CAPE TOWN : A stylish oasis in the middle of the buzzing city

Just off the trendy and busy Kloof Street in Cape Town lies this secluded oasis of calm. Doreen De Waal's beautiful and inviting home is a stylish combination of old and new. 

"The house is a mixture of inherited pieces, things gathered on our travels and what I like. Nothing really matches, but everything is geared towards our needs and what visually pleases us" 



The house was designed by the famous British architect, Sir Herbert Baker, as the rectory if St Barnabas Anglican Church in the late 1800's. De Waals bought the house from the church in 1995 and she says they were very fortunate that the church elders were bamboozled into selling the house by the then Priest. 


The garden itself is a beautiful space made for entertaining, relaxing and alfresco lunch and dinners. Each corner of the property seem to have a purpose and the attention to detail is prominent.


The main house is a mix of old architecture and simple clean design. Doreen explains that she likes simplicity. Sometimes texture or a colour scheme would be enough as a design element - space and light are crucial. 


I ask Doreen where she finds her inspiration. "Locally I like the design store LIM - I think Pauline Mutlow, the owner, is one of the "unsung heroes" of our design landscape. She makes the everyday gorgeous and exciting. In addition I like to find interesting floor solutions - I have quartz carpet in one of the cottages - it is wonderful, and poplar floor that I sourced from the Eastern Cape. I also have used these woven carpets made from recycled plastic that I got from Italy. It is not always product design that interest me, but also spacial and structural design. And for a real fix of inspiration, I like to go to Babylonstoren. I find inspiration in every day life, places or people. I used to get most of my inspiration for magazines, but these days Pinterest is fantastic.


" I'm not at all a trend-seeker. I prefer simple design. I like local South African design, especially innovative designers, like Heath Nash, and Rene Rossouw. Laurie Wiid is also someone I admire and I absolutely adore Gregor Jenkin. I love his tables which are made in wood and steel "


Doreen has always loved design and architecture. She studied drama and worked in the theatre for the early part of her career. Thereafter she bought, renovated and sold apartment buildings giving her the foundation and experience she utilised later. In recent years she also worked as a stylist and travel writer for Elle Decoration. I love this house and it is here we raised our 3 children. However, when they left home we knew that we wanted to keep the house but utilise it better.


Doreen and her architect husband decided to build two garden cottages on the vast garden property and a separate loft extension. The result differs somehow from the main house with its more sleek, contemporary design. It is clear that highlighting functionality as well as taking advantage of the light were crucial elements. This is how Doreen's "InAweStays" was born which today allow guests to come and stay in her stunning garden cottages/ loft. 


I was fortune to stay with Doreen for a couple of days, in her stunning garden cottage, which is renovated in a sleek and contemporary style using glass, steel and wood in a perfect combination. The warm welcome and the attention to detail, not forgetting the unexpected home made bread, pastry and wine platter that awaited me one day when arriving back to the house, made me feel so at home. I am looking forward to my return.


To stay in one of the beautiful garden cottages, or in any of the other stunning properties of the De Waal family / InAweStays, please contact Doreen directly at