From Cape Town to London, and now New Zealand, Interior Designer Natalie Du Bois is making a name for SA designers abroad. With multiple awards under its belt, Du Bois Design is a thriving interior design business that creates drool-worthy kitchens. The latest one that’s got our attention features Caesarstone’s Rugged Concrete. So we stepped inside and grabbed a few minutes to get to know this vivacious designer!
The history behind the designer…
With 20+ years in the industry, Natalie has experience working for high-profile companies in New Zealand, England, and South Africa. This, according to Natalie, has really helped her understand different cultural needs more than most. “I am guided by the buildings I work with and also the understanding of my clients’ personalities and preferences. I love finding out what makes them tick and how I can enrich their interior environments.”
Before she studied to be an Interior Designer, Natalie worked as a trainee chef. This has fed into her current role where she thinks of how everything must come together in a cohesive way. And of course, it’s all about the quality of ingredients that transform an average dish (or space) into a masterpiece.
“Growing up in Cape Town, I found so much of my childhood experiences inspiring. We moved house a lot and I remember my mother allowing me to design my bedroom when I was 7. I remember telling everyone I wanted a happy space and found yellow would achieve this emotion. As a teenager I helped my mom redecorate our living room where I chose the floor tiles, sofa, and fabrics.”
Designing an award-winning kitchen…
With her work featured on the cover of numerous magazines, Natalie is no stranger to the spotlight. So, when a kitchen she designed won several prestigious awards – it was another feather to add to the cap. As Natalie explains: “Each project is totally bespoke and unique to the individual client. I work with different design styles so when you see my projects, you’ll never see the same thing twice.”
This specific project features a modern industrial kitchen that was designed for a client in New Zealand. The show-stopping kitchen island is wrapped on three sides in Caesarstone’s Rugged Concrete with various strips for a striking look. “This project was for a new home in a city called Whanganui, just over 5 ½ hours away from Auckland. The house was designed by an architect who let me have free reign in the specialised areas of the house. This included the kitchen, scullery, bar room, laundry, and multiple bathrooms.”
“I feel very privileged to have grown up in South Africa. The local architecture and interiors are totally inspiring with so much diversity and creativity. This has definitely influenced my design aesthetic – and it’s why my design work is so varied. I love seeing the beauty in many different styles.”
Rugged Concrete is a refined, lady-like nod to the industrial look. With an off-polish light grey finish, this colour gives you the concrete look with the durability of Caesarstone’s surfaces. Natalie says she loves to work with Caesarstone because “there’s a range of colours to suit a variety of aesthetics. The products are user friendly and easy to maintain. As an investment, they have a variety of price points for people with different budgets. At the moment I am loving the more matt concrete looks Caesarstone has to offer.”
This modern kitchen design truly captivates the imagination – mesmerising anyone who sees it. The island cladding is is taken to another level with the surrounding LED lighting, appearing to float above the floor. The soft veneer on the back wall is the cherry on top. This original design is impactful, tactile, and expertly executed!
Natalie Du Bois (left) has lived in New Zealand for over twenty years – but still draws inspiration from around the globe.
Once you’ve gotten over the beauty of this kitchen island, there’s also a bar area for entertaining and a butler’s pantry. This kitchen was designed for a family of five, so each person needed to enjoy this space. Natalie seamlessly paired form and function together in the folded metal shelves, as well as the masterful décor and styling. She also decided to forego the obtrusive extractor fan, instead opting for a large downdraft for the integrated gas cooktop.
When it comes to finding inspiration, Natalie expands her horizons to ensure that fresh ideas have a space to flow. “It’s important to look outside of the country I live in to see what other top designers are up to. Travel is also great for influencing what I do. I love the imagination and creativity in some top hotels and other retail designs.”
“I feel there are a lot of similarities between New Zealand and South Africa – both countries have very strong cultural influences. We tend to push boundaries a lot to create different and exciting projects.”
Going with the modern and industrial theme, Natalie carefully selected a mixture of materials that would achieve this look. First and foremost, the Rugged Concrete kitchen island and backsplash start things off – with plastered concrete on the walls. Now an expansive entertainer’s paradise, this kitchen’s design incorporates interesting details and modern finishes such as the sculptural kitchen island.
Natalie’s top kitchen tips
1. Look at the big picture – even if you don’t do all at once. Understanding what you want to achieve in the long term will ensure you’re not wasting your money.
2. Invest in good design and quality kitchen hardware. Many clients have regrets because they did a half job to try and save costs.
3. Think about what you and your family’s needs are. Write a list of what is the most important and work from this. Save images from Pinterest and give your designer as many references to work with.
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