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Step inside a heritage house that combines the beauty and history of Cape Town with luxurious modern living

Nestled in the heart of Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, Kaap Mooi artfully combines the rich history of its surroundings with contemporary design

By House & Garden South Africa | July 6, 2022 | Interiors

The owner of the guesthouse, Cape Town-based interior designer Christina Wiese, drew inspiration from her travels and Cape Town’s idiosyncratic landscapes to create a space that blurs the boundaries of old and new. The result: a one of-a-kind guesthouse that resonates with modern living along with the added comfort of the city’s nostalgia. The lush garden and pergola-style archway at the entrance to the guesthouse aptly introduces the nature-inspired motif that runs throughout the home. Each room has a theme designed to encapsulate Cape Town’s iconic natural landmarks, from Table Mountain and Lion’s head to Clifton’s beaches and the Cape Winelands.

The lush outdoor area features furniture by Block & Chisel, Image: Supplied

There is an overarching sense of respect for the nature and diversity of the city at Kaap Mooi. Many original features of the guesthouse have been preserved by the architects Zeanne+Goss architects, including the wooden beams in the reception that track back to the home’s initial build in the 1800s, as well as the heavy, exposed stone in the conference room that brings textured contrast to the lighter design and decor choices around it.

The first room in the house is inspired by Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – a soft grey interior with signature pieces by Lucie de Moyencourt and Dutch furniture brand Moooi – an ode to nature in its most idyllic form. This room sets the precedent of what to expect throughout the home, where it is evident that design decisions have a deeper, more significant meaning in the context of each space.

For instance, the Devil’s Peak room features a slanted ceiling with Fornasetti’s iconic Nuvole wallpaper depicting imagery of a surreal, clouded sky. This refers to the story of Jan van Hunks, a retired sea captain who smoked a pipe on the mountain, resulting in a cloud of smoke that engulfed the mountain like a tablecloth – a story that has a special place in the hearts of many Capetonians.

Lush greenery on the pergola-style archway at the entrance to the guest house, Image: Supplied

These subtle yet striking details can also be found in the Robben Island-themed room. The headboard and wooden desk include vertical lines in their design, which brings balance and a sense of strength, but the room is also reminiscent of a prison cell – a luxurious one at that. A tribute to Nelson Mandela’s time there is further emphasised by a handwritten artwork by the detail Smith of his inauguration speech that adorns the wall.

Symbolism in the design and decor truly sets Kaap Mooi apart from the rest. Woven raffia elements in the Clifton room transport you to a tropical paradise, while the colour palette of taupe, tan and earthy brown tones in the Lion’s head room celebrate South Africa’s vast wildlife. No detail has been overlooked at Kaap Mooi; the areas between the rooms have a natural and open flow, while the glass doors create a seamless connection between the interior space and the outdoor pool area. The guesthouse’s breakfast and communal areas epitomise the home’s ethos of celebrating South Africa without compromising on luxury or style.

The Aerin ‘Jacqueline’ two-tier chandelier is the perfect centrepiece in the communal lounge area, Image: Supplied
A monochrome bathroom offers a moment of quiet, Image: Supplied

The Aerin ‘Jacqueline’ two-tier chandelier is the glamorous centrepiece of this homely space, while the Frank Gehry ‘The Wiggle side chair’ adds a unique sculptural element to the room. By combining imported, signature pieces with works from South African artists and photographers such as William Kentridge and Justin Dingwall, for example, Kaap Mooi strikes the perfect balance of paying homage to Cape Town while maintaining a contemporary flair that is both sophisticated and comfortable.

Words by Shai Rama and Styling by Juliette Arrighi Di Casanova