House awe

WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo PHOTOS Elsa Young/ Frank Features

We featured the welcoming home of Doreen de Waal and her jovial brood in our GREENOVATION issue. Having spent the past 20 years perfecting her family home, she is now turning every nook and cranny into guest accommodation. 

It should go without saying these days that Cape Town is one of the world’s top travel and holiday destinations, and with the available options for accommodation, there is no need to find yourself stuck at a massive franchised hotel block with a 10-inch balcony and no sense of privacy.

In fact when it comes to Cape Town, our ideal City Bowl holiday space should offer privacy, views, a very stylish and highly individual touch – we all World Design Capital after all – while covering all the basic amenities that go with holiday accommodation. And, of course, be close enough to the beaches so that one doesn’t have to spend much more then 10 minutes in traffic. Enter Doreen de Waal’s House Awe.

The house is the base for the In Awe Stays portfolio, which offers two cottages, two studios – one on the property and another off – a loft and one historic house to its guests. It’s located on Camp Street, nestled in between buzzing Kloof Street and Kloof Nek Road, although once inside the generous property you’ll feel far removed from the noise and the buzz.

The De Waal family have been in the house some 20 years and, a few years ago, while on the roof doing some maintenance work, Doreen and her husband Meyer were struck by just how large the property was and how little of it they were putting into use. “We started thinking that we have to make this space more sustainable, that’s how work on the first studio started,” explains Doreen. “Now we love it. We never feel invaded by the guests; as we get to know them they become an extension of our social lives.”

In addition to being a design consultant and a veteran renovator, Doreen has restored numerous apartments and houses in the city. Now that she has turned her experienced eye to her own property, there’s a quirky personal touch that runs through all the spaces.

The garden cottage can accommodate up to four people, it has a lounge that opens up to a private garden, and its interiors feature the work of South African designers Lauren Fowler and Stephanie Bartum. A second cottage, sleeps two and opens into the larger garden with trees, garden hammocks and a heated pool just a few steps from the entrance.

If like most visitors to Cape Town you want views of the mighty rock, there’s the loft that offers magnificent views of Table Mountain. There’s also the studio with large windows to view the mountain from, while surrounded by furniture from designer Poky Hefer of Animal Farm, and walls adorned with pictures from photographers Noncedo Charmain and Andrea Mouton. Then there’s also the offsite property, Studio Uno, an open-plan studio in the heart of Fresnaye on Cape Town’s famous Atlantic Seaboard. 

For the truly lucky, the main house, which sleeps up to 10, is occasionally also available to rent for vacations. “Sometimes when we feel like a bit of a getaway we rent out the house, pack our bags and go stay somewhere fabulous for a few days,” says Doreen. See this magnificent house in our GREENOVATION issue, which shows off the style in which Doreen and her family live in this grand vintage Sir Herbert Baker original.

Visit for bookings and to find out more.

Sustainable chic is the order of the day in VISI magazine’s new GREENOVATION issue, with eight homes that get down to earth, 32 reasons to turn up the heat, and kitchens and bathrooms straight from Milan. Get it now!