Imagine you buy a 2 bedroom flat on the fifth floor in a frontline block overlooking Durban’s golden mile. Imagine you have travelled extensively and have carried design ideas from all over the world with you. What do you do to your little 2 bedroom flat back home in Durban? You gut it completely, or course. You rip out every single wall and you chip off every bit of plaster from the remaining walls and ceilings, leaving you with nothing more than a blank canvas of a space that you can then do literally anything with. What’s your next move?

Well, if you’re a free spirited couple who love the surfing lifestyle you revel in the raw brutality of the space and you dress it up minimally. You leave the walls and ceiling as they are. You build a concrete island and washing station for your kitchen, a floating concrete platform for your mattress to live on (so that you can see the surf from your bed, of course) and you bring in some incredible hardwood floors along with snaking reclaimed copper conduit to carry the electricity and lighting from one place to another. What you’re left with is something that can only be described as uniquely modern and uniquely industrial. Some might also refer to it as pure design art. For others it might be a monstrous waste. I like it.

What I particularly like are the hardwood floors. Some designers looking to extend the industrial aesthetic even further might have opted for a painted or epoxied floor, which over time would definitely have aged to match the floors and ceiling’s distressed appearance. For my money the floors add a juxtaposition of luxury in a space that is staggeringly brutal. And it’s the floors that you are permanently connected to in this space, so some luxury underfoot would definitely be welcome.

The kitchen area has no cupboards, but you find a large number of drawers that house the things typical of any household. There’s also an ironing board that slides out from under the counter top. Also, built into the concrete entertainment console is a small hideaway desk. All the furniture is on castors, making it very easy to rearrange things to suit your moods, so for the owners it is a versatile, transformable space .

An aspect of the apartment that I found somewhat bothersome is the total lack of privacy in the ablutions area. You want to go to the loo? You’re doing that in front of whoever else is in the room, so having gran and gramps around for Sunday lunch would make for interesting situations! Or even having friends over for drinks in the evenings. Erm, awkward. Unless you’re bohemians, of course. While this might appeal to that element of society, it does reduce the marketability of the apartment to only those types of people. Maybe in Cape Town this would hold sway, but in the much more conservative Durban area it certainly doesn’t appeal to that many buyers.

Whatever your tastes are I am sure you will appreciate the unique nature of this space.