HL Solutions: Festive Get-Together

Dishy Servings

For centuries, the kitchen has always been the heart of the home, a central gathering place for friends and family to come together and share a meal. Quality cookware has become part of creating that perfect dining experience and makes for a special heirloom if looked after with care. Although costly, great serving dishes should last a lifetime and not only be good to look at, but also be lightweight, durable and versatile too. Living in South Africa, it’s also important that casserole trays heat up quickly, to conserve energy and reduce your carbon footprint. “Good cookware always finds its way into a family’s heart,” says Ben Paine of Le Creuset. “Look for cooking dishes that can go from oven to table and that are made from quality material, which distributes the heat evenly.” Porcelain serving dishes are well-suited for use in the oven and microwave and are also dishwasher safe. “Choose a range that complements your kitchen’s style,” says Patricia Howard of Maxwell & Williams. “Decorate your tables this season with modern serving dishes and experiment with different shapes, designs and sizes to create a festive ambience and lasting memories.”

Crystal Class

The festive season isn’t complete without an ounce of glitter and sparkle. Forget tinsel and cellophane, we’re talking crystal glassware. Perfect for all special occasions, high-end crystal is usually hand-cut and blown, but the more common type is made using a machine method. “It is very difficult to distinguish between hand-cut or machine-made crystal, because the technology used is so sophisticated,” says Dirk Muller of Spilhaus. “All crystal, however, needs to be cared for in the same way.” Muller recommends rinsing each crystal glass separately, because often, glasses that come into contact with each other under water usually break. Dishwashing crystal glassware above 60 degrees centigrade turns it milky, damaging it irreparably, says Muller, as well as storing it in direct sunlight, which harms the crystal. “Never use detergent on crystal – it’s not necessary, just use warm water and rinse,” says George Riedel of Riedel. “After rinsing and allowing it to dry on a soft towel, polish the glass carefully, but never twist the base and the bowl in different directions.” According to Riedel, crystal glassware is all about enjoying the experience of drinking from a beautiful, yet functional glass. “Turn each sip into a celebration,” he says.

Material Magic

This summer season, take the indoors outside and enjoy quality time with friends in a comfortable shady spot, occasionally soaking up the sun. Create a festive feel and celebrate with luxurious outdoor fabrics in bright colours, natural textures and botanically-inspired prints, perfect for the outdoors. “Choose fabrics that are especially developed for high-UV light levels and that are easy to care for,” says Gary Searle of St Leger & Viney. “Medium to heavy-weight linens in natural colours, accented with cream are quite practical, because they won’t show the dirt.” According to Shannon Rose of U&G Fabrics, the most hardwearing outdoor fabric is 100% solution-dyed fibre, which not only resists fading in the sun, but is also mildew-resistant, making it durable in extreme weather conditions. Acrylic canvas and lacquered linen is the alternative choice to heavy cotton fabrics with new technology that enables easy cleaning using water and a cloth. This fabric is ideal for outdoor furniture, such as pool loungers and makes for great slip covers and tablecloths. “Whatever you choose to go with,” she says. “Try and mirror the interior décor of the home, to achieve a seamless transition between inside and outside.”

Author: Charlene Yared-West. Published in House & Leisure, December 2008, Issue No. 175, p. 123.

HL Solutions: Outdoor Rooms


An outdoor patio was transformed into this luxurious room, enclosed with custom-made shutters
Before settling down to have children, this Cape Town couple indulged in their passion for redecorating homes, selling them and moving on to something new. In 2006, the leafy spot of Constantia was chosen as the nest to house the five of them. “We’ve never lived in a home that was just as perfect for our needs as this one,” say the owners. “It’s a very special home.” Being open-air enthusiasts, the couple wanted their home to have a plush outdoor space that would be lived in, rather than occasionally visited. Featuring a welcoming fireplace, the patio is a seamless extension of the living room and family room of the home, connected by large folding doors. “Because it’s such a comfortable, homely space, we often have guests staying over until the early hours of the morning,” says the couple.

Overlooking faraway wine farms in the distance, the tranquil 60sq m patio is north-facing, making the most of the sunshine during the day. Realising it needed some protection from the elements, the couple decided on versatile, custom-made sliding shutters from The Plantation Shutter Co., which gave the space the added benefit of being used throughout the year, no matter the weather. Complimenting the décor of the home, the sliding shutters provided the perfect solution, ensuring privacy and insulation, as well as helping to control the sunlight into the room. Adding to the cozy ambiance and feeling of being outside, the roof, made by Robbiethatch was created using wooden beams, Spanish reeds and clear plastic sheeting. The inspiring blend of muted colours and textures, using concrete flooring, wooden shutters, and light furnishings, make for a perfect farm style retreat with a stylish and radiant look.

The couple’s love for natural, neutral shades and objects with an eclectic feel is evident. “We could never get an interior designer to decorate our home for us from top to toe, because we love doing it ourselves,” they say. Collected from overseas travels, trips to game lodges and obscure shops, each item on display, from oversized seedpods to antique frames, has a story to tell. Lightweight and decorative, the couple chose comfortable wicker furniture for the patio, as a relaxed place from where they could entertain friends, read or simply watch their children as they splashed around in the pool. Illuminating the space with soft warm lighting at night, the mounted lanterns, custom-made chandelier and crackling log fire, bring a magical touch to the central gathering place for whole the family to enjoy.

