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La Grange Interiors: Boutique Hotel Transformation

Sumari Krige from La Grange Interiors transforms a former holiday rental into a homely Boutique Hotel through a discerning use of striking patterns in accent features.

When the owners of The Thatch House, a family villa on the Hermanus lagoon, decided to transform the property from a holiday rental into a boutique hotel, they sought the timeless approach of La Grange Interiors’ Sumari Krige for the much-needed interior revival.

‘They wanted something that wasn’t going to date,’ Sumari says of the once English country-style private abode, now The Thatch House Boutique Hotel, that needed to appeal to a modern holiday-maker.

Keeping with La Grange’s philosophy of mixing classics with fresh elements, the only change made to any structures was to paint them black, instantly imbuing the interiors with a renewed level of sophistication.

‘Everything we could reuse, we painted in black, so we used a hell of a lot of black chalk paint on that mahogany-coloured cherry wood they utilised 15 years ago when the house was built,’ Sumari laughs. ‘We painted vanities, built-in features, joinery, chests of drawers, servers…’ Respecting the historical nature of the classic thatch house, traditional furniture that was salvageable was reupholstered, offering an opportunity for a contemporary approach to fabric application and the introduction of print and pattern.

‘Where 10 years ago we would have used a natural linen, nowadays we make furniture current by using a lot of pattern,’ she reveals. However, it was the sheer volume of the rooms that informed her decision to let loose fully on pattern-mixing.

A colossal open-plan living area divided into two lounges and a dining space, and four unusually expansive bedroom suites, each giving onto a children’s room, were doused with contemporary patterns in her quest to create the intimate, homely atmosphere that the hotel owners required. ‘You can probably fit four regular hotel rooms into one of these bedrooms, so the pattern we used was never too big or too much.

‘It honestly disappears, and helps make the humongous rooms feel smaller and more cosy.’ Wallpaper cleverly connects the main suites to their welcome nooks, passageways, lounge areas, bathrooms (some with separate his and hers) and children’s rooms, with focal walls covered in theme-specific applications that are referenced in either the colour of a cushion or ottoman, or by means of a patterned rug, tying each suite together.


In the downstairs living room, it’s the two chimneys mirroring each other on both ends of the 35-metre-long space that hold this vast area together. ‘Modern chimneys are so small, so these oldfashioned eight-metre-high ones were such fun to play with,’ Sumari says of her unconventional decision to wallpaper them in a monochromatic 3D graphic print. ‘When you walk into the room, the impact is instantaneous.’

Although a mezzanine library occupies the overhead space in this room, it’s the giant black dome lights from La Grange’s contemporary handmade Indian lighting range that offer visual attraction at this level. ‘We tried to lower the ceiling height with these lights, painting them gold inside to reflect more warm light,’ she explains. Custom-made metal wall lights were dotted around the room for additional accent illumination, adding to the welcoming home-from-home environment.

With a swimming pool flanking either side of this living area, one overlooking the lagoon and the other facing the Klein River Mountains, as well as a putting green, treehouse and tennis court, the atmosphere is one of ultimate relaxation for the entire family. ‘It’s not pretentious, and you don’t get the idea of being in a hotel,’ Sumari says. ‘It really feels like you’re at home, where the emphasis is on comfort and finding a spot where you can chill.’

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