Faline Edwards creates a whimsical retreat in South Africa’s Cape Winelands

Country Road: an Idyllic Contemporary Retreat in South Africa
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Faline Edwards’s contemporary villa feels like it’s miles from anywhere.

The river deck provides the perfect spot for early morning or late afternoon reading

It's hidden behind a grassy ledge and nestled on the banks of the Kastaiing River, the Afrikaans name for the chestnut trees lining its clear waters. Moody late afternoon light catches the magnificent mountain peaks ahead through oak and willow trees, and guinea fowls scuffle through the undergrowth and up onto the summer deck overlooking the river, calling as they go. It seems like the ultimate rural idyll. The truth is, though, that it’s just minutes from the nearest village in South Africa’s Winelands country. 

Faline’s style is pared down yet sensual. The furnishings were all custom-made

“Klein Kastaiing” is what the interior designer calls her ultimate “lifestyle farm”.  In place of the original 1970s bungalow that occupied the plot, Faline built a new house that's surrounded by mountains and has 360-degree views. Here, she grows Merlot wine grapes. “[We] produce around 600 bottles a year, just for our visitors of course, but there’s a cellar, used for storage and bottling,” she says. Fruit trees bear apples, mulberries, figs, avocados and pecan nuts, and all the herbs, vegetables and lots of basil are grown in the kitchen garden. The entire top half of the farm is irrigated and fertilised, ready for planting more grapes, olives or capers. 

The kitchen is a study in rustic simplicity, with glamorous Tom Dixon lights as the perfect foil

“I designed the house to blend into the site and merge with the colours of the surrounding mountains. In summer, with all the trees and vines, it’s barely visible from the road,” she says. Rendered in charcoal grey, the structure echoes the mountains behind, giving you the perfect outdoor feeling while still keeping in mind the different seasons. The home caters to the weather in other ways, too: wooden ceiling fans whirr in the summer and welcoming log fires burn in the fireplaces in winter.

Beautiful bronzed dishes sit perfectly against the rustic wood surfaces

The house faces north and south, allowing for ideal temperature control no matter what the weather. In the winter months, the leafless trees open up the farmland in front of the house, giving expansive views that you don’t see when cocooned in summer greenness. And on hot days, all the glass doors can be opened on both sides of the house, but particularly lovely is the seamless flow to the pool from the bedrooms leading off the light-filled passageway. 

In summer, the bedrooms are bathed in sunlight and ceiling fans cool down sultry summer nights. Simple tiling and soft rugs caress underfoot
A cute, carved wooden sculpture by the master bed

Every effort has been made to recycle the vegetation that once lined the river. “The floorboards in the living room and passage are all crafted from this wood, which was planked and laid out to dry for around six months before being laid and then limewashed to take away the slightly yellow hue,” explains Faline. “The ceiling is made from thinner offcuts and these were varnished in a darker colour in order to ‘ground’ the room.”

Faline’s bathroom opens up to the lush garden and river beyond

In the kitchen, a floating ceiling highlights the Tom Dixon lighting installation. Says Faline, “I had all the furniture manufactured by local craftsmen and, when the old barn was demolished, they used the roof trusses to make the long dining table.”

Inviting loungers for lazy days by the pool
Faline used recycled wood to create the thick-topped outdoor table and monastic-style benches
The epiphytes and staghorn fern are from The Exotic Plant Company on the neighbouring farm

Klein Kastaiing is also perfectly placed near wineries, tempting bakeries and restaurants serving dishes by world-renowned chefs. “It’s wonderful the way the village transforms itself with festivals,” says Faline. The town clearly has a wealth of attractions and social buzz, but for Faline, the best experience is returning home to Klein Kastaiing – a modern sanctuary that’s tucked away from the world.

Photography: Lar Leslie; Production: Greg Cox / www.bureaux.co.za

See also: Inside Iconic Hospitality Designer Pierre-Yves Rochon's Stunning Hotels

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