HomeSmart LivingSummer homes are made in winter

Summer homes are made in winter

Yes, you heard it right! It may sound counterintuitive, but winter is the perfect time to begin preparing your home so that it is ripe and ready to shine bright in the summer sun.

In her many years of experience as a top Cape Town interior designer, behaviour specialist, and owner of the Kim Williams Design studio, Kim Williams has learned that the best thing about being hunkered indoors during the cold winter is the downtime it gives to renovate, redecorate, and rejuvenate your home spaces.

“In winter, we naturally tend to prepare our spaces for comfort, warmth, and protection from the harsh elements. There’s plenty of candles, fluffy blankets, throws and textured carpets for added layers. Even our seating areas are rearranged so that we get maximum exposure to that crackling fireplace,” Kim says.

Despite this period of cocooning, there is also the prospect of seeing brighter, longer days during the approaching summer. In an exclusive interview, she explains four of the ways she goes about crafting the perfect summer oasis.

Reconnecting with colour

Interior spaces are now becoming more expressive and personal which has transformed our relationship with colour into a beautiful love story. There is no denying that colour brings joy and peace, a sense of fun and life.

In a recent re-do of the Coleman AirBnB Studio, I used a soft pastel colour palette that inspired feelings of being outdoors, drinking in views of the ocean and being washed over with feelings of serenity and calmness.

Tones of turquoise and apple greens combined with a beautiful ocean themed wallpaper and pops of gold on the bathroom vanity amalgamate to create a modern and peaceful atmosphere that engages your senses but feels harmonious at the same time.

Creating more with less 

Like it or not, the concept of micro living is here to stay, especially with the escalating property prices, making it more costly to buy more space. Our only alternative is to shape our existing spaces and create premium dual living areas that turn previously unused space into practical, functional, and integrated parts of the home.

This is exactly what we did in a bedroom recently designed in Constantia where a previously unused space in the closet was transformed into a glamorous dressing area. We focused on increasing functionality and being mindful of waste  by building on what existed rather than create something entirely new.

Although creating space is a particular challenge in a micro space it isn’t impossible. We had to remove the ceiling in the loft area of the Coleman AirBnB Studio. so that the extra ceiling height space could be used to house an additional sleeping and relaxation area.

We also added a dry wall in front of the bathroom to create privacy to the open plan lounge area, as well as crafted a discreet space for laundry. I used colour to help zone off the separate spaces and planted furniture strategically to create distinctive areas for cooking, eating, working, relaxing, and using the bathroom.

Again, the unused space under the staircase was also given a new purpose. By just adding a built-in desk, the area can now double up as either a workstation, extra serving or eating areas. A server was also added behind the sofa for extra counter space or to serve as an additional bar, which creates even greater functionality.

Being sensitive to small joys
It is often difficult to find a momentum of calm in a world that feels chaotic, busy, and over-polluted with information and stuff. This chaos plays with our creativity, and use of colour, producing layered spaces that are a medley of old and new items.

It’s called expressiveness and it helps ensure our spaces are not just personal to us, but they exude happiness, peacefulness, energy, and stimulation. You can see the bold use of colours and textures in the Constantia bedroom which goes against the typical neutral colours that are usually used in a bedroom.

Instead of simply copying and pasting design styles and principles, these unique and vivid colours combine with soft curtaining and foliage prints to add a playfulness and sexiness to the space while still retaining a harmonious feel that is at one in nature.

Establishing a grounding 

Grounding is about using a space to connect us to a sense of tranquillity and peace that makes us feel happy. Winter is the perfect time to recharge and establish a disconnection to useless information and instead, connecting to what evokes a positive emotion within us – be it nature, colour, or sentimental items.

The existing light green of the cupboards in the Constantia bedroom, combined with red embroidered headboard was the source of inspiration for this space but I added navy to continue the colour journey, grounded the red and brightened the green. I used texture in the new wallpaper and fabrics to engage the senses and make it feel luxurious and peaceful, then repeated the colour journey into the new dressing room space.

Taking your home from winter to summer isn’t difficult but the trick is not to wait until the last minute to start preparing. Take advantage of the serenity and calmness during winter to carefully plan and execute your perfect summer haven. A few small tweaks to your layout and paying attention to details like colours and textures, can help you create a beautiful and welcoming home that you’ll enjoy all summer.

For more tips from Kim Williams, sign-up for her blog at or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @kim_williams_design.


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Kim Williamsis a top interior designer in Cape Town, a 2022 Loeries Interior Design finalist, and author of My Yellow Room.Kim has carved a niche for herself as a creative behaviour strategist focused on designing interior spaces. She is known for her unique approach to interiors which blends creative, behavioural and design strategies and is a well-respected entrepreneur having founded the full-service interior design studio - Kim Williams Design.