A spectacular marriage of African and Dutch influences and an unmitigated ode to the power of terroir are what characterise the newly renovated Manor House at De Toren Private Cellar. The estate, which previously could be visited by appointment only, has now thrown open stylish new doors to guests.
An existing property, the original Manor House on the estate underwent some transformation to create a beautifully designed contemporary space that warmly welcomes wine lovers and fittingly showcases the estate’s premium wines. The architecture, interior design and exterior landscaping were driven by a story of evolution, rather than revolution – the intention was to remain true to De Toren’s heritage and roots while embracing the opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate.
The Manor House was renovated with a nod to traditional Cape Dutch architecture – it is after all, situated in Stellenbosch – yet this historical style has been elevated with contemporary additions. Additionally, De Toren wanted the interiors to have an influence of African aesthetic, to reflect the beauty of the Cape’s unique Fynbos Biome, and echo the magic of the estate’s natural surroundings.
The Manor House sits elegantly surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens and shaded by big trees. Upon first glance, the Cape Dutch influences are clear: the thatch roof, gable and shuttered windows all wait to greet you. However, closer inspection reveals that modern dark brown frames and shutters have been chosen in place of the traditional green, and the gable has been reimagined as a more modern, sleek and angular structure – hints of the contemporary touches within.
The interior unveils this meeting of two worlds in more intricate detail. The heritage and roots are remembered in traditional textures, materials and colours that have been used in contemporary styles and designs. The high, uncovered ceiling brings a wonderful sense of height to the space and allows the thatch to shine in its natural glory. Dark wooden floors are featured, bringing a sense of depth and grounding to the space.
A sense of grandeur is created in the De Toren Tasting Lounge thanks to the large fireplace, wood-burning stove and dramatic chandelier. Sleek tan leather couches topped with mismatched (might sounds a bit negative – perhaps a different word for mismatched?) scatter cushions, a statement wooden coffee table, and a series of black and white African-inspired ceramics filled with greenery, create a sense of welcoming comfort for guests.
The adjacent De Toren Wine Bar continues the design story of heritage meets modernity. The bar is backed by an old-style mirror that serves to highlight the deep ebony counter that is inspired by traditional patterns. Velvet bar stools provide comfortable seating for guests to enjoy wine tastings. Greenery features again, an extension of the spectacular landscape outside.
The large open-plan chef’s kitchen features a mix of dark and natural wooden cabinetry, and is sleek and minimalist with vintage, farmhouse touches. This is complemented by the dark dining room table with the wooden grain still subtly visible and the black leather dining chairs. White textured ceramic vases filled with succulents and fynbos create added visual interest and bring a sense of nature into the space. Oversized natural basket pendants hang over the dining room table.
Two wide verandahs, at front and back respectively, are home to comfortable seating and offer guests the chance to enjoy either an ocean-facing panorama or a more intimate view of the pool, water feature and walled garden. These outdoor areas feature tasting tables that are circular in shape, which carry the curves from the reception zone through the lounge and bar to the exterior.
The ground-floor also features a world-class boardroom equipped with the latest technology and fitted with luxury finishes. This grand space can be used for private tastings and is available for hire for board meetings and breakaways.
The office-cum-TV room features a myriad of textures and materials to create a welcoming space. A brown leather couch, textured grey armchairs, greige patterned rug, wooden and metal desks, and gold, brass and wooden accessories are all used to create a contemporary and African-inspired feel.
Shoulde we include the offices? I think we can just mention that stylish offices also form part of the renovated manor house, but not give any in-depth detail and these are not consumer-facing areas.
Overall, the interior design perfectly balances the uniquely South African aspects of De Toren whilst showcasing its international influence. Much like the wine, this newly renovated estate and Manor House sits with one foot in the New World and another in the Old World. This all come together to create a perfectly pitched moment of luxury – an enticing and apt entry point to experience one of the world’s most luxurious wines.