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To have and to hold

To have and to hold

The pool deck leads off the open-plan living and kitchen and looks over Cape Town harbour.

She works with semiprecious gems, so it’s no wonder jewellery designer Keelin Pincus’s home is a medley of pretty things.

Keelin Pincus’s home is as warm and open as she is. Both possess an element of eccentricity, the mark of innate creativity. Having moved in with her younger sister Jade in December, Keelin’s lifestyle has been changed in a dramatic, yet positive, way by the four-level home in De Waterkant. As the creative director of her jewellery design brand, Kalila, Keelin was especially drawn to the fact that the property provided her an opportunity to set up a studio space in its basement – formerly the third en-suite bedroom.

Visual Delights

The two artworks in Keelin’s lounge are by artist and ceramicist Andile Dyalvane of Imiso Ceramics.

‘Working from home is great, but it has its challenges,’ she admits. ‘I am a real homebody, so waking up and rolling downstairs to the studio or being able to work late without the constraints of standard office hours is appealing. But I have to be very self motivated to get things done!’ Describing herself as ‘a visual person’, Keelin has a penchant for the exotic, one of her motivations for travelling to Israel, India and Madagascar after graduating from Michaelis School of Fine Art, where she majored in photography. It was during this time that she discovered a fascination with making gold and semiprecious gem jewellery.

Keelin set up shop at the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock’s Biscuit Mill, and the weekly ritual of getting her stand bling-beautiful and interacting with customers (and other stall owners) from all over the world makes her impossibly happy. Keelin never expected her creative flair would find yet another outlet in the furnishing and decorating of her home. ‘Doing up the house made me realise how much I enjoyed the process of decorating and how naturally it came to me. You can apply the same use of a painting palette to an interior-design scheme.’

Contemporary Aesthetic

The Beam Me Up Scotty wooden lamp in the second bedroom is by Wade Skinner of Wolf & Maiden.

The home has a clean, contemporary aesthetic comprising wood, stone, concrete and aluminium, all of which provide an ideal canvas for the quirks of Keelin’s furnishing and artwork choices. Collectively, these give the house its distinct personality. From the street-level open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, the view over the compact pool deck gives onto De Waterkant, the harbour and, beyond that, Bloubergstrand. Keelin has conveyed the vastness of the space outside seamlessly into the interiors, with the blue of the sky and sea contrasting neatly with the neutral decor palette, which is offset here and there by bright fabrics and warm splashes of colour.

Keelin’s most treasured artworks adorn the walls, among them a painting of a boy flying a kite by South African artist Sibley McAdam, as well as one of her own photographs, taken for her final-year exhibition at art school. Enjoying pride of place in her favourite room in the home – her en-suite bedroom – is an eye-popping emerald green armchair, its velvet upholstery the result of a long, tireless search.

Cape Town Lifestyle

The rooftop deck has panoramic views over the Bo-kaap all the way to the cable station on Table Mountain.

Overhanging the second-floor corridor, connecting the two bedrooms, is a remote-controlled glass skylight that leads up to the rooftop deck. Here, you are treated to a 360-degree view of Cape Town’s charms. When she’s not designing in her basement studio or selling her goods at market, Keelin enjoys the ample distractions that living in De Waterkant offers: breakfast at Loading Bay, yoga classes at Yoga Life or walks up the mountain. ‘The best part about living in De Waterkant is its central location and quaint charm – I often feel like I’m living on one of those cobbled streets in some little European village. The people who live here also contribute to its allure – I’m surrounded by young, friendly and fun neighbours.’


Keelin rates…

For breakfast: Loading Bay (30 Hudson Street, De Waterkant,, 021 425 6321)

For pasta: Il Leone Mastrantonio (22 Cobern Street, corner of Prestwich Street, Green Point,, 021 421 0071)

Candy-coloured gems form the base for many of Keelin’s designs.

For a nightcap: Chukkachurri (20 Cobern Street, Green Point, 021 421 0071)

For live music: The Piano Bar (47 Napier Street, De Waterkant,, 081 851 6000)

To unwind: Yoga Life (127 Waterkant Street, De Waterkant,, 021 418 2884)

The A to Z of De Waterkant

  • Initially, De Waterkant formed part of the Bo-Kaap, as did the area between Buitengracht Street and Long Street in Cape Town’s CBD. This all changed with the Group Areas Act of 1955 and the re-designation of the Bo-kaap.

    The soft blue light in Keelin’s studio is supplied courtesy of a window into the plunge pool on the level above.

  • Like the Bo-Kaap, De Waterkant is characterised by cobbled streets and quaint cottages, most of which retain their original facades dating back to the 18th century. Many were built by slaves from the East and other parts of Africa and the Indian Ocean countries, who were relocated to South Africa by the Dutch.
  • The Prestwich Memorial on Somerset Road in De Waterkant pays tribute to these slaves, who are responsible for building many of the areas in and around the City Centre.
  • Today, De Waterkant is one of the most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods in Cape Town and boasts countless cafés, restaurants, guesthouses and shops. It is also informally known as the city’s Pink Neighbourhood.

Contact Details

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Text: Genevieve Fisher
Photographs: Greg Cox

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