An 18th century monastery in the Cape Winelands has been convertedinto a spiritual retreat for a young family.
PhotographsWarren Heath Text Graham Wood Production Sven Alberding
It was about six years ago that Abigail Rands was exploring a “potential art project” in the small Western Cape town of Tulbagh when she stumbled on this remarkable building. Her family owns a wine farm nearby, so she feels a strong connection to the area. Besides, she says, “I like beautiful architecture, raw materials and good art.” And this house had all three in bucketloads.
In the lounge, as in most of the rest of the house, restored vintage furniture predominates, with a bias towards mid-century design. But, as Maybe Corpaci, interior curator and THE FOURTH’s co-founder, says, the overarching idea was to merge vintage and contemporary design and art in the deep historical setting of the home to create a sense of timelessness.
The poolside lounge has a slightly more tropical feel, with vintage cane furniture, chrome coffee table and a decorative tiger mat.
The kitchen, as interior designer Maybe Corpaci points out, is surprisingly modern in its openness and position. Its stone floor and vast woodburning oven are clearly traditional Cape features.
The house features two front bedrooms on either side of the central lounge: one with bluish walls, and the other a warm neutral beige colour. The doorway of the blue room frames a “reflective sheet” sculpture by Rodan Kane Hart. “We specifically chose this piece to juxtapose some powerful, metallics with the predominance of restored wooden furniture,” says Maybe. Vintage pieces include a 1960s Harp Chair by Jørgen Høvelskov, while the bed is a contemporary piece from Weylandts. The artworks include a painting by Christo Coetzee.
The bathroom includes a custom-designed shower specially made by THE FOURTH with a cast concrete base, and a brass ring with hundreds of ball chains cascading to the floor. The beaded chair armchair also has metallic details, which complements the shower design.
A covered deck on one end of the courtyard has an alfresco dining area with a long wooden table and cane chairs. Pictured are Abigail Rands with her partner Alessandro Gigli and their two children Alexander and Leonard.
The house, in the small winelands town of Tulbagh, dated back to 1797, and was a monastery and mission school in its earliest incarnations. The exterior has been beautifully restored, preserving its historic character when seen from the street.