Rolling hills, imposing mountains, neat vineyads and white gables make the farmlands around Stellenbosch some of the country’s most bewitchingly tranquil landscapes, and few more so than Devon Valley. In this scenic valley, a Swedish family recently bought and refurbished a traditional homestead with a small pocket of vineyards. The family has had a bolthole in the Cape Winelands for a while now: Their previous home was situated in the nearby town of Franschhoek. South African design maven Sumari Krige, owner of La Grange Interiors, decorated both houses. Sumari says the family loves South Africa’s year-round indoor-outdoor lifestyle, so it’s no surprise they regard the veranda that runs the entire length of the ground floor as one of the most appealing features of the house. “It’s huge – about 30 m long,” says Sumari. It allowed them to create two lounging areas and a dining area within this space. The result is a dream stoep: a place to relax en famille and a fabulous space for entertaining. The interior spaces are similarly expansive, but Sumari’s considered yet relaxed approach to the decor and furnishings means it never feels overly grand or self consciously stuffy. “My clients want homes, not showcases,” she says. Working with a backdrop provided by simple architectural finishes – wood, tiled or jute-clad floors, white walls, and arched windows and doorways that let in plenty light of sunlight – Sumari added a mix of bold, almost industrial shapes and a multitude of textures, plus accent pieces that add interest.
In the entrance hall, two huge mirrors amplify the light that fills the space, and a graphic black-and-white rug with just a touch of bright red anchors the room. A delicate crystal chandelier contrasts with the strong shapes of the wooden hallway table and hammered metal lamps on it, and a display of vintage engine-block moulds – discovered by Sumari on a sourcing trip to India – functions as a bold sculptural element. Texture is one of Sumari’s design signatures. In many of the rooms, the pre-existing wooden floors are covered in layers of rugs. They are used to lovely effect in the kitchen and dining area and study. In the bedrooms, Sumari has taken her talent for layering textures and subtle complementary colours to new heights. A blackand- white striped rug offsets the jute flooring in the main bedroom, and a wooden side table and leather-covered bench at the foot of the bed add more natural textures. An inviting lounge chair, luxuriously upholstered in deep-buttoned forest-green velvet, and naturally dyed textiles such as a throw and dip-dyed cushion covers add more layers of texture. A sculptural side table and wooden trophy heads complete the picture. In addition to the main house and a small winery housed in a repurposed stable, there are two guest cottages for friends visiting from overseas. Decorated along the same lines as the house, the cottages feature bolder accent colours, including a striking shade of burnt orange and pops of turquoise. Add panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, an ultra-peaceful atmosphere and an enviable swimming pool, and you have all the ingredients needed for the perfect country abode.
PHOTOS: GREG COX / BUREAUX.CO.ZA
PRODUCTION: SVEN ALBERDING
WORDS: ROBYN ALEXANDER