Our Top 10 Art Houses
Of all the wonderful things that make our hideaways so special and unique – from the serenity of the location to the sincerity of the build itself – it’s the owners’ distinctive artistic stamp on the property that transforms a holiday home into an idyllic destination. With all of the fine furnishings and luxury appliances contributing to the comfort, it’s the art that makes the home more human, and effortlessly brings the building to life.
That’s the beauty in a perfect hideaway and all of its characteristics that intrinsically come together to create one harmonious affair between your soul and its body. What hangs from the walls or lies across the floors, stands in the gardens or occupies a vacant space is all part and parcel of the ultimate holiday experience.
We’ve curated a collection of our most artistic hideaways that house an assortment of striking and sophisticated signature pieces of art adorning the walls, the ceilings, the shelves, the floors and the lawns. A subtle nod of inspiration from the owners, introducing themselves and imploring you to take comfort in their style.
Here are our gracefully arty hideaways…
Everything about Maison Noir and its sister property, Villa Verte, situated in a serene mountain backdrop in Hout Bay, sings style. The variety of the owners’ portfolio is overtly impressive with artworks from local contemporary visual artist Claudia Ongaro, sculpture by Madoda Fani and works by Michael Taylor, abstracts by Kurt Pio in the glass-lined passageway and oils by John Murray. Signature ceramics by Anthony Shapiro adorn the fine cabinetry where mixed media by expressionist painter, Floris van Zyl, hang above. In the kitchen, still life drawings by Louise Jennings, are offset by the feature Willowlamp over the James Mudge table. It’s the premeditated spaces that accommodate each piece that sing so finely in tune with the artwork.
The artwork at Patina Farm, just outside Stellenbosch, confidently expresses who the owners are, to their discerning guests. Worldly treasures of art have been collected over years of travel across the globe and even the wallpaper in the study alcove was specially commissioned from a painting by Dutch painter Hendrik Voogt, cleverly bringing the outside in and referencing the Cape Pines on the farm.
Le Jardin in the Stellenbosch wine valley is a hedonistic escape to Wonderland where the owners’ creative expression is undeniable from the inside out. Timeless heirlooms hang side by side pop art by Andy Warhol, a triptych by Lionel Smit, a standing Rocky Rocket piece by CIRCU, Austin J40 miniature cars, Afrofuturistic artist Atang Tshikare’s signature pieces of furniture and sculpture, landscapes by Pieter van der Westhuizen and mechanical mastery by Paula Louw. And of course, the outdoor Glasshouse is a work of art in itself, as is the De Gournay wallpaper throughout the house.
Located in Thornybush Game Reserve, in the Greater Kruger National Park, Kubili House is a responsible and affectionate tribute to the wilderness that surrounds it. With the grit of Kimberley stone textures – inspired by the ruins of Great Zimbabwe – and the decidedly understated interiors by botanical artist, chef and designer, Jacques Erasmus, little else needs to do the talking in this truly unique property. Artworks by Andrew Putter from his African Hospitality series and Jacques Erasmus’ own inky-black crockery and pressed, framed plants, are stand-out artistic features. Zipho (Tony) Gum photography and a timeless piece by Peter Eastman add to the drama, together with a long Donna Karan dining table.
Jonkmanshof is situated in the quaint, Klein Karoo town of Montagu and opens its Cape Dutch doors to a collection of contemporary South African art with 18th-century furnishings. Old tapestries, 10th-century Vietnamese ceramics, original Boeren Delft plates depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, collections of old turtle shells and porcelain vases are the whispers of antiquity. Mirrored by the chef/designer/botanical artist owner’s bold creative dollops of local art and his own pieces, including a black and white abstract painting made from carbonised bread and linseed oil!
Koko House in Franschhoek affectionately reflects the voguish village it sits within, depicting a fine fusion of African and European contemporary with collector’s items sourced from travels around the world. An eclectic mix of sculptures, ceramics, fine furnishings, photography, Mokgosi ink drawings and Arabic chalkboards catch your eye from pillar to post. From Anton Smit’s iconic head sculpture to Michael Chandler’s ceramics. David Ballam’s Himba Boy to John Murray’s oil portraits on canvas. Uwe Pfaff’s Angel to Otto du Plessis’ bronzed Zebra.
Lookout House in Plettenberg Bay houses a comprehensive collection of contemporary and classical art sourced from Persian and Argentinian flea markets, Parisian street markets and notable local art galleries. Works include portraits by Michael Taylor, Ian Grose and John Murray, abstract art by Tom Cullberg and Maja Marx, painter and mosaic artist Simon Stone, and pieces by Carla Busuttil.
Buitenzorg in the Constantia Winelands is an artist’s Eden with its eclectic, unfettered interiors. Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith rugs cushion the floors, while paintings by Katherine Wood, Philip Briel, Ryan Hewett and Marie Louise De Villiers Hamman adorn the walls, alongside heirloom landscape paintings by Thomas Rebok. A bold statement of a signature piece by American artist David Kessler – who uses acrylic over abraded and polished aluminium – ties in the contemporary art gallery feel to this aesthetically magnificent property.
The art is a standout feature at Clifton Fourth. Supercool works by local and international artists and designers provide a superb finishing touch – and loads of humour – to the fresh, streamlined decor. Kenneth Carbonpue’s Dragnet Chair is a radical take on rattan; Ronél Jordaan’s wonderful felted pebbles, succulent cushions and sheep are startlingly realistic and so touchy-feely; and the little figurines – by Justine Mahoney, Jaime Hayon and Frank van Reenen – that populate the villa are frankly charming. It’s hard to choose a favourite piece, but James Mudge’s dining table stands out. It is inscribed with John Masefield’s lines: “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied…”
The owners of The Homestead in Stellenbosch are avid collectors of fine photography and statement pieces of sculpture. A metal structure title “Eroded”, created by local artist Regardt van der Meulen, sets the tone as you enter the lavish, contemporary hideaway. Works from British photographer Marc Stanes can be admired throughout the home, alongside images from Cape Town photographers Stephen Inggs and Caroline Gibello.