Impeccably positioned, this palatial home is lovingly imagined with a subtle renaissance flavour that transcends its boundaries in Upper Constantia. Its architectural splendour, a Medici-style jewel, honours exquisite historic abodes from ancient Tuscan towns like Barga and Fosdinovo.
Surrounded by acres of manicured gardens with lush green vegetation and dams, the property’s 2000m² size within an estate, is a kingdom unto itself. Visitors are welcomed by a gently curved driveway and cobbled pavers that coddle a magnificent water feature. A divinely feminine figure rises from the water, her gaze fixed towards a dramatic Romeo and Juliet balcony. The garden is planted with colourful bougainvillea and perfumed foliage while latticed vines decorate the walls of the house. A thoroughly romantic scene is set.
A grand entrance
Entranceway doors, embellished with delicate filigree, are flanked by perfectly symmetrical architectural details and furnishings. Pendant chandeliers are abundant and forms a glorious focal point that celebrates the space, emphasising the need to look up, as one tends to do in a basilica. Persian rugs run a charming path through the house from the dramatic outdoors towards a fantastically steep marble staircase of princely proportions.
Both lounge, dining and living areas are interconnected and offset with decorative ceiling insets. Large sofas are plentiful and placed generously throughout the house breaking bigger areas into well-defined living spaces that offer privacy, intimacy and enormous comfort. The fabrics are chosen specifically for their small, detailed patterns that work to draw the eye inwards, calling attention to detail. Ornate coffee tables that rest on perfectly rectangular rugs offer tranquil resting spaces that speak of happy, social times. Lighting from oddly placed lamps and down lights is soft and ambient.
A library area, situated deeper in the heart of the house, enjoys a hearth laid with a studded leather ottoman surrounded by beautiful cream and orange blossom couches. Again, symmetry plays its part in the relaxed style of this peaceful area. Ornate shelving hosts a treasured collection of books. The visual balance is appealing with its sumptuous luxury, and the nature of the space holds the promise of romantic evenings by the fire.
Restrooms and warm baths
Inlaid ceilings, columns, plinths and arches of Romanesque proportions offer a refined sanctuary where the ordinary bathroom is transformed into a place of beauty. The lone egg shaped tub adds a unique contemporary twist to this medieval rendition of a royal washroom. Gilt edged mirrors, crystal chandeliers and generous spaces in warm neutral colours collude and whisper ‘exclusive privacy’.
Tones of cream, light yellow and subtle patterns are indispensable in an Italian bedroom. Rough textured curtains that allow natural light into the bedrooms work to decorate and ventilate the bedrooms. Ornate mirrors, beds and tables complete this look and complement the soft furnishings. The scale of furniture and its position in the room is well considered. A hallmark of this style is the moderate size of the items with the extravagance reflected in the minute details of each piece rather than in scaled up sizing. In this case, bigger isn’t better.
Cupboards of couture
The conventional dressing room has been reconsidered and a stunning exclusive boutique- style space is the result. Warm oak coloured floors, ornate wooden panels and a storage island give a clean, professional and opulent look, completely appropriate not only for a home but for a couture brand too. The mobile ladder on a rail adds a charming touch and lots of window space is the cherry on the top.
A concept that’s right on trend and one gathering momentum in the technological age is that of the home cinema. This entertainers delight supersedes VIP style cinemas with its sheer indulgence. Heavy leather recliners offer a level of luxurious comfort that is unmatched in casual seating and screams opulence. Filigree skylight panels and flamboyant decorative elements on the walls conspire to unite theatre and movie entertainment in one. The overall effect achieves its goal by transporting the audience closer to fantasyland.
Voluminous space is associated with quality. But, as with many a successful space, the aesthetic value lies not in sprawling brick structures that often lose their charm, but in the sublime use of proportions. A view from the poolside displays a conservative use of space and keeps its open views without forgoing privacy and intimacy.
Italian architecture is fondly applauded for this and here it achieves these aims in a timeless vignette of picturesque beauty. Order and symmetry are again achieved with little bushels of manicured topiary set in a flawless garden surrounding a deep blue swimming pool.
A manicured outdoor atrium offers secluded intimacy and natural breakaways with a curious water feature in the centre. Gravel pathways, both practical and authentic to this architectural style, crunch underfoot, adding texture and contrast to the green hedging.
Views that stretch far into the mountainous distance are captured through a quaint circular portal. This cameo is a surprise and a delightful one with decorative vine metalwork curling outwards and upwards.
The property’s many patios and balconies frame the landscape and suitably tall cypress trees stretch their spires upwards adding graceful stature and depth to garden views. This is estate living at its very best and is a home that is fit for royalty, offering presidential style living beyond international standards.
For more information on this property contact Phyl McCance-Price at Sotheby’s International Realty on +27(0)82 593 1624.