Paula Nel's Caoe Town apartment as seen in DECO's winter issue. Photographs Greg Cox Production Sven Alberding/ bureaux.co.za

As a personal chef to Hollywood A-listers, Paula Nel travels the globe, gathering many treasures and artworks that find their home in her down-to-earth Cape Town apartment.

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The kitchen revamp included taking down the glossy factor, and introducing a rough wooden island. Photographs Greg Cox Production Sven Alberding/ bureaux.co.za

A successful career as a personal chef to the stars, spanning over 15 years, has seen Paula Nel amass treasures from around the globe – from delicate ceramics found in Egypt, to handcrafted Japanese knives from Tokyo, to Jorge the armadillo sculpture from New York. These collectables and aesthetic details make the personal space very much her own, but Paula also made structural changes such as adding an outdoor terrace and installing the wooden plantation-style shutters. Sections of the exposed red brick was painted white and the epoxied floors changed to cement screed floor.

Treasure hunting can be hard work but its worth it to surround yourself with these amazing items that each tell a story – theirs and your own

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Paula loves collecting items with a sense of history and a story. Photographs Greg Cox Production Sven Alberding/ bureaux.co.za

Of course, being a professional chef means the kitchen space is top of the list and Paula changed this from a very slick, glossy feeling to more homely and introduced a rough wooden island with open shelves displaying more covetable items collected from her work travels.

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Cement screed floors and wooden plantation shutters made the space feel more like Paula’s own style. Photographs Greg Cox Production Sven Alberding/ bureaux.co.za

After being in far-flung locations for work, home time for Paula means having friends over for dinner and watching movies on the projector screen in the cosy, comfortable living room. Looking to expand your friend circle Paula?

Original Text Vicki Sleet Production Sven Alberding Photographs Greg Cox/ all bureaux.co.za


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Read the full article on page 109 of our Winter Issue, on shelves now!


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The Winter Issue is all about de-cluttering, de-teching and slowing everything down. Packed with inspiration and ideas for making your home a sanctuary, we share the ultimate comfort food recipes, master the art of nesting and take you on a tour of the dreamiest hideaways. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #WinterIssue.