Julia Naughton fell in love with her Constantia home the moment she first stepped onto the veranda seven years ago. “When I saw the stunning view across the damn that was it! I decided to buy the house before I even knew if it had a kitchen.”
Previously the Naughton family had lived in a 100-year-Old Victorian house in Kenilworth and Julia had been feeling a cramped because of the lack of outdoor living space. Julia and her husband Francis decided to look for a property that was more in harmony with their soul needs. Julia is a wilderness enthusiast who has co- owned and operated African leisure safaris for the past 18 years.
Most people downscale in size when their children leave home but Julia and Francis moved into a much larger property. “People said we were mad.” But Julia never doubted her choice and hasn’t looked back since.
The home was built by architect Earnest Ford who built at least seven other properties in the area and is best known for designing Oude Libertas. Because he bought land cheap, he was able to have fun experimenting. Julia says, “There’s logic about everything in this home compared to the Victorian house which faced south and didn’t have a view.”
The most notable feature is the seamless flow between the interior and outside. This home celebrates the South African climate.
From the living room, the view is spectacular. The binoculars on the table are evidence of the couple’s passion for bird watching. “We’re not twichers. We don’t make lists! We just love it. When I come home from work, it’s so tranquil. I enjoy a glass of Francis’s wine and watch the birds. It’s like being in a bird sanctuary. Herons fish on the dam. Guinea fowl roost here. We regularly spot Kingfishers, dabchicks and Egyptian geese.” Julia’ most prized sighting was a Black crowned night heron. Once she saw a clawless otter with her two babies.
The living room, where the Naughton’s spend most of their time, is an uplifting shade of green and invites nature into the home. “I’m a sofaholic,” says Julia. I can’t pass up a good sofa.” She buys most of her favourite pieces at auctions. “I don’t really like new furniture, or antiques. I like pieces with a history.” Pride of place in the living room is the sofa that she bought over 20 years ago at the Ellerman’s house auction.
The first thing that Julia did when she moved in was to have the tiles covered with coir. Next, she painted the veranda, which had been a glaring white, a softer shade of ochre, adding to the Spanish hacienda feel. Then she added a touch of the bush with a reed roof ceiling.
The house has many interesting details. Several of the doors and windows are reclaimed from old Cape Town buildings and add a sense of solidity and history. There’s a cattle grid at entrance that serves as a reminder of Cape Town’ rural past.
Art is Julia’s biggest indulgence for the home. “I adore art and I’m forever moving paintings around. I grow to love each piece more as time goes by.”
A home beside water has a special ambience and Julia has created a soul-soothing haven. “What could be better than being lulled to sleep at night by the sound of leopard frogs?”She asks, with a contented smile.
Little black book
Julia prefers older pieces, which she picks up at auctions. She has furniture repaired at van der schyff’s 021-447070. One exception is the stunning avocado green sofa, which she couldn’t resist from Loft Living 021 424 6501
Julia loves art and buys as much as her budget allows. Her favourite gallery is the recently opened Jill Alderman gallery in Wynberg. Tel 083 556 25
Paint for the veranda from Earthcote, Wynberg 761 0578
Coir was bought from Albert Carpets 021- 462 3446