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Proudly South African – Innovative Home-Grown Joinery Design | Meet the man behind CCMI

Meet Jean Booyens The Man Behind CCMI

Article by Yolandi Booyens

Yolandi Booyens, joined the team at CCMI in February 2019. She has a background in publishing and graphic design, and a keen interest in interior design and architecture.

Published September 20, 2021

Innovative Home-grown Joinery Design

Heritage Day is just around the corner, so we decided to find out more about the man behind the magic at CCMI.  We asked him to tell us a bit about himself and what inspires him, but first, we step into his world…

Take a look inside the Scarborough home of Jean Booyens, founder and director of CCMI. 

Here Jean’s innovation and design skills are beautifully demonstrated through this personal passion project showcasing his unique home-grown style.

A visual feast of textures and tones

Upon entering the front door one feels compelled to explore and devour a visual feast of textures and tones. The herringbone pattern of the reclaimed pallet-wood ceiling draws the eye into the open-plan living space, with the open staircase beckoning one to investigate upstairs.

Jean’s sense of adventure, and his love for South Africa and South African art, is visible throughout. The protea coat stand by the front door was inspired by many hours spent exploring Table Mountain and its unique flora. A multi-dimensional shelf built to display curiosities, art, and books, cleverly conceals a closet providing storage beneath the stairs. At the centre of the living room stands a coffee table crafted as a homage to the time spent in the United Kingdom as a young man – each colour of the British flag represented by a different type of wood.

Always thinking out of the box, Jean designed the ground-floor burglar proofing around the silhouette of a bush-veld tree in laser-cut steel. What’s more is that the whimsical characters from Edward Lear’s The Owl and The Pussycat are included in the design, as the poem is a family favourite and also happens to be the name chosen for the property.

A beautifully crafted dining table, with chevron detail and cutout legs, stands at the centre of the open-plan dining space offering an inviting place to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal or the choice pickings off the braai.

Images: Airbnb

Sustainable kitchen design

Sustainability, affordability, and durability were all priorities and the only limitations for the design, which allowed Jean to create a truly unique kitchen. Masculine and feminine elements are juxtaposed with industrial influences and organic materials playing off of one another to create balance in the space. The cabinet doors have handles incorporated directly into a modern steel frame, surrounding natural wood fronts. The concrete countertops were cast on-site, around the existing gas hob, creating a sleek modern look and providing a durable work surface without breaking the bank.

Images: Airbnb

Kick back and relax

A comfortable bamboo-framed sofa was dreamed up and brought to life for the upstairs lounge, creating a space where the family can kick back, relax, and enjoy time together.  Deliberately understated, the media unit is of little distraction to the serenity of the space, with the TV all but forgotten as afternoons are spent dreamily breathing in the scent of the Atlantic Ocean.

A light and airy atmosphere prevails in the bedrooms, with simple clean-lined bedsides and neat built-in cupboards having been installed.  For the children’s room, Jean created a built-in bunk arrangement with ample storage and enough little nooks for each of the children to let their imagination run wild.  The added feature of a pull-out bed beneath the bottom bunk comes in handy when friends stay for the night.

In keeping with the natural finishes and relaxed feel of the rest of the home, a simple free-standing vanity with vessel sinks was fitted in the family bathroom.

The joinery throughout the home tells a story, with each piece being uniquely suited to its intended purpose while showing off the many sides of Jean’s personality and skill.

Images: Airbnb

Meet the man behind the magic

Jean tells us about his proudly South African roots, his Scarborough passion project and what inspires him…

Q&A with Jean Booyens, Managing Director of CCMI

Q: Jean, tell us a bit about yourself and where you come from.

I was born in Johannesburg and raised on a smallholding in the North West province. Like most kids that grew up in small-town South Africa during the 80s and 90s, I spent my early childhood mostly outdoors riding my bicycle and really just enjoying being a carefree kid. Having grown up on a smallholding I spent a fair amount of time building primitive structures with whatever materials I could find lying around… it was great fun!

Q: Tell us a bit about your creative influences early on in life.

My mom was the art teacher at the primary school I attended, she’s always had some or other creative project on the go, so I guess she was my first creative influence and it runs in the family to a degree.

Q: How would you describe your design style?

