…at the foot of the Ngong Hills”.
Obviously I have not had a farm in Africa. I wish I had. Isn’t there a bit of Karen Blixen in all of us?
Especially after this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, where arguably the best show garden, designed by Jonathan Snow, is a take on those beautiful South African wine estates. Yes, yes I know Karen Blixen was a Dane in Kenya, not South Africa but you catch my drift.
Set within the Cape Winelands of South Africa [aka The Royal Hospital Chelsea], the garden includes the traditional Cape Dutch homestead and formal parterre garden. A vineyard is accessed thought a wooden gate and beyond that the ‘fynbos’ vegetation thrives in the rugged landscape, which in reality is often scorched by bushfires, caused by the relentless African sun.
My interior spying was in full flow this week. As my gaze fell upon this elegant-yet-simple Cape Dutch building, I pondered.
“I wonder what a traditional 17th Century Cape Dutch interior would look like. What could behind that green panelled door?”
Well, back in December on my own mission to South Africa, sourcing decorative homewares (see previous post http://www.theinteriorspy.com/2018/04/23/out-of-africa/), I took a peek inside a Constantia homestead. Obviously the building now houses tourists like me, sipping delicious wines, overlooking lush valleys. But there were a few remaining hints of how the interior might have looked.
I have taken these hints, working them into my own imagined Cape Dutch interior. You’ll have to forgive the somewhat makeshift element to my mood board: I don’t have terracotta tiles lying about my props cupboard, so I used a tiny terracotta pot, found years ago on a French farm. There are no white tiles in Jonathan’s garden scheme but I had the wonky, crackled one in my samples drawer and thought the imperfect nature of the tile will help set the scene.
A visual scene which is bursting with natural, untreated country textures. Chunky timbers, rush matting, lime washed walls and rough sun-baked terracottas. Perfectly un-ironed linens. A pared-down palette due to sun bleached hues extracted from nature: browns and earthy reds and blues.
Perfect for my own farm in Africa.