A NEW ORDER
A Jo’burg cluster transformed into a serene family home
Ifound our new home completely by chance,” says Anne Hartmann. “I was house-hunting for a friend, and we stopped to look at this cluster on the way to another property. It definitely spoke of the ’80s, but I saw the potential right away. In the end we each bought a unit, so it was a very productive day out!”
Looking past any minor f laws,
Anne was drawn to the building’s striking proportions. High ceilings create generous, elegant spaces, with the entire f low revolving around a central courtyard. “As a result the quality of light is fantastic – it reaches into every room, both on the ground f loor and upstairs.” Anne attributes the Continental, almost villa-like atmosphere to the Italian builder. “It’s superbly finished – the original marble f loors and roll-down shutter windows are still in perfect condition.” With so many of the basics in place, they began with the areas that were noticeably dated.
“The messiest part was the complete overhaul of all the bathrooms – updating the look to a more timeless, classical aesthetic.” Taking her cue from the walnut kitchen which the previous owner had installed, Anne repeated this timber on all the vanities.
THIS SPREAD, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT:
Tiles from Moroccan Warehouse add a decorative note to the The streamlined planters freed up space, the table and chairs were custom made by TrenDIY. The terracotta roof tiles add to the distinctly Continental feel. Anne and Robert Hartmann at the to their renovated cluster.
“Wallpaper is an excellent choice for bathrooms too – you can add pattern while still maintaining a neutral palette.”
Choosing one geometric pattern, Anne used it in the bathrooms and kitchen, with a stronger shade for the latter. “Repeating key elements is a good way to create a sense of cohesion. A bit like a boutique hotel, it becomes a visual signature that runs throughout the house.”
The spacious kitchen is adjacent to the courtyard, perfectly positioned for regular gatherings. “Apart from needing some TLC, there was very little wrong with the kitchen. We changed the wallpaper, had all the doors and drawers serviced, and integrated a pair of fridges – one of which is dedicated to drinks.” Keeping the look crisply neutral, Anne added modern black seating to the existing kitchen island.
Describing the courtyard as the pièce de résistance, Anne transformed this ordinary thoroughfare into a dream space for entertaining. Reducing the size of the existing beds added extra space, and the original f looring was replaced with decorative Moroccan tiles. Revamped box planters contain fresh greenery, and string lights add a magical touch. “We really do live out here – it’s perfect whether hot or cold, and it connects seamlessly to all the living spaces.”
Facing the garden and pool, a roomy covered patio is also well used – especially by the couple’s sons. “We installed a large glass panel to separate
the pool from the sitting area. It acts as a shield against water polo matches, and also protects the space from rain and wind.” Here, as with all the entertaining spaces, Anne likes to add fragrant candles, which she imports through her company Grace Collection.
Upstairs, the main bedroom is a tranquil haven of blues and cream – a palette that Anne used throughout the house. “For me a home has to be calm and relaxed. As a family we’re home bodies, and I’m happiest when there’s a sense of order. After countless moves I try to stick to three rules: surround yourself only with things that are beautiful, practical or sentimental. Anything else tends to become clutter.” Having built and renovated numerous homes, Anne admits that this is the best designed of all. “From the central location to the easy, interconnected spaces, it’s been a complete joy for our family.”
THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: The classical dining room has a statement chandelier from K. Light Import. The Heritage chairs are from Hartmann & Keppler. Hampton Trellis wallpaper from Home Fabrics and chairs from @home updated the existing kitchen. The pendant lights are from K. Light Import.
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Anne’s love of pale blues and cream is evident in the living room. The seagrass rug is from Hartmann & Keppler and the antique bureau came from France. An L-shaped sofa from Comfort Creations provides seating on the patio.