Sunday lunch at an old friend’s farm six years ago led Angela and Justin to the home – and life – of their dreams. “It was late in the afternoon, we were sitting at a table under the trees, our host had just brought a pitcher of lemonade for us to drink and the kids were riding horses while the sun was setting,” recalls Justin. “It couldn’t have been more picture perfect and I leaned over to Angela and said, ‘This is what life is about’. That was the moment for us.”
Who lives here? Angela, farm manager at ‘Jardim’, her husband Justin, who owns an advertising agency, and their children Olivia, 15, Sam, 12, and Amber, nine, plus their Rhodesian ridgebacks Leia and Kylo, and ponies Timogen, Jasper and Zephyr.
A favourite renovation tip? Angela: “We made sure to split the kitchen in half so that the prep and reality of life can be hidden when we entertain.”
Your advice for anyone who’d like to plant a food garden? “We had no idea what we were doing when we started, but we learnt as we went. The best way to start is to start. The beautiful thing is you don’t need a big piece of land, just an open mind and the willingness to grow in every sense of the word.”
Advertising agency owner Justin is one of those people who thinks in visual narratives and from that moment of rural bliss, he and Angela began developing the vision for a semi self-sufficient life on a beautiful piece of land, close enough to schools for their three children but a place that could offer them an opportunity to lean into a life they wanted. At ‘Jardim’, their sun-soaked property in Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa, visitors encounter a sprawling self-sufficient food garden, horse paddocks and stables and a yoga studio built using reclaimed doors and windows from their home renovation. “The property consisted mainly of horse paddocks and felt hemmed in by trees, but removing some of them to reveal the mountain view is one of the first things we did, and it was a revelation,” says Justin.
The original house was a typical 1980s brick family home. It was liveable, which suited the couple, whose first priority was to carve out space for a generous vegie patch outdoors. “We just cordoned off an area and hoped it would be big enough,” laughs Angela, who in just five years, and with her team of talented gardeners, has built the garden into an impressive organic community enterprise.
Turning their attention to the home renovation in 2018, “we wanted a rustic feel with easy indoor-outdoor flow, but we didn’t want to fake the ‘country’ aspect, so the living room extension is a nod to a barn structure,” explains Angela, adding that the interior was gutted and rebuilt from the engineered oak floors up.
“I really wanted to have an informal feel of freestanding elements like you find in old-fashioned country kitchens but still keep it modern and relevant,” says keen cook Angela, of the covetable kitchen featuring a scene-stealing central island and bespoke freestanding units painted in the “very dark blue” shade Angela craved. “We settled on this colour, it’s called Sushi Wrap, and I love it,” she says (try Oxford Navy by Annie Sloan).
The space is infinitely comfortable and effortlessly elegant, featuring sentimental reminders of the family’s journey. The entrance hall is fitted with a beautiful pressed vintage metal ceiling (a reference to Angela’s childhood home) while a huge poster of The Great Wave by cult Japanese artist Hokusai bought for Justin in New York complements a table by local designer Gregor Jenkin.
Like the couple themselves, there is little pretence in their family space, it’s designed for kids and dogs and all-day traffic but always there is an underlying commitment to living life as mindfully as possible.
A contemporary take on the classic four-poster bed adds a stately touch while never veering from the fresh aesthetic that characterises every space in Angela and Justin’s home. To add a regal feel to your bedroom without compromising on a modern mood, try the ‘Willow’ four-poster bed in teak from Globe West.
I’m a self-confessed plant lady, I love nurturing them and seeing them grow” ~ Angela
It’s a work that changes with the seasons – from the family’s original dreams, so much has grown and there is so much more to come. “We are in the process of conceptualising a space where people can come for group breakaways, be it for business or leisure, and experience the joy of picking and cooking the food we grow at the same time,” shares Angela. “It’s how we want to live, making progress in our lives but still feeling connected to the garden that started it all.”
“It’s everything Zoom is not – a place to really connect and feed what makes you and your friends tick and it has given us so much,” says Angela. “I love pottering here for a morning, meditating or doing yoga.”
Architect: Alex Stewart, Alex Stewart and Partners, alexstewart.co.za.