Photos Greg Cox | Styling Marian van Wyk
When one visits Dieter Odendaal and André Lambrechts here in the gorges of the Heaven and Earth Valley, it feels like a special occasion. And it's no wonder, because these two are the owners of Fabulous Events, which makes weddings and other glamorous events across the country memorable.
Not only do they make other people beautiful, their own home is also a testament to their creativity.
Dieter is a decor-fendi and collects something of everything. He is also a former journalist and has worked in the wine industry for years. André is a florist and the mastermind behind the most beautiful arrangements their other business, The Flower Boyz, creates. There is no shortage of ideas here.
It was the beautiful scenery and tranquility that attracted them to this 3 acre property in a farming community known as Solitaire about seven years ago. And albeit secluded, the location is ideal, with three Overberg towns around the corner: Hermanus, Bot River and Caledon. Slipping away to Cape Town is also not a day trip on horseback. "We drive there easily and back in one day," says Dieter.
On summer evenings, Dieter and André throw a blanket over the green lawn and lie down and then watch the stars until late at night. There are few electric lights in the area and because they are located between the mountains, it sometimes feels like you can touch the Milky Way, says Dieter. Guinea fowl, ibex and blue cranes often graze around the house. Gravel from Build it
When they entertain, everyone walks around the long table on the veranda with its large windows, from where they look out on a swamp in front of the house and the Steenboksberg behind it.
'As we wanted to live'
This place to stay is Dieter and André's third home together. "Our previous places always mostly reflected the fashions of the time," says Dieter. "This house is more earthy, built as we wanted to live. And the style is timeless. All the doors, window frames and many of the other goodies in the house are second hand or recycled. The giant wooden frame of the doors leading to the porch was salvaged from a shop that had to be demolished – it was originally a showcase.
"We always came to holiday in the Hermanus area and discovered the Heaven and Earth wine region during one of these visits. We immediately fell in love with it; it is actually 'heaven on earth'. The farm life, as well as the scenery with breathtaking fynbos-covered mountains all around, was a definite attraction. Furthermore, it provided us with a home where all six of our dogs could hunt in an extensive garden. ”
But they were not in a hurry. "Everything is not finished at once," explains Dieter. "If we see something beautiful that we wanted to use in the building process, we bought it, and where necessary adjusted the plans to accommodate whatever find." This is how they incorporated second-hand building materials from Somerset West to Knysna into the structure.
The couple describes their house's style as "an eclectic conservatory with a touch of Bali and a longing for Art Deco". It's a real mix of everything that is beautiful for them and works together.
"The beauty comes from everywhere," says Dieter, "and reminds us of our travels around the world. The style of the house itself can certainly be described as a modernist farm style, which suits the remarkable location and the weather. ”
The idea for the plans, he says with a wink, "probably started when I played with Lego blocks as a child. André and I have both been interested in putting together beautiful things since childhood. ” They drew up the rough plans themselves and then had them formally drawn up by Gericke Architectural Services.
"The old belief that a house should face north is definitely true. And then the most beautiful view from this house is also on the north side, so everything went well together, ”says Dieter. The seasons definitely play a role in how they live. "In winter, the veranda is the place to be. It's wonderfully warm. The rest of the house has lots of fireplaces and quickly makes the house cozy. In the summer it is wonderfully cool again because the sun then moves south and the double walls keep the house cool. And thanks to the loose carpets on the cement and wood floors, we have good temperature control. ”
Dieter and André used recycled wood, windows and doors to give the house an embodied character. Stairs and coves create interesting detail and giant windows make nature part of the house.
Old stuff with stories
There is not much new furniture and accessories in these crane recyclers' house. Most are second-hand finds and perhaps painted; others are self-made or designed.
Apart from a bunch of original artwork that they acquired quite impulsively, the beauties come against the walls of hospice shops or auctions – these are things that other people no longer wanted.
"We love to rummage around in second-hand shops, and have already picked up objects of inestimable value at such places. Some travel souvenirs are also functional, such as pillowcases from Turkey and rugs from Istanbul. ”
Dieter says: “My biggest purchase – something I still love today – is an Art Deco lounge set that I bought in 1990 with my first salary check for about R400 at a second-hand shop in Long Street in Cape Town. It has been given new life many times over the years with upholstery cloth. ”
The large wooden table on the porch was salvaged from a restaurant that had to close; there is also heritage from their parents and grandparents. "This is how most furniture has a story to tell, which only reminds you of special times," he says.
The walk-in porch with its built-in braai fireplace and beautiful views is perfect for morning coffee; this is also where André and Dieter like to hang out with friends. They use the space in winter as a sun room and have chosen a wooden floor because of the warmth it provides. The various lights on the porch come from Malawi. Wooden frames and doors from Over & Over; Art Deco chair upholstered by Whale Coast Covers; mat by @homelivingspace
The rocking chair on the veranda is the ideal place to read your book and also snap a quick owl.
Against the blue wall hang tiles that the couple had painted in Portugal with their dogs' faces on it.
Color and texture
As you walk through the house, it is clear that blue, and here and there a touch of green, is preferred. André reveals a useful decor tip when he says that it is easier to combine elements if their colors fall within the same palette. He and Dieter find blue soothing and say the shades of blue – from pot blue to blue gray – are inexhaustible. The deep blue they chose for some walls is reminiscent of Classic Blue, the Pantone color of the year.
"When it comes to beauty, we rarely deliberately look for something specific. We usually buy things at the urging of the moment when it catches our eye, ”he says. "It's as if the object also sometimes selects you, and then you make it work in your house. That's why our style is so eclectic. ”
Dieter also believes that one should identify a basic texture when designing an interior – such as wood, cement or tiles. Then you start mixing textures and choosing accessories that match it. A certain texture creates a certain feeling and style, and objects either match it or not.
"Stay true to a basic style," is his advice. "But that does not prevent you at all from creating nooks and crannies that are completely opposite. It's a wonderful challenge. "
In the main bedroom hangs a photo of Dieter's father who played rugby for the Springboks in 1961 between small works of art collected over the years. The en-suite bathroom is behind the copper-colored wall.
Double swing doors open from the master bedroom onto the porch. A velvet rug brings stark contrast to the unplastered wall. The painting was a hospice copy.
André collects antique mirrors. It reflects light and creates the illusion of more space in the guest room.
The guest bathroom reminds Dieter and André of their travels to the Greek islands.
A quiet seating area in the separate guest room offers a welcome rest after a day of discovery. Dieter's mother had the two chairs made in Pretoria in the 1960s; he loves this South African interpretation of the Scandinavian style.
Old copper bowls are used as sinks and flower stands.
Even the laundry room, which is completely out of sight of the living rooms, boasts lots of natural light and plants.