An immaculately restored and appointed pair of 160-year-old houses in the pastoral enclave of Montagu, Jonkmanshof 20 and 30 Bath (three doors away in the same street) are the handiwork of chef, interior designer and creative tour de force Jacques Erasmus and his partner Hein Liebenberg. A true labour of love that took years to complete, both houses were renovated with a sensitivity and respect for their architectural heritage that gives them gravitas as well as offering a travel experience to another era.
Carefully and eclectically combined antiques and art are layered in such a way that they feel accumulated over time - curated rather than decorated. But while Jacques is a talented interior designer, his approach is so much more holistic than just touching on the visual appeal of a space. And it’s his signature attention to sensory detail that is the real x-factor here, which comes through in every element of a stay. From crisp, exquisite linen and mohair blankets, to beautifully crafted meals with only the freshest produce (some of it from the garden), fireplaces (there are no TVs) and fresh flowers in the hallway, the focus here is on creating an immersive experience removed from the trappings of the ‘modern’ world. Instead the focus is on daily rituals and the personal touches that make a space feel like home.
Jacques is masterful at this and the elegant, restful bathrooms encapsulate just how much magic there is to be found in slowing down. A bouquet of fragrant herbs tied to the taps in the freestanding tub, sculpture and antiques all elevate the ordinary to an art and encourage you to soak in your surroundings. Fresh flowers are always seasonal, picked that day on their garden plot in the village and if you linger long enough you’ll discover a floral Dutch master alongside an ancient flower press (some of Jacques’s best known floral artworks are found in far-flung corners of the world like the Amazonian water lily pads at Kubili House).
Jacques and Hein have taken it a step further still, with homeware and items you can buy at their beautiful neighbouring store De Nagmaal and take home – from preserves using fruit from their own garden, home-made liqueurs and citrus scented candles to ceramics, all celebrating the beauty to be found in time-honoured tradition. And you might even discover their quirkiest artwork: a painting made entirely of perfectly toasted bread!
Read more about the vision of the historic Jonkmanshof houses in our Q&A with Jacques Erasmus in our Journal.