Hidden in plain sight, this soulful heritage home marries a century of history with a showstopper collection of contemporary African art.
Quietly set at the foot of Table Mountain, tucked away behind greenery, this pastel pink heritage home (the color choice a tribute to the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson hotel nearby) offers a stylish escape in the heart of Cape Town. Far enough from the flash and dash of the city that the feeling of seclusion and privacy is absolute, when in reality, it’s only a short walk from neighborhood cafes, chic design stores and must-try restaurants. ‘You wouldn't know there’s anyone for miles, it’s very private,’ says the homeowner, who carefully updated the flow of rooms, as well as their interiors, to bring this grande dame firmly into the present.
Built in the 1920s by a timber merchant and designed by a Dutch architect, the original build was all dark, wood-paneled rooms. ‘We wanted to create a more Scandinavian feeling – informal, soothing, a sanctuary – that still maintained the unusual architecture of the home,’ says the owner. ‘So we opened up the spaces to allow in more light while also extending the garden and adding a pool room-cum-yoga studio.’ The resulting alfresco space is reminiscent of a classic Italian courtyard garden; verdant and cocooning and, with all the doors open, becoming an extension of the home’s living area. With Cape Town’s beautifully warm summers, and the simpossible closeness of Table Mountain (it feels like it is quite literally in the garden), this space is transformed into one of the city’s most enchanting outdoor spaces. ‘Sitting on the loungers, having a morning coffee, and looking at the mountain – it’s such a fantastic view.’ Inside, rooms are decorated to stylishly hygge effect – think elegant, Nordic furniture pieces, a palette of natural materials and textures and calming tones of blue and gray.
Today, the home spans two generous levels, with the communal areas – library, kitchen (‘I love to cook, so I wanted an open plan kitchen where you can easily entertain’), living and dining rooms and pajama lounge – on the ground level, leading out onto the pool terrace and garden. Upstairs, the four, en suite bedrooms offer peace and quiet. ‘The terrace off the master bedroom is perfect for sundowners, we’ll often spend summer evenings here watching the sunset over Cape Town and the mountains behind Bloubergstrand,’ says the homeowner. There is a separate apartment – complete with kitchen, dining and living areas as well as two en suite bedrooms – a level below, opening up onto the house’s stepped front garden, as well as a private wine cellar with space to host tastings and parties. In fact, there isn’t a room in the house that isn’t spoiled for views, looking out either on the surrounding mountains, forests or onto the shimmering city below. For more outdoorsy guests, the home’s enviable location offers on-the-doorstep hiking trails and easy mountain walking paths.
However, with its many virtues, it is the home’s collection of contemporary African art that really sets it apart. ‘We take an unstructured, eclectic approach to collecting pieces, so there’s a mix of new artists and more established names,’ says the homeowner. ‘We’re running out of wall space!’ From a dreamy Jake Aikman landscape in the landing to Lorraine Loots and Paul Edmunds in the living areas while, downstairs, you’ll spot works by Kudzanai Chiurai, Mongez Gum and Deborah Bell – the home essentially doubles as a live-in gallery of the continent’s most important names in art and culture. ‘We love art, we love wine – and South Africa is so great for both.’