Amazing Cape Town house for sale
Described as a national treasure, this Cape Town mansion was created by one of SA’s most talented advertising gurus – and it’s up for sale
FROM the moment you set eyes on it you know this is no ordinary home. With its towering stone walls, thatch roof and leafy canopies, Blackwood Manor looks like something straight out of a fairytale – not something you’d expect to find on the slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
How many houses boast a private moat that guests have to cross to get to the front door? Or walls made of handcarved sandstone? Or zip lines that allow guests to whizz straight from the house into the pool?
But then advertising genius Keith Rose was always a guy who liked to think out of the box. For more than two decades he threw his heart and soul into creating his own private Neverland.
No expense was spared: hand-carved stone was brought in to build the walls and vaulted roofs that create the feeling you’re in a mediaeval castle.
And instead of going with boring old concrete, Keith (63) chose rather to use tree trunks as support pillars throughout the house.
Inside, the mansion is all glass, wood and stone, with spiral staircases leading into a mind-boggling network of galleries and secret rooms.
Other amazing features include a 2 500-litre fish tank which serves as a room divider, a subterranean wine cellar with storage for 1 800 bottles, a spa pool that can seat 18 people, and a vast koi pond that surrounds most of the house.
For Keith this was his wonderland – so friends and family were stunned when news broke of his mysterious death early last month.
The award-winning ad director’s body was found at the foot of Chapman’s Peak near Hout Bay after what seems was suicide, and now there’s speculation that the prospect of losing his dream home may have contributed to his stressful situation.
KEITH was revered as one of the most brilliant minds in South African advertising. He was best known for the iconic 1990 ad for Mercedes-Benz that was shot on Chapman’s Peak. Three years later he helped create the
“mouse on the steering wheel” commercial for BMW, which won two gold Lion awards at the Cannes International Festival and was hailed as the best car ad ever made.
Now, near Constantia Nek on the southern side of Table Mountain, Keith has left behind one of the world’s most unusual homes.
His family, who still live in the house while it’s on the market, have declined to comment on his death.
A Cape Town estate agent describes it as one of South Africa’s national treasures. “It’s not just a home – it’s a living work of art,” is how Tanya Jovanovski, franchisee of Rawson Auctions Western Cape, describes the property on website Property24. com.
Blackwood Manor was listed on the site in March this year. According to the Sunday Times, Keith was heartbroken about having to put his home up for sale but had no other option – the newspaper reported sources saying he’d had to use the property as collateral for a loan, possibly because of a failed business venture.
It went on auction in June with a reserve price of R45 million but failed to sell.
W hen Keith and his wife, Marie-Louise, bought the property in 1997 for R550 000 it contained a humble prefabricated wooden cabin. But over the years they transformed it into a private paradise for themselves and their four children.
Pictures on the estate agent’s website bear testimony to the creativity and freespirited energy that went into the home, as well as the careful planning. The house, set on a 3 000m² erf, has five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a garage with enough space to park 17 vehicles.
The tastefully decorated main living room has a vast fireplace, sandstone walls, high ceilings and huge windows. A cast-iron spiral staircase leads from the lounge to a second storey.
Tree trunks adorn the ceiling in a second smaller lounge while ornate candelabras hang low over the dining table.
The wine cellar has arched windows that look into the depths of the huge koi pond which, apart from creating a magical underwater world when you gaze
(From previous page) into it, also helps to keep the wine at the correct temperature.
Outside, the mountain views are breathtaking. Guests have a choice of entering the L-shaped pool by slide or zip line. There are also various ladders to climb and explore, and a high bridge spans between two trees over the crystal waters.
Blacksmith and artist Luke Atkinson, who worked on the property, says Keith was like a child in a candy store.
“Before he even had kids we used to run around that property. We would be ducking behind trees and he’d be saying, ‘You can foefie slide from here, let’s have a bridge here, let’s do a slide there.’ He was so young at heart.”
He recalls the creative energy Keith poured into developing the property.
“It had to be absolutely perfect. To me the guy was an absolute genius,” he says.
Now Blackwood Manor stands silhouetted against the magnificent mountain – a monument to one man’s incredible imagination.
Tanya Jovanoski of Rawson Auctions in the Western Cape declined to comment.
1 Blackwood Lodge, advertising executive Keith Rose’s fairytale Hout Bay home. 2 The garden is a maze of greenery, streams, trees and wooden structures. 3 The home boasts an entertainment area on the deck and 4 spectacular views of the Hout Bay valley. 5 The outdoor spa pool offers wonderful relaxation on warm summer evenings.
1 The manor boasts a private wine cellar with windows looking into the koi pond. 2 One of its fiveluxurious bedrooms. 3 The home’s enormous living room. 4 One of its nine bathrooms, this one with a glorious view.