) // Wooden Sewing Machine: Wooden Toy Junction // Wooden Blocks: Harp and Lyre Co. // Basket on Shelf: Mr. Price // Wire basket: Mr. Price // Small African baskets: thrifted // Flower Mirrors: H&M Home // Clothing Rail: SimplyHome // Height Chart: Sticky Things // Beds are bunkbeds that we dismantled and shortened the legs // Bedding: H&M Home // Black and White Circle Carpet: Urban Outfitters // Speak The Truth Print: local south african shop
Subway tile: Similar: American Olean at Lowes // Bar stools: @Home Store // Kelim: Afghanistan (similar Kazimah Carpets) // Oven: Smeg // Nesting spatulas: JosephJoseph // Glasses: Woolworths // Dishes: @Home Store // Trivets: Present Space (local south african shop) // Throw Pillows: H&M Home // Couch: @Home Store “Henning 3 Seater” // Table w/attached benches: Bespoke- Marc Pincente // Table Runner: H&M Home // Vase: Woolworths // Magazine Holder: Mr. Price // Fabric Plant holder: Mr. Price
Leather Couch: “Capri Corner Unit” @HomeStore // Wooden bench: IKEA // Throw pillows: all H&M Home except Kelim Pillow Case (similar Kazimah Carpets) // Rug: Urban Outfitters // Faux Fur throw: Target // Wooden Chair: @Home store