Live with the pieces you love – a catch up with Sue
Interior designer, art collector and animal lover. This is the intro to Sue’s Instagram page @suebondinteriors – this is also how Sue and I met in 2017. New to the world of Instagram and relatively new to living in Cape Town after arriving from Guernsey in 2016, I needed an interior designer. I didn’t need an interior designer for a house, I needed to show the works of an interior designer to an inbound Grant Pierrus, The Interior Style Hunter @grantpierrus.
So, I found Sue and her wonderful pictures on Instagram and the journey begun as Sue kindly invited myself and Grant into her beautiful Clifton home which remains one of my favourite homes in Cape Town.
To cut a long story ever so slightly shorter, since then we have enjoyed each other’s journey through Instagram. Celebrated artists, collectors, interiors and property at the Art House function, kindly hosted by Mr and Mrs Bond at their beautiful home in Fresnaye and last but not least, I know I can pick up the phone at any time for a catch up, which is what we did the other day.
As I launch Hardie Property in June 2020, it is important for me not to be just about property. I personally love lifestyle which includes art, interiors, design, restaurants and the like so who better to chat to for the Hardie Minute?
For those who don’t know Sue, she is a very busy, independent family woman who likes to get the job done. She is also a woman in demand, so I was keen to find out how lockdown had been for her and the family in their newly built Fresnaye home.
A key theme in many of the conversations I have had recently is outside space. The fierce lockdown for many, made us really appreciate the outside space that we have. Sue re-iterates this point, using the outside spaces to set the dinner table up on the balcony or the lawn, enjoy the magnificent view at all times of the day and Mr Bond mowing the lawn, with stripes of course.
Can you imagine having no outside space living in a location where you have always had the freedom to walk the promenade, take in the ocean air or climb the mountain that sits behind your house? To add salt to the wound for those cooped up without even a balcony, the weather in April and May has been particularly stunning. This is where Sue and I both agreed that there will be a big movement of people and I am starting to see this bubbling already. I had a surprising number of enquiries from buyers during lockdown but even more so in the last two weeks. The interest isn’t just local as in Cape Town. The Johannesburg buyers are definitely on the radar and the international buyers are watching with an opportune eye as they assess the combination of the attractive exchange rate and sellers who need to sell.
I wanted to know how Sue felt about her home through lockdown living with one of her grown up children and husband Craig. Filled with so much art and beautiful pieces, did she appreciate her surroundings more? Sue said that she has appreciated the different spaces rather than just walking through them. The space is ample but it is very open plan. How does that work with a husband who spends a lot of time on the phone/Zoom calls and on an American time zone? Ironically, son Simons’ bedroom which was made private for a teenager who loves to game, has become the office. Other spaces in the house have been moved around to make them more practical to use and to clean. Spaces and possessions have been cleared and the family has become more resourceful.
I shared with Sue, Lifestyle versus Livestyle, looking at spaces more pragmatically, their use and the flow of the house in this new era. If people don’t move after lockdown, they will certainly look at renovating their homes to suit their new Livestyle. Renovations and house moves are good for any economy
The lockdown has also been good for relationships. Not only have couples/families been thrown together like never before in recent times but they have been encouraged to share responsibilities. Like any teamwork, there is a real feel of accomplishment when you have completed a task. There has also been an abundance of kindness and sharing during lockdown with many households including the Bond’s making up food parcels for the less privileged. When the going gets tough, South Africans are amazing at pulling together.
As we freshly enter into Level 3 lockdown, what next? We both felt that many people will remain working from home. After 60 plus days in lockdown, introverted tendencies will have crept in and are we really ready to start mixing with others in offices and the like?
Sue feels strongly and I agree, that there will be another large semigration to Cape Town from cities like Johannesburg which was last seen in 2015/2016. She also feels that people will want to compensate for their loss in lockdown, it’s human nature. It will likely make people more impulsive but also more decisive when it comes to purchasing their next home or investment property.
I have to chuckle, as I write this on the 1st June. After our chat last week, Sue completely re-styled her kitchen by bringing all her white ceramics to the kitchen and cleared the shelves. Click here for the full post. Apparently it was my fault.
Problems with freight flights is causing Sue and her clients their own headaches and project managing current projects was not an essential service. Like many of us, everything came to a standstill. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as South Africa emerges from its tough lockdown and we are allowed to start slowly edging back to normality or the new normal.
I shared with Sue that as well as setting up Hardie Property during lockdown, we were meant to move house right at the beginning of lockdown which was frustrating. Couple that with home schooling two boys, a husband who has an incredibly busy job and is on the phone all day plus a new kitten and puppy, we couldn’t be busier! Exciting times though and I am always glass half full. I feel there is a real opportunity in the market for an independent agent who can offer a high level of service and not be just about the sale. After 17 years in real estate, I am very patient and I enjoy finding the right property for a buyer and matching it to your lifestyle or should we now say livestyle.
Thank you Sue for the catch up. Keep being an inspiration and I hope you get to be a family re-united in the not too distant future.