Tuesday, January 22

Rainbow reflections

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There's gold in the retro Joburg apartment given a colourful new life by local actress and the man she will soon marry?.

Zakeeya Patel says being able to interpret the personalities of her characters with emotion and spiritual connection is an important part of being an actress, but at home it’s all decor fun and every detail has its own story to tell.

A retro 1970s Illovo apartment has had new life breathed into it by Patel and her fiancé, Rob Price. The couple, due to tie the knot in November, have stamped their mark on the angular flat with reminders of travels, Patel’s obsession with colour and a large circular mirror.

The 1.3m mirror adds depth and character to the living area, reflecting the room’s retro diner for two and a floral wonderland, both living and fabric. The adjacent, enclosed patio dining area is an extension of the riot of colour, while the expansive bedroom boasts a simple floral coverlet.

“I always said I wanted a home that looked like a rainbow had thrown up in it,” she laughs, admitting she also has a thing for quirky items like a glass pelican and a gold parrot and plans to use money she won on a bet to buy beaded birds.

Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures
Patel’s definitive taste is a fusion of spiritual motifs like Buddha and Ganesh with iconic symbols and people.

A retro movie poster for The Endless Summer sports bright pinks and Patel, 29, has hung flamingo lights on the black rim. Colourful cushions and pictures of Frida Kahlo speak to her love of Mexican images.

African prints and bright colours give the white walls instant glow, and generous windows have been adorned with party lights. Even the kitchen has comic touches, and Patel says it is just big enough for the two of them to cook.

The two-bedroom flat has gleaming parquet floors throughout. Patel says they gave everything a lick of paint and a scrub after moving in.

Patel professes to be a DIY nut and her home has become a playground for her ideas and talents.

“We were lucky because a friend  recommended us for the flat. We were happy to be able to rent something big and private in this location,” she says of the home they’ve shared for 18 months.

After completing school at Greenside High in Joburg, she moved to UCT to study performance art. When she was on the brink of moving abroad after the movie 
Material, she was offered a part in the series The Wild and decided to stay in South Africa.

“I grew up in Parkhurst. My family call it Patelhurst – we’ve all lived there for so long and in so many homes.” 
The couple frequent antique shops for a lot of their furniture. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA Pictures
Situated close to Melrose Arch, the popular eating hub of Illovo, and on the doorstep of Wanderers cricket grounds, the area offers the couple easy access to the city.

This year, alongside her “bread and butter” TV show Mela, she has shot the movie Three Days To Go and the drama Shadow.

“One of the highlights of my career was producing my own show, Mnandi Me. It is a health and wellness TV show geared toward the younger viewer on health issues.” 

She has also appeared in High Rollers and Isidingo and augments this work with voice-over gigs.

She loves to entertain and says every Friday night is a dinner affair in their festive dining room.

“Rob likes to do the cooking and I love to make dessert and decorate the home with flowers.”

Every room is filled with plants that have a dark green hue to balance the sunlight and bright colours. She says visitors often joke about needing a panga to get through the rooms.

Much of the eclectic furniture was picked up in antique shops in Newlands, including an Art Deco chair bought for her by Price.

“When we moved in there were lots of neutrals. I started adding a painting here and there. I did it slowly so Rob didn’t notice. When I see something I like it’s hard not to buy it.”

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