“I’m passionate about my family,” Doreen tells me. “We are very lucky in that we really like each other and have something to say to one another. Every single member of the family has something to offer in the creative field. It may be different but it’s always interesting”.
Doreen and her family live in an old, historic house, a former rectory in a leafy, quiet part of Gardens. That is, she shares it with Meyer her huband, their youngest daughter Olivia, who is still at university, and Jinja the dog. Their son Uno lives in Johannesburg, and another daughter, Jade, has recently moved out, but still lives in Cape Town. There is no doubt that this is a very tight-knit family, and a very creative and talented family too.
It’s a beautiful, large house standing in a lush garden, with the majestic Table Mountain as a stunning backdrop. From the front door, a long, narrow corridor runs down the middle, with many rooms leading off it. A vast kitchen, a dining room, a couple of living rooms, an office space, and a master bedroom that has a grand en suite bathroom, with glass doors opening out onto a private courtyard. Add to this a second floor with several bedrooms. A porch, a terrace with a pergola, a basement and a number of outbuildings that have been remodelled as cottages complete the property. There is a vegetable garden in the yard outside the kitchen and at the back of the house there is a garden with a swimming pool.
This has been their home for 20 years. When they first saw the house it was the possibilities and the opportunities that it offered that made them fall for it. One thing that strikes me is that this is the first house I have visited here that doesn’t have bars in front of the windows. Instead, it has wooden shutters that are closed at night. Security is important in Cape Town, but Doreen doesn’t want to live behind bars.
“What is the most important feature in your home?” I ask her.
“The fact that it’s wonderful when I’m alone, wonderful when just the family is here and wonderful when there are a hundred guests milling around. The fact that it opens and closes. I never feel lonely here. And I never feel crowded either. It really is a most accommodating house.
I wonder if that’s the mark of a really good design? Yes, I think that this house is very well designed. There are no tricks about it. There isn’t anything extraordinary or wow about it. It’s just good.”
The kitchen plays a central role in this home where cooking and a love of food is obvious. It’s large and has a wonderful, homely ambience. The generous tables both in here and in the adjacent dining room, and the many shelves, laden with plates and cooking utensils, testify to meals cooked and shared with friends in abundance…”
This is an excerpt from the book Home Life Around the World and is one of the unique and personal homes I visited.
Release date 15th May.
Home Life Around the World is available for pre-order in iBooks store, Kobo and Google Play. ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
The book is also available for pre-order in the Kindle format. ASIN: B079VDPBVF
Print edition ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3
Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer