Gallery: From ugly to beautiful

By Bianca Coleman Time of article published Jul 27, 2015

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Cape Town - Ian and Lise Manley own a PR agency focusing on the lifestyle and tourism sectors within Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

They are based in Riebeek Kasteel, in the heart of the Swartland, where they have lived and worked for the past 11 years.

The house they bought just off the square in Riebeek Kasteel in 2004, was the old NG Kerk’s “pastorie”. Not an attractive home or comfortable by modern standards, the couple were drawn to the property by the great setting as the property backs on to a smallholding populated by a small herd of springbok and was owned by Jan Smuts’s grandson

Lise and Ian have two sons, Luke and Guy, who attend the new Montossori school, Carnegie House which is also just off the main village square and in walking distance of their home. Labradors Rosie and Cocoa rule the roost.

“We’re friendly with Allan Barnard of Kasteelberg Country Inn & Bistro. He invited us for a weekend and as we were looking for a weekend home at the time, we set up an appointment with the local estate agent,” recalls Ian. “After a couple of viewings, we bought the house two properties up from Allan’s. We realised it was the ugliest house in the region, but the price was right and the location was superb.”

Adds Lise: “We wanted a property not too far from Cape Town, where we were living at the time. Properties by the coast were out of our financial reach and as Ian had stayed at the famous Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel some years back, the village came up as a possible location. We wanted to be in the village and within the hub of local restaurants etc.”

The Manleys lived in the original property for four years before moving during a year of renovations. In 2009 they moved back into a home which was vastly different.

The original house had been L-shaped and it was transformed into a U-shaped easy living “villa”. The roof had to come off as it was caving in. The old kitchen, lounge, dining room and one of the bedrooms were transformed into a single living space including the open plan kitchen.

A rectangular pool was included within the U-shape of the building.

“We increased the footprint of the home somewhat,” explains Ian. “The old garage became a guest room with separate entrance. A separate TV room, wet room/shower, guest toilet and scullery were added within the extra wing.

“The previous home had a do-it-yourself-pool; this space now comprises part of the new main bedroom which includes a large his and hers dressing room as well as a separate Victorian styled bathroom with separate shower and loo. Underfloor heating was installed throughout but after the first winter’s Eskom bill, it was quickly realised that a large fireplace in the living area was more financially practical! Solar heating is planned for next year.”

With regard to the décor of their home, the Manleys keep abreast of trends which are tweaked to their own style. Having lived together for 18 years, they very much share a vision when it comes to this. There is a foundation of “formal” with accents of quirky and local design.

“Décor changes as the years go by but we’ll always love our artwork,” says Ian. “Claudia Gurwirtz lives in Riebeek Kasteel and apart from being a respected artist is also the local yoga instructor.”

In their field, entertaining is part of their job description so when Ian and Lise are at home it’s a place to relax although they have been known, on occasion, to host “quite the Sunday bash”. Being on the road a great deal and commuting to Cape Town to visit clients, it’s always a thrill to see the Kasteelberg Mountain and know that home is a heartbeat away, they say.

“We enjoy a glass of wine after work looking out on to the springbok and Kasteelberg Mountain. A braai is normally on the cards in summer, and Lise’s famous osso bucco is a firm favourite on Sundays,” says Ian.

This is without a doubt the family’s dream country home, but they also have a weekend home in Patnernoster. Eyes are now set on an apartment in Cape Town as an investment and possible accommodation for the boys once out of school and, hopefully, in university.

Bianca Coleman, Weekend Argus

Pictures: Supplied

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