Hemelhuijs – A Distinguishable Taste Of Designer’s Heaven

I am often amazed at life’s co-incidences and just recently, I once again discovered that every day life is riddled with co-incidences, and when you begin to connect the dots, a wonderful picture begins to emerge.

I am drawn to restaurants with beautiful interiors as a bee is to a flower and this happened again the other day during a rare trip into the Cape Town CBD. As I walked past these huge open windows of Hemelhuijs (a Dutch word meaning: “Heaven’s House”) I knew I had to go in and do what I enjoy doing – take in the interior. Coupled with that I decided that any venue that gets my blood coursing through my decorating veins the way this one did, must serve excellent food. And it did.

Check out the funky “graffiti” bulkhead. All the furniture is custom made (and can be bought…if I can remember correctly)

The co-incidences I found later were hidden in the fact that Jacques Erasmus (the owner, designer and distinguished restaurateur) is also the person responsible for Manna Epicure – one of my favoured eateries in the City Bowl District. I don’t get enticed into Town very easily but if you want to meet at Manna, then that will do it. A further co-incidence is that Jacques is the other half of a partnership with Neil Stemmet in Koncept Design – whom we featured recently as the designer of Cuvee. As I realise this, I begin to understand why it is that these interiors so appeal to me – their designers are cut from the same cloth (so to speak). Just my kinda cloth as well – with plenty of quirky, adventurous details filling the interior spaces.

The white floating shelves a strong contrast against the black wall…and the beautiful ceramic bust vases.

But back to Hemelhuijs – the striking features of the interior design is the excess (thankfully) of bespoke items mixed into the eclectic style of furnishings consisting of custom designed Zen tables and chairs, with a smattering of antique pieces. A magnificently carved, inlaid cabinet with marble top (the age of which I cannot recall) stands as proud as a Peacock, regally announcing that it is the unchallenged Pièce de résistance.

Jacques said the gorgeous antique cabinet is French.

But it has indeed got many a challenger in the variety of stunning features, one of which is the overhead bulkhead with it’s over all freehand drawings and writing in the most simplistic of form. You will find yourself hard pressed to stop staring at it.

Here you can still see the original massive Stag Horn air plant. Restaurant life didn’t seem to agree with the plant and it has since been replaced with a funky chandelier.

At the same height but a little distance away from it, mounted to the wall (a very impressive pitch-black wall – brought into balance by plentiful natural light) is a deer’s head with Jacques’ trademark broken crockery tucked into its horns.  While your eye is still roaming around the ceiling area, it will settle on a chandelier draped in who knows what. Apparently, it was originally a massive Stag’s Horn air plant, but that had to be shipped back to its home.

Beautiful little framed painting – hanging askew…as it should (just in case you were wondering).

A lonely small antique gilt framed art piece hangs rather lopsided – looking wonderfully and artistically out of place – but that is the beauty of it!

One of the striking ceramic busts again.

Busts, busts and more busts – unique white busts at that, made for Jacques by a Swish craftsman now living in Cape Town, the purpose of which it seems is multi-functional, be it vase or object d’art.

Even this beautiful ceramic mugs are custom-made.

There are just so many unique features to speak of but that would have me rambling on in my décor junkie fashion.  So, in closing, I have to draw your attention to the fact that your sojourn in Hemelhuijs will be made even more awesome, when you drink your Cappuccino from an unusual mug and eat from a delicate floral plate, each one different to the next.

I encourage you – go to Hemelhuijs – see it, feel it and experience it.  You will not regret it.


71 Waterkant Street

021 418 2042.

P.S.  Also be sure to check out Lanalou’s post on Hemelhuijs – as always she took her camera along and the images are simply stunning.

(All images via Hemelhuijs)


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