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A fun conversation topic, one that opens up the windows to stranger’s souls, the doors to their ideas, and the closets to their taste, is on the prospect of building one’s very own home. I think it’s safe to say, at some point in our lives, we all dream about doing it. One day. When there’s enough time, desire and, um, money, we’ll put pen to translucent paper, hay to the bale, brick to the block, and begin. What starts out as a simple, rough sketch of a floor plan, gradually turns into a beautifully illustrated work of art on what furniture goes where. Some still to be purchased, not yet included in the budget of the build. The Tom Dixon sofa will sit there and the Cherner walnut book shelves up there. The Kilim, from that time we were in Istanbul, should go there, and my special French cooking pots will be hanging right there. A barrage of inspiration, too hot to handle, turns a dream into a showstopper of a property. What began with humble mumbles of minimalism, quickly becomes a “Darling we’re only ever gonna do this once, so let’s go big, or go home.” To which I can only but imagine the response would be something like, “Yes but if we do, Sugar-pie, we won’t have one.”

I believe, with total adulation, that’s how it went down with the owners of The Copper House. They have not only given us a seduction session on the art of interiors, but into the windmills of their minds, too.

The Copper House, up in the Zwaanswyk hills overlooking the Southern Suburbs of the Cape and all the way to the surfers of Muizenberg, is a product of love, passion and a clear, distinct vision. Built from scratch, this 3-bedroomed hideaway, that took three years to build, is a tribute to travel, and the influence it has on design.  White-face brick, red-face brick, stained cement floors, naked timber, bovine and copper dance around together, doing one happy dance. With over one hundred olive trees scattered around the garden, betwixt the Stellenbosch oak, the eucalyptus and the thorn. Heirloom antiques from a grandfather, who was a captain of his own ship, exploring the world, collecting pieces for his very own dream home he’d build one day. Books, baskets, free-standing bathtubs admiring a Philip Briel’s landscape. Water-coloured wallpapers, coral curtains, an Nguni low-slung recliner, and French doors opening out to the vast verandah. All of it transforms the dance to slow motion.

This hideaway follows the intention of the owner to build a new house, old. With a farmhouse feel, a safari look, a well-travelled tale and a family’s soul.

What I admire most about The Copper House is the discreet gesture that the great, great grandfather made, with his prized possessions, quickly becoming the undercurrent of the foundation in this home. One day, when the oaks are soaring and the olives are giving fruit, the owner’s  great, great grandchildren will be taking shade beneath. One man’s chest of drawers is another man’s home.

What we love!

  • The upside, downside construct of the house where two of the bedrooms open out onto the lawn and long swimming pool, with the entertainment happening upstairs in the vast open-plan kitchen, living and dining space.
  • Evenings with the crickets chirping and the firewood crackling from the open fire pit.
  • The expansive living area with its rich textures and soft, get-lost-in-me sofas playing audience to the copper-framed fireplace. Cue a game of charades on a chilly, wintry night.
  • The phenomenal views stretching out over the trees and down into the valley below.
  • The impressive collection of art hanging on the walls, from notable local artists including David Riding, Derric van Rensburg and Philip Briel.

What you need to know…

  • The property is in close proximity to the Constantia wine region, home to some of the country’s finest restaurants and wine estates.
  • Silvermine Nature Reserve is a short drive away, up the scenic pass that wraps around the mountain. A fun family excursion for some picnicking, hiking and swimming in the natural, coca-cola coloured waters.
  • Although more than a 30-minute drive from the centre of the Mother City, the southern region offers a whole different perspective of the mountain, a feel for village life, an abundance of activities in nature, and spectacular sunrises.

Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie

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Sleeps 6

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Zwaanswyk, Constantia

A fun conversation topic, one that opens up the windows to stranger’s souls, the doors to their ideas, and the closets to their taste, is on the prospect of building one’s very own home. I think it’s safe to say, at some point in our lives, we all dream about doing it. One day. When

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