Cape Town historic gem restored to former glory

Cape Town is home to many breathtaking and historic homes, but House Invermark designed in 1969 by South African architect Gilbert Colyn, with inspiration from two modernist icons: the Glass House by Phillip Johnson and Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is in a class of its own.

Photos by Adam Letch and Stefan Antoni via Dezeen

The house was awarded historical status for the quality of its design in 1970, just a year after it was designed. However, when world-renowned architect Stefan Antoni - a principal at SAOTA - purchased the home in 2013, it was in danger of demolition.
Years of neglect and a few unfortunate alterations undermined the home’s standout mid century character. The bones and the site in Higgovale with the mountain behind it and incredible views of the city was still good.

Photos by Adam Letch and Stefan Antoni 

Antoni’s sensible renovation opened up the layout by removing extraneous partition walls, and restoring the home’s original ceiling. Today, a double-sided fireplace divides the large open living room from the dining room and a more intimate lounge space beside the kitchen. The master bedroom now has a large dressing area and en suite bathroom, complete with soaking tub.

Photos by Adam Letch and Stefan Antoni 

But Antoni’s most masterful move was to move the swimming pool from the darker mountain-side backyard to the sunlit face of the home overlooking the city. Installed above a new street-level garage, the cement-sided pool also helps to visually shield the home from the street.

Photos by Adam Letch and Stefan Antoni 

At the end of the project, Antoni brought Gilbert Colyn—the home’s original architect—for a visit. “He was thrilled that it had been saved from demolition and commended the design for adding a new lease of life to his original building,” Antoni told Dezeen.

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