When you have a vision of a home and what inspires its lines, its spaces, its form and its narrative with the landscape, it takes a special skill to parlay it from a mind’s carbon copy to construct. An architectural feat of marrying fantasy with function, play with practicality. As it has been with all of their other timeless builds – the owners of Meadow House have seamlessly stitched together yet another tapestry of their life experiences. A dynamic couple’s manifesto on all that inspires them, goes into the bones of each build. After travelling to Japan in celebration of an anniversary, they returned with a vision for a home where would lead the way for light, open spaces. Where timber ceilings, floors, wall features, passageways and partitions would refine its other textures of stone and glass. Where the abounding nature and indigenous gardens would furtively sneak their way back inside, as if to reclaim the spaces they never left. With the expertise of architects Matthew and Saskia of Beatty Vermeiren, they brought Kyoto to Cape Town. Even the cherry blossoms.
Settled on the foothills of the Constantiaberg mountains, overlooking the neighbouring pony paddocks, the Constantia wine valley, and all the way towards the ocean and Kogelberg Mountains in the distance, Meadow House modestly reveals itself from one, long level, yet boldly delivers a statement on dignity. Three bedrooms, two of which are ensuite, and a study – that could be an extra bedroom – skirt off from the long passageways that are tributaries to the main entertainment space. Tall glass sliding doors stack away from the voluminous, airy open-plan living, cooking and dining space, consenting a continuous flow of the outside, coming in. Little courtyards and pond and tranquil bamboo gardens frame the odd bathroom, or bedroom as an ongoing sentiment to komorebi – a Japanese word used to describe the light that filters through nature and lands on the floor. There is an abundance of dappled light that permeates all of the open spaces in this hideaway. Its contemporary form and hallmark furnishings in the signature neutrals of beige and cream and olive green are all simple design elements playing audience to nature’s spectacular show going on around the home. A bespoke dining table crafted by James Mudge rests on the long verandah, beside the braai and pizza oven, overlooking the garden, its giant boulders and the beautiful blue swimming pool. An area where the whole clan will be occupying its sun-loungers and comfy outdoor couches for hours on end. The weekend playlist is on shuffle as the afternoon games ensue on the lawn. The braai’s flames start to settle as the bottle of bubbles from the neighbouring wine estate chills in the ice bucket. One more dip in the pool before the feasting. Last one in does the dishes.
And that’s ok for whoever’s slow off the mark. It’s likely to be the only arduous task of the day. Even though you were up early with the birds, onto the bikes and into Tokai forest for a morning ramble on the trails, you’ve spent the rest of the day beside the pool, under the trees, listening to the horses graze below. Or creating the menu for a pizza extravaganza later on. Or hanging out in your own little cocooned oasis of a private suite, ensconced in leafy greenery. Perhaps a spa session in the master bathroom. When night does fall and the dishes from the day are done, the gathering resumes around the table on the verandah, as the city lights come to life and the horizon depicts a vibrancy reminiscent of that of Tokyo. From the tranquil, mountainous spot of Zwaanswyk. What the owners of Meadow House have managed to achieve – once again – is to create a home that is not only something beautiful to look at and live in, but has become something as a constant reminder of the beautiful places they’ve travelled to over the years. A fixed souvenir for their children, and children’s children. Of the different cultures, architectural inspirations and unique experiences that have enriched their lives. For them to hold in once space and to savour for all of the years to come.
What we love!
- The simplistic yet complex elements of the build that open up the house entirely to outdoor living. Allowing the magnificent views to permeate all of the rooms of the home, and nature to dominate.
- Pizza nights on the verandah, looking out over the southern suburbs of Cape Town, watching the colours transform as the sun sets behind the mountain.
- Spending quiet, tranquil moments in the master suite’s steam room.
- Having access to the mountain trails and Tokai forest, being only a 5-minute cycle away from the property.
- The beautiful Cherry Blossom suspension light, hanging above the dining table that sits adjacent to wall hangings of Samantha Osner’s landscape photography. Tying in a relationship of the Japanese narrative with great local artists.
What you need to know…
- The little suburb of Zwaanswyk is a residential suburb neighbouring Steenberg Estate and Kirstenhof. Constantia is just a 5-minute drive away, conveniently close to all of the wine estates, fantastic restaurants, the village of Constantia’s shopping facilities, cafés and bars. As well as golf courses, horse-riding trails and sports venues.
- Cape Town’s city centre is only a 30-minute drive from the property. Its location brings about a country calm in the valley, yet all of the beaches and thrills of the city are only a short drive away.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie