A beautiful old Yeoville block filled with vintage treasures and heritage hand-me-downs is home to intrepid traveller Maria McCloy.
When journalist, publicist and accessories designer Maria McCloy moved to Joburg in 1997, it was vibrant and exciting Yeoville that appealed to her most.
It was colourful and people from all over the continent lived there.
After living with friends in Sunninghill, she fell head over heels with a ‘magnificent’ apartment block built in the 1920s, perched high on a hilltop in a quiet street in Yeoville. The sprawling views of Ponte Tower from the back patio sealed the deal. ‘It makes me fall in love with Joburg every morning when I look out of my kitchen window! There’s also a wonderful spirit in my building, we know each other and I have good friends upstairs and downstairs.’
Maria has decorated her apartment with bright African accents, mimicking her accessories line.
I’m very happy to have a place you can tell is mine – it reflects my history, my family, the things I love, my passions and where I’ve been. It’s filled with African and heritage items with a global, urban, modern twist.
When asked if she shares her home with anyone, she laughs. ‘My study contains all my African-print shoes, clutches and suitcases from my range – so I share my home with my lovely stock!’
The kitchen is one of her favourite spots, and also one that needed a bit of work. ‘I knocked things down, rearranged and had concrete flooring put in. It was my first proper renovations project.’
Maria has collected a lifetime’s worth of objets d’art from her travels through Africa and abroad, with interesting finds welcoming you around every corner in the flat. ‘I’d love to travel the world buying indigenous design in Africa, parts of Asia and Latin America. I bought some much-loved items in Lagos and in parts of India. I have paintings from my parents when they lived in Sudan and cloth from when we lived in Nigeria. I have a Xhosa cloth and a Shangaan cushion and am lucky to have one painting and three drawings by my good friend and client, artist Kudzanai Chiurai.’
Almost every piece in her home has a personal story, from the black leather vintage chairs her parents found in a second-hand shop in Ladybrand in the Free State, to the framed dress her mother knitted for her as a child and the painted Rajahstani dolls from a trip to India. Her vintage finds are also scattered throughout the apartment, as she scours Joburg for interesting objects. ‘I bought the barber signs from a barber in Hillbrow, the Zulu wedding kist is from Mai Mai Market on Berea Road – which I love! – and the red wire chair and Ndebele paintings are from the Hospice Shop in Orange Grove.’
She loves using African prints: ‘We’re from Africa, why do we need Aztec prints?’ she says. The range began with a collection of wire earrings made in Maseru, Lesotho, and then branched into vintage clothes and bags. It now also includes African-print clutch bags, suitcases, briefcases and shoes, and she has plans to extend into decor items.
Maria also loves to entertain on her verandah, kicking back with beer and chicken wings while enjoying the view and the Saturday night vibes with her friends. This bustling, beautiful, sometimes hair-raising corner of Africa is what she calls home – and ‘all of that busyness makes me love coming home even more’.