Having lived in London, Cape Town and New York City, fashion anthropologist, writer and digital content producer Kenny Morifi-Winslow has called many cities her home. But now it’s in a revamped historical building in Johannesburg that she has found a space to call her own
When Kenny Morifi-Winslow began looking for a home in Johannesburg with a central location that was close to her parents’ house in Houghton, she was drawn to Braamfontein, a bustling suburb that has become known as the cultural hub of the city. ‘I was initially looking at Maboneng or Newtown, because I wanted something that was in the city. I have never enjoyed the suburbs – they come with their own issues,’ she says. She soon discovered a modern-industrial residential building nestled next to the recently updated 44 Stanley Ave and, after moving in at the beginning of the year, has been working steadily to renovate the space into something that resonates with her personal style and passions.
The building – part of which was historically used as a refinery – features a number of different-sized sub-divided units with exposed cement counters and floors, steel beams, mezzanine levels and large windows that let in a generous amount of light. Her new space did, however, have a few undesirable elements, and Morifi-Winslow was quick to get rid of a row of built-in cabinets in the living area, dated mustard blinds and giant slate tiles in the bathroom. Now the room has been completely retiled and its blue walls repainted in a crisp white hue. Upstairs, she ripped off the bedroom’s cheap cupboard doors to reveal the rails, resulting in an exposed storage solution that is light, breezy and perfectly on trend.
Describing her aesthetic as a mixture of functional, Nordic, farmhouse and minimalist, Morifi-Winslow’s love of organic materials is immediately apparent throughout her home, where her inclusion of plants, wood, leather and woven details warms up what could very easily have been a cold, industrial apartment. A simple black-and-white colour palette creates a clean backdrop against which her personality – and a collection of new and refurbished pieces – can shine. As a self-proclaimed DIY girl, Morifi-Winslow has had a hand in upscaling items found at reclamation yards, auction houses and second-hand stores, and her living area boasts an array of repurposed finds, such as a spray-painted school locker, a hand-stained dining room table and a re-upholstered retro chair.
When she’s not discovering gems in out-of-the-way locales, one of Morifi-Winslow’s favourite places to shop for home decor is H&M Home. She often collaborates with the brand, and recently hosted a chic brunch in her home for like-minded creatives. ‘I like to have full control over the products that I choose for my home, and H&M Home produces some beautiful smaller pieces that fit into my aesthetic,’ she says.
Some of Morifi-Winslow’s most treasured items in her apartment are the artworks on display, such as a triptych of line drawings by her partner photographer Anthony Bila, who also gifted her with a specially-commissioned large-scale print by Ben Eagle for her 25th birthday. ‘Our relationship is partly built on our shared interest in art,’ she says. There are framed exhibition posters too – including one that depicts Pablo Picasso’s African period – as well as two textile stamps from Mali that remind Morifi-Winslow of the anthropology of fashion. ‘I think we are very lucky in Africa that we are connected to the roots of style and design,’ she says. ‘This is something I believe is worth celebrating.’ thethirdcitizen.com
Photographs: Sarah de Pina Styling & Production: Sanri Pienaar
Looking for more home inspiration? Read Donald Nxumalo’s Luxurious Northcliff Renovation, Juliette Arrighi de Casanova’s Bijou Kenilworth Apartment and Home Tour: A Sophisticated Green Point Apartment next.