Home Tours

A sun-drenched family home with a sprawling, self-sufficient garden

Family life revolves around a bountiful edible garden at this beautifully renovated home.
Photographer: Warren Heath

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.”

Family life at the idyllic ‘Jardim’ – Portuguese for garden – revolves around its namesake for Angela, Justin and their children Olivia, Amber and Sam (pictured above with family friend Kuhle). After moving into the property in Cape Town, South Africa, the couple first set about planting a vast food garden.

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.”

LIVING ROOM An elegant velvet Chesterfield (try the Affinity Furniture ‘Kendal’ sofa in Azure from Living Styles) introduces jewel-like colour in the living room, where an oversized Persian rug – its tones echoed in an artwork by Alexia Vogel above the fireplace – defines this relaxing zone.

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.

When their attention turned to renovating their 1980s home three years ago, architect Alex Stewart created a space that showcases the outdoors from every turn. The vaulted ceiling in the living room is a nod to country barns without being overtly rustic, while the window above the sliding doors lets afternoon light stream in and puts Amber’s ponies in the frame. For similar armchairs, try the Amsterdam sofa chair from Xavier Furniture, while the Le Mans pendant light from Hamptons Home evokes the timeless style seen here.

A reclaimed timber mantelpiece adds warmth and texture to the living room.

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.

DINING NOOK The bay-window dining nook (above, where Sam is pictured reading) is a family drawcard. “We’ve been using that so much more lately,” remarks Justin. “It’s just the best being able to see the garden and what’s happening outside while we’re having a bite to eat.”

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.

Mismatched lighting fixtures reflect Angela’s preference for dressing a space with eclectic pieces (get the look with the Gelos Classic pendant light in Antique Brass from Oz Lights Direct). “I wanted it to look new but not too contemporary and old but not chiched,” says Angela.

“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 dining table is a custom design by South African designer Gregor Jenkin.

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.

A contemporary version of a traditional farmhouse entrance greets visitors.

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 botanical artwork (artist unknown) and one of Angela’s beloved plants lift the neutral palette in the hallway.

COMMON AREA An elegantly styled passageway includes a central work and homework station and is the connecting space between the children’s rooms and the couple’s bedroom.

MAIN BEDROOM A quiet palette promotes rest and relaxation in the couple’s bedroom, where honey-hued timber floors (get the look at Polyflor), crisp bed linen and a striking wallpaper by Cara Saven Wall Design are enlivened by pops of colour courtesy of lush indoor plants expertly cared for and displayed by passionate – and talented – green-thumb Angela.

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.

ENSUITE The couple’s bathroom is a clean-lined, minimalist zone that, in keeping with the rest of this welcoming home, brims with natural light and greenery (try Temple & Webster for a similar basket).

I’m a self-confessed plant lady, I love nurturing them and seeing them grow” ~ Angela

ENSUITE Deep-blue cabinetry and a wet-room style shower make a statement in the couple’s low-key yet sophisticated ensuite.

A custom-built bed frame lends a fairytale touch to Amber’s bedroom.

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.”

GARDEN STUDIO Built from windows, doors and beams salvaged during the renovation, and lit by boho-style chandeliers (try the Wooden beaded 9-head chandelier in White from Litfad), this outdoor room reflects the couple’s commitment to creating a space to nourish creativity. It’s where Angela (pictured above) tends her orchid collection and indoor plants, where Justin recently wrote a children’s book and it’s also a venue for yoga workshops and self-development courses.


“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.”

The family and pets relax by the pool.


Architect: Alex Stewart, Alex Stewart and Partners, alexstewart.co.za.

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