It wouldn’t appear out of sorts if Leonard Cohen and Carol King were to be seen taking a gentle stroll around the quiet and quaint little neighbourhood of Palmboom Park in Newlands. Sporting wayward hair-dos under trilby hats in long, loose coats, they’d meander a time-warp walk around the block. Seeking some inspiration from the emerald green avenues of ancient oaks along winding village lanes, stopping off at the corner café and selecting a jar of juicy olives with a piping hot ciabatta for that evening’s nibble on the lawn, under the stars. Earnest gestures of a cordial salute from the charming community sets them back on the pathway home, with their bottle of bubbles and bag of goodies. Engulfed by the crisp mountain air that cascades down from the towering peaks and the dappled summer light paving the route, Cohen and King love nothing more than this early evening ritual in their hood. As these two legends walk through the front doors of Palm Spring, across the old terracotta floors, into a classic mid-century space adorned in seventies Scandinavian furniture, Italian glass lamps, family heirlooms, antique Afghan kelims, and an eclectic collection of hanging, suspending and standing artwork, it’s apparent that its timeless influence has gotten the better of them both. Somehow, caught up in the seduction of this retro hideaway’s old bones, swaggering soul and sexy attire, we’d managed to convince ourselves that I was Carol and beau was Cohen. And so shall be the characters for the duration of our stay. And as long they choose to remain.
Settled down a cul-de-sac at the base of the backside of the mountain, Palm Spring opens its beautiful old circa seventies doors and escorts you in to a meticulously considered, minimalist home of style, slender lines, sunlight and sophistication. Renowned architect Dennis Elliott designed, built and lived in the original house, that’s gallantly grown over the last decade, under the discerning eyes of the designer-artist owners who know a thing or two about a sexy space. One elegant ensuite bedroom – with a dressing room – tucks itself away from the stunning open-plan living, dining, entertaining and cooking space, that opens out onto a lovely verandah that stretches into the garden, and a central courtyard that’s idyllic in the evenings, sitting beneath the stars and listening to the fire crackle – whatever the season – alongside some bluesy tunes. Each space embraces the North facing light that floods the interior and keeps the place as warm and as cool as it needs to be. Another wonderful thing about the build – its statement of being spacious yet contained, nurturing yet sensuous.
Carol and Cohen rise each morning with the sunbirds and finches disturbing their slumber and summoning them to the verandah. The doors are slid wide open as the sun’s light brings the yesterday, today and tomorrow’s fragrance to life, the delicious monsters flap their elephant-ear-leaves in the breeze and the hibiscus petals twirl in time to the morning tunes that have resumed. Carol’s lost in the novel she’s been nurturing from all of the lovely reading nooks around the home, as Cohen puts his poetry into motion and whips up something edible in the kitchen, before heading out for quick jog up the mountain trails. Earning their rounds at the Constantia wine estates they’ll be frequenting a little later on in the day. Evenings are around the fire or on the stoep, with all doors and windows open to the elements, a game of cards is on the go and the new, collaborative album is approaching completion. Palm Spring has taken me back to a time that’s relevant, has inspired the art aficionado in me to resurface, to see spaces and angles and sculptures and shadows as decorative pieces. It has removed my trilby hat and danced me to the end of love.
What we love!
- Cooking in the gorgeous 70’s mosaic tiled kitchen with the music playing and your favourite person at the counter reminding you how to cook.
- It’s access to some of the loveliest little boutiques, cafés, convenience stores, wine bars, delicatessens, bookstores and of course the mountain trails. There’s a lot to be said about the beguiling community of Newlands Village.
- Given that the owners are artists, their art collection makes a statement. Pieces by Walter Meyer, Ory Bwens, Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Stephen Inggs, Kenneth Baker, Gabriella Orzechowski embellish the spaces and add their signature to the home.
- Showering outdoors and watering the succulents and hydrangeas, whilst dancing beneath the mountain in a happy, blooming garden.
What you need to know…
- The main property is sub-divided into separate living quarters – with another single bedroom apartment – each with their own entrance.
- There is an abundance of urban activities to get involved in, in this part of Cape Town. With the mountain being a 5-minute walk away and all of its nature trails for walking, running and cycling. Dean Street with all of its curious stores, butchers, bakers and cafés being a hop-skip and a jump away, as well as Cavendish shopping centre, if you must.
- The community is lovely and welcoming, and revel in new rockstar faces. So take your time to explore the area and dine out at all of the lovely spots in the village. There is also 24hour security and surveillance on the street so you sleep very well.
- With easy access to the rest of the Cape, including all of the southern peninsula beaches, the Constantia wine region, Kirstenbosch gardens and the centre of Cape Town itself only being a 10-minute drive away, this really is a lovely part of the beautiful city to spend time.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie