Tucked away in the hills of Hout Bay are two serene properties that offer the ultimate escape from it all –Villa Maison Noir and its brand-new neighbour, Villa Verte. These luxurious contemporary villas, built on the mountainside, are like a home away from home for guests and offer slightly different propositions for getaways, events and extended holidays. The overarching theme, however, is recharging in one of Cape Town’s most picturesque settings.
The properties are owned by design-and-entrepreneur power duo Jim Brett (of Anthropologie and West Elm fame) and Ed Gray (who previously owned a luxury home furnishings store in Philadelphia by the name of Bruges Home). The American couple first began coming to South Africa to export South African craft to the US and fell in love with the country. “We loved the people we met, the culture, the food and we were awestruck by the beauty of the landscape,” explains Brett. They put down roots and found the perfect spot in Hout Bay, where a blue gum forest on the backside of Table Mountain had been cleared and where the expansive property cluster that makes up Villa Maison Noir sits.
Now expanding the brand further, they’ve created a new private residence on an adjacent property, which is connected to Villa Maison Noir by expansive gardens and is also a secluded mountain retreat. Villa Verte will extend the combination of luxury amenities and exquisite location. “We really enjoyed building the brand and wanted to keep extending the business. There used to be an old 1970s house on the property when we bought it, and we knew we could build something better in its place to complement Villa Maison Noir next door,” says Brett.
Enveloped by trees, Villa Verte will offer the same level of style and soul that Villa Maison Noir does, in a slightly different package. “We hope that people will come to this magical place and feel like they are living in a treehouse, with endless views of the mountains and nature all around them,” says Gray.
Following the same concept of a ‘village’ of structures as opposed to a single dwelling, Villa Verte has five peaked roofs, reiterating the five elements which are ever-present throughout the entire homestead. The circular backbone of the house echoes the circular motif found throughout Villa Maison Noir. “We use curves and circles throughout the entire property as nothing in nature is square or rectangular, even at its most cellular form. Even the furnishings have many round shapes and curved edges. We love everything that the circle represents: equality, inclusivity, unity, sustainability and of course the circle of life,” Gray explains.
“When we first bought Villa Maison Noir, we loved the way the original architect, Poalo Deliperi, had brought the concept of the African ‘kraal’ to life. He recommended architect Thomas Leach to help us manifest our vision for the new Villa Verte,” says Gray. He notes Thomas’s unique ability to approach the project with acknowledgement of the surrounds, as well as creating something truly exceptional in terms of design. “Many others would have proposed something overpowering, but Thomas managed to create something totally original, yet that referenced Villa Maison Noir,” he continues.
Additionally, Villa Verte will demonstrate the same passion for design that Brett and Gray have added to Villa Maison Noir since they took ownership – the eclectic mix of art and design gives it global appeal as well as local relevance. “We’ve always travelled the world, looking for unique products that could help people express their personal style at home,” states Brett. “Your home is your story – and yes – it’s told through the architecture and the interior design; but, most importantly it’s about your soul shining through. There is a shortage of truly authentic luxury experiences at affordable prices. We believe that both our properties – the existing and the new – combined with our amazing people create an experience that is unparalleled in Cape Town.”
Villa Verte is now open for pre-bookings and will officially launch on 5 March 2020.