1. Construct slats in the roof for natural light to enter
2. Add atmosphere with lanterns, chandeliers and candles
3. Install a fireplace as a focal point for heat and light
4. Create a night-time glow with outdoor pool lighting
5. Mount Plantation Shutters with manoeuvrable louvres for light control


Making the most of the surrounding greenery, this outdoor space links indoors and outdoors with seamless style

“We always wanted to live in a modern home, but with children, we thought it impractical,” says the couple. In January of this year, however, they came across the contemporary minimalist Sandhurst House for sale, fell completely in love with it – and moved in with two young kids. The home was built on part of the original Sandhurst Extension 4 farm, for a childless professional couple who required a space with an urban and masculine nature, with the interior and outdoor space fully integrated. The design proved very flexible and transformed easily into a family-friendly environment, without compromising the design ethos. The patio links effortlessly with the kitchen and with an elevated pool above the driveway, the home emanates a character of dramatic sophistication. “We love the feeling of being in a treehouse lodge, an oasis with magnificent Jacaranda trees right in the middle of Johannesburg,” they say.

The entire length of the north façade of the house was developed as pockets of space, creating an open-plan, functional and visually pleasing outdoor area. “All the elements of the home work together as a unit,” says architect and designer, Carel van Graan. “The creature comforts such as lighting, sound, power and water supply are available, but are unobtrusive.” Using wide stacking sliding doors, the covered patio is extended by a sun deck, linking the patio with the swimming pool. The slightly elevated geography of the site and staggered layers of lawn and decking, allow for spectacular views of Johannesburg, which can be seen from any point of the outdoor space. Pared down materials, a mix of simplistic design techniques and bringing nature into the home makes the space a heavenly haven to live in.

“We didn’t buy much in terms of furniture, only the essentials, in keeping with the minimalistic tone of the house,” says the couple. “The furnishings we do have – although contemporary, are child-friendly and practical, with each piece serving a purpose.” Virtually another room of the house, the patio area is decorated with earthy colour tones, complementing the greens and browns of nature, giving the impression of being outside. Decorative uplighters in the wooden decking add a dramatic lighting element, especially against the rough trunks of the Jacaranda trees. Whether lazing on the inviting couches or tanning on the outdoor decking during the day, the space is versatile and has been host to an array of chic, black-tie evening events, in addition to boisterous children’s birthday parties.

1. Use monochrome colours and natural materials to create the illusion of spaciousness
2. Introduce focus points or an element that leads the view into the distance
3. Install furniture like built-in benches that can double-up as storage space
4. Amplify the space by introducing an accessory that can be changed easily
5. Use elements of staggered design in the garden and decking to create movement and space


Bringing family together in one space, this quiet courtyard is accessible from all the adjoining cottages

Memories of their blissful getaways in Hermanus inspired the owners to buy land, where, in 2004, they built a holiday home and guest house. “We needed a peaceful retreat from the hectic pace of Johannesburg,” says the couple. “When the house isn’t being used by guests, we spend time there with the whole family.” Surrounded by fynbos, a vast mountain range, sea and sand; the home, designed by Johann Slee Architects, was divided into smaller, private cottages, all leading onto the outdoor courtyard space. Perfect for children to play in and entertaining large parties, the quad features a swimming pool that reflects the Mosselberg mountain in the north and at night, mirrors the stars.

Situated about 200m away from the beach, the courtyard forms the heart of the home and is surrounded by four easy Karoo-style barn structures, featuring elegant galvanized steel detailing. “The architecture of this home is a work of art for us,” they say. “We love the picture perfect flow between inside and outside and the feeling of being in a private solitary retreat, surrounded by the magnificence of nature.” Corroborating closely with Johann Slee, the couple ensured that the plans reflected their wishes exactly. A light seaside feel, synonymous with the words modern, calm and spacious, was achieved by combining concrete and wooden flooring, sea grass mats and simplified wall structures, with the effective focal points of the pool, grassy patch and fireplace.

Splashes of red artwork on the walls, reminiscent of the flamboyant disa plant, set against the sleek grey surroundings of the barn structures, enliven the quad with a welcome dose of colour. The interior designer, Marleen Lamprecht of Bridge, decorated each space of the home in colour themes relating to Hermanus and the Western Cape. “Rich in its diversity, we subtly used impressions from whales, fynbos, disa plants, birdlife and wine,” she says. The couple wanted visitors to feel comfortable outside, whether they were dining at the 12-seater table or soaking up the sun on the grey-toned couches and deck chairs. “The space is so versatile and easy to maintain,” says the couple. “We adore our little piece of heaven.”

Guest house details: Mosselberg on Grotto Beach 028-314-0055, http://www.mosselberg.co.za

1. Accessorise the area with light furniture, ornaments, and colourful artwork
2. Herbatious plant borders and grass add colour and also clearly define boundaries
3. Use complementary colours such as red and green against muted backgrounds
4. Add a water feature to the space that is both attractive and functional
5. Fireplaces give the space a mystical feel, brightening it up simultaneously

Author: Charlene Yared-West. Published in House & Leisure, October 2008, Issue No. 173, p. 129.