The Victorians were known as great collectors, so it feels fitting that the owners of this late Victorian architectural gem by Sir Herbert Baker channel that connoisseur spirit, albeit with contemporary South African art as their focus. From the moment you walk into each of the high-ceilinged rooms it’s a voyage of discovery – established artists on the international scene, emerging artists, anonymous prints fallen in love with in the back rooms of auction houses, commissioned works, Ardmore ceramics and family collectables. People and portraits are a recurring theme in a wide spectrum of styles – Marie Stander, Mia Chaplin, Johann Louw, Georgina Gratix, Kate Gottgens and Colbert Mashile are just a few of the artists you’ll encounter as you settle into this historic urban retreat.
Tucked between two churches on a hill, and once a parsonage, the substantial home is a sanctuary away from the city buzz, but still connected to it. It’s within walking distance of Kloof Street’s vibrant restaurant scene but opens on to secluded gardens, complete with a protected courtyard with Table Mountain views (gloriously scented with wisteria each spring). The only room where you are aware of the sounds of the city is in the gloriously old-school conservatory, with its huge arched windows, exotic plants and orchids. It’s truly timeless. ‘I wanted a room where I could drift off into another world,’ says the owner. ‘When guests arrive they tend to stop here and don’t want to move further. It’s a wonderful space to have tea, read your book or newspaper and play board games.’
This Victorian sensibility interpreted with contemporary quirkiness continues in the cosy study with its deep armchairs, fireplace, stuffed peacock and dark green walls chockful of large paintings. A Kate Gottgens called ‘At the Airport’, always reminds the owner of his travel experiences. The green shades are lighter and brighter in the kitchen, matching a fresh bamboo-patterned wallpaper in the adjoining breakfast room, and fade to light sage in the formal living room where ceramic parrots and tigers survey the scene, then a warm grey-green in the dining room, one wallpapered with a pine tree landscape blown up from a Dutch artwork.
Up the stately wooden staircase, presided over by a huge bolt of colour and always a talking point – a striking Matthew Hindley canvas – and another by Johann Louw, and Edith Bullen’s ‘The Protector’ as you walk towards the upstairs landing. Stained glass windows and a skylight open up this informal gallery space that adjoins three bedroom suites, each with access to balconies with striking views of Lion’s Head or Table Mountain.
The owners are animal lovers as well as art lovers, so you’ll be welcomed by resident cat, Duchess, and taken care of by full-time house manager, Joshua Chunga, both of whom make sure that Heatherfield Manor feels like a home-from-home. Two private garage parkings with direct access are the final luxury in this buzzy Cape Town location.
Read more about the collection at Heatherfield Manor here.