Montagu Home

WORDS Palesa Kgasane PHOTOS Dook

Homeowners Martly and Hanno Calitz collaborated with interior designer Hendre Bloem to create their dream project: a tranquil getaway in the quaint Western Cape town of Montagu.

The scenic Route 62 o the Klein Karoo unfolds into vivid pictures of rolling rocky mountains and lush vineyards, followed by a slow ascent as you head into the historic town of Montagu, as well-known for its beautifully preserved buildings as it is for its hiking trails. The old town might seem an unusual location for this modern and minimalist home, but it turns out to be ideal for a hideaway in which time stands still.

“Hendre transformed the design into something we love,” says homeowner Martly Calitz of the interior designer who pieced together the significant details that make this home unique – including the decision to paint it mostly white with touches of black, which sets off the warm, earthy terracotta floors beautifully. Hendre Bloem is known for his clean and modern yet luxurious aesthetic, and he very much shared the couple’s vision of creating a home that embodies the maxim “less is more”.

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On first arriving at STIL – as the house has been named – you are struck by the feeling that the building might have multiple functions. It could easily be a gallery or an artist’s studio, for example. But it turns out to have just one key purpose: to be a serene escape, surrounded by a landscape of wild grasses, with a developing sculpture garden in which world-renowned artist Anton Smit’s works line up against the sky and the perfect backdrop of the mountains. “When I told Anton we were undertaking this project,” says Martly, “he offered to have his art on display here. The idea of the sculpture garden grew from there.”

Hendre Bloem’s contemporary design forms the perfect backdrop for the intricate sculptural works by internationally acclaimed South African artist Anton Smit that are dotted around the property. The back yard has been transformed into a sculpture garden, and plays beautifully off the home’s white-painted walls, terracotta floors and wooden accents.

Hanno, Martly and Hendre decided the key was to build a contemporary house that is timeless, while also encompassing the most important features of an exclusive getaway space. “In the kitchen and living area, I wanted to work with the green view,” says Hendre. “Whatever I did with the interior had to complement that, maintaining the black-and-white theme, then adding touches of colour – such as the reds and blush-pink, which you see with the coffee table and the art.”

These thoughtful decor touches abound; you also cannot help but notice the ingenuity of the door screens in the living area, which echo the gate at the home’s entrance with their “cutout” shapes. These were another of Hendre’s ideas, and they cleverly combine functionality with style. “The door screens were initially wooden slats, but we soon realised maintenance would be a nightmare,” he says. “We decided on lightweight aluminium screens that allow for light and airflow while ensuring privacy.” He adds that creating the shapes was a fun artistic experiment, reminiscent of the abstract paintings that line the floating shelf in the bedroom.

A continuous thread of minimalism runs through the home. In every room, space is maximised, and each architectural detail flows seamlessly into the next, from the curved black outdoor chimney on the roof, sinuously inserted into the interior where the fireplace is located, to the light wood used in the foyer, bathroom and bedroom. “There is so much going on in people’s lives, and STIL was envisioned to be the opposite of that,” says Martly. The couple certainly succeeded in creating a space imbued with a lingering atmosphere of peace and harmony – a place where guests and visitors can simply be.

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