I would consider my style mostly influenced by the modern era with an experimental approach. I love geometry, the beauty of natural grains, metals and textures. Each space is so unique so I let the architecture and environment guide me towards the end result. I’m not afraid to try bold and different combinations and always eager to explore new ways to combine elements and be different with my designs.

Q: What brought you to the world of joinery design?

After leaving school I spent a few years in the UK exploring what it was I really wanted to do with my life. I am passionate about music and aspired towards a career as a DJ, so I ended up doing a course in sound engineering. While I was studying in London I worked as a rigger for live productions, building stages for some world class acts and events. I was also involved in the art industry as a professional picture hanger gaining access to many spectacular homes. My interest in construction, interior architecture as well as joinery design, in particular, came to life. On returning to South Africa, I settled in Cape Town and I enrolled for a carpentry course. I eventually sold all my audio equipment to fund my growing need for tools and the rest is history as they say.

Q: Before CCMI came into being, you started a company called Crib Creations, tell us a bit about that.

Well, at the beginning Crib Creations was probably more of a passion project than a company. I just enjoyed exploring all the possibilities of working with mainly wood, but also other materials such as steel. It was a time for me to push creative boundaries while creating bespoke pieces of furniture for homeowners with unique tastes, and before long I was being commissioned to do complete joinery fit-outs for homes as well as for commercial properties.

Q: So, how did CCMI come into being?

While I was trading as Crib Creations, I rented factory space next to a shopfitting company called Olde Hand Interiors – in 2012 the owner retired where myself and a partner bought over the company. It was a great opportunity for us to expand the scope of our work, especially since there had been a growing interest in larger projects. We traded as two separate entities (Crib Creations and Maple Interiors) for a few years, but we realised that bringing it all together under a united banner made the most sense and that’s how we got to where we are today.

Q: What excites you the most about the future of joinery design?

I think that technology has opened so many doors for what is possible, and the boundaries of what can be achieved keep expanding. Integrating home automation systems directly into joinery design is wonderfully exciting and I’d like to see a lot more of that happening locally.

Q: We took a look inside your Scarborough home. Tell us a bit about the project and what your inspiration was.

My wife and I bought the property in 2016 – the house itself was poorly laid out and completely run down, the agent was hesitant to show it to us, but we insisted. Being a timber frame home I knew that this was an opportunity too good to miss. It needed a lot of work but it was structurally sound. We gutted the interior completely and started rebuilding on a blank canvas. I was quite excited by the prospect of what could be achieved on a limited budget, and I was definitely up for the challenge! It’s not every day that an opportunity presents itself in this profession where there are no constraints set out by a client brief, so this gave me a wonderful opportunity to create something unique.

 

Seeing as Scarborough is a conservation village and that we like to be eco-conscious, it made a lot of sense to use salvaged materials and to repurpose as much of what was already there. This of course meant that I had to think out of the box and find creative solutions. For instance, I could’ve easily installed new appliances in the kitchen, but I chose instead to cut up the existing gas hob with a grinder and cast concrete countertops to incorporate the gas burners to achieve a contemporary look. We wanted the space to have a laid-back and peaceful atmosphere, so ensuring that there was sufficient open space, and storage to keep it clutter-free was paramount.

 

We love exploring and spending time in nature, so the look was partly inspired by the natural beauty of South Africa and the rich tapestry of art and cultures that we’ve encountered through our adventures. We are also keen supporters of local artists and it was important for us to be able to bring that into our home.

Q: What part of your Scarborough project brings you the most satisfaction, and why?

The project as a whole took almost a year to complete, we worked practically every weekend demolishing and gradually rebuilding the home to what it is today. There are many unique elements in the house that I am proud of. The countertops however I felt was my biggest achievement. I had never mixed cement in my entire life, I calculated that I could mess it up at least 3-4 times before it would cost the same as outsourcing it. I made a mold and inserted the holes for the sink and the gas burners, hired a cement mixer and cast the counters on the deck outside. A week later I had a perfect cast first time round.

Are you ready to remodel?

CCMI Kitchen and Cupboard Specialists have been designing and creating kitchens for well over a decade.  Trusted by architects, interior designers and property developers to deliver high-end joinery for all applications in the home. Contact us for all of your joinery design needs – from kitchens to cupboards, custom furniture and more.  Our personalised service is guaranteed to make your remodelling project a pleasurable experience.

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