Her husband Herbert has always had “a thing” for Wynberg Chelsea in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, says my friend Lizrae Meyer, one of the most creative people I know. So when their mock-Georgian double-storey, Wellington House, came up for sale in May 2014, it was a given: They had to have it. Its proximity to the Wynberg Chelsea village – with its colourful clutch of chic shops and eateries, characterful up-down town houses, and creative arts offerings at Maynardville – colours the way the Meyers live. Take a look and see …
How we live: The kitchen is the hub of our home. Herbert, who is the CEO of Cecil Nurse, is based in Johannesburg during the week and comes home at weekends, when he takes charge of the cooking. The open-plan space next to the kitchen is where I chill. As an artist, what drew me to the house was its light, and the atrium, just off the kitchen, is where I love to relax. Our youngest son, Bernhardt (20), lives at home (he’s studying creative design at the Cape Town Creative Academy).
Morning rituals: When I get up in the morning I open all the curtains to let in the light and then I put on classical music, usually Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Bernhardt asked me the other day if I was aware that were other composers out there besides Vivaldi! I just think there’s something so uplifting about the Four Seasons. When I am downstairs, I put on the kettle, fetch the newspaper, make a cup of tea and settle down to read.
Catching the travel bug: I love pinboards – if I could live in a pinboard house, I would! This is our travel board. There was a time when each member of the family had a colour-coded pin! When we moved into our first house we put it up as a declaration that we were going to travel. Nowadays we usually travel overseas in September, when Herbert attends the trade shows, and I happily tag along (on my own account!). One of the most memorable trips was one Bernhardt and I took to see the 2015 Venice Biennale. Herb was green with envy. Pops of colour: My decor style involves layering with a touch of quirkiness. I love textures, and colour. I start off with a minimalist palette. There is humour in my decor: Things need to be tongue-in-cheek and fun. (The table is from Block & Chisel.)
OPEN-PLAN DINING ROOM
Family gatherings: This open-plan space is the utility room where we all hang out – people and animals (we have a dog, Chilli, and a cat, Miles). The mahogany dining-room table was one of the first things we had made as a married couple. It is less than a metre wide and 3 m long – so that when you sit down to a meal you can actually speak to the person sitting opposite you! When we bought this house, one of the prerequisites was that the dining room table had to fit … this is where the whole family congregates for family lunches when our older children, Neil (31) and Elan (27) join us. We get together at least once a month. Herb serves up a scrumptious Sunday lunch but we have to be done by 4 pm because that’s when his Uber arrives to take him to the airport!
Collector’s corner: This open-plan space is my display case. These original charcoal drawings by Cape Town sculptor Justine Mahoney are favourites of mine. There are ceramics by Anthony Shapiro, Lauren Kaplan and Ian Garrett. To the amusement of my family, I move things around constantly.
From house to home: I like my home to be a warm, secure space for my children. It’s very important to me that they feel this is a safe environment. This house attracts people! Bernhardt’s friends come here all the time, even when he is not home. One of them recently told me: “It’s always so rustig (calm) here.” It’s true – the house has a quiet harmony. (The light is from Mavromac and The Gatehouse.)
Lounge lizards: The painting above the formal lounge fireplace is by South African artist Walter Meyer, who is Herbert’s cousin. Those flanking it are my own. When I paint I only use vivid colours which I find inspirational. The chess set on the table is one of Herbert’s heirlooms. When he was small, and going through a pyromaniacal phase, Bernhardt set one of the knights alight and then tried to “reconstruct” it! He put it back in its place without saying a word, and much later we noticed this penguin-like knight … we had to admit it was kind of cool.
Mixing and matching: When we lived in Bloemfontein, we had a decor shop called Lounge Lizard. I bought this black cabinet from Peter J. A. Stuart in Johannesburg for the shop but everyone hated it! They couldn’t find its redeeming features so after three years on the showroom floor, it was written off and I brought it home. The chair I’m sitting on was Bernhardt’s Grade 8 design project.
Pinboard queen: This is my studio, just off the atrium and next to the formal lounge. At the moment I am focusing on ceramics and painting. I have a studio in Observatory where I do ceramics but I work on porcelain here in my home studio. I recently did a black crockery range for Four & Twenty Cafe and Pantry in the village, which is also on sale there.
Wall coverings: Rumour has it that the architect who handled the renovations of the house was a woman as there are feminine touches and practicality. We removed most of the wallpaper when we renovated the house but I loved this one’s charcoal colour. The light fittings were in the lounge when we bought the house. The kuba cloth is from Zambia. Next to it is a work by Cecil Skotnes. This WiFi reception here is stronger than anywhere else in the house, so this is where we all congregate when we need to go online.
Bird’s eye view: This is the view of the atrium from the landing on the staircase. The doors open onto a small courtyard garden at the back of the house. (The bird’s nest lampshade is from Heartworks at The Old Biscuit Mill.)
Thank you for the house tour, Lizrae! Just love your home.