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)


Decorex CT 2011 – Interior Attractions With Lasting Impressions

Quite a few people have asked for my opinion on Decorex 2011. My response has been that for me it was an absolute pleasure, tiring like most expos, but I derived a great deal of benefit from it, being a total interiors junkie.   “You get out of it, what you came to look for” as there are so many interior disciplines featured at this expo

Image via Decorex

Getting connected – that I would say is the total benefit that I derived from trawling the exhibition stands at Decorex 2011. Connected with the most talented local retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, magazines, interior decorators /designers and the more. Decorex brings all these people into one space, they connect with us and we connect with them. Some friends we know and others are new to us.  That is what attracts me. Awesome!

Image via Decorex

I went into inspiration overload (not to mention sensory overload) but walking away from Decorex I could once again indulge that Proudly South African sensation that I often have.  We are managing to keep abreast of many a global trend, but at the same time, we are adding our unique South Africa flavour.

Bos Tea House. Image via Decorex

Speaking of flavour – like at Indaba, there was no escaping the BOS ICE TEA brand.  There they were large as life, in the most unique Tea Lounge, designed by the clever Neil Stemmet of Koncept Designs – offering the people of Cape Town such a unique ‘café’ experience.   Who would have thought that Ice Tea would find collaboration with the world of interiors, but they have.  The bright colours of the BOS brand oozed out from every corner.  However, my lasting impression – sensational – maybe too sensational.  This is where my sensory overload just went off the map.  As much as I wanted to, I just could not take in all the stunning details – there were too many of them concentrated in one space. Maybe it will happen for me next time.

Boutique Plascon Paint Store. Image via Freeworld Design Centre

One of the exhibit partners at the Tea Lounge was a little Plascon Paint Boutique by Freeworld Design Centre.  Being in the paint business, they put together some entertaining objects, painted in soft trendy colours.  Inspirational again.

On Site Gallery. Image via Visi

In the furniture lines, I was glad to see On Site Gallery opening up their wares to the public.  Their retail outlet in the Palms is a must do and a ‘junkie’ fix for me.

Yaku - Design For Kids - Images via Yaku

From furniture past to furniture present, a newbie in children’s furniture is YAKU.  Having been fortunate enough to design some trendy children’s rooms, I appreciate that YAKU has given us yet another affordable outlet to source from.

Hamilton's Spray Gun Thingy

Although I don’t mind putting my hand to a paint job, I am not wild about it not being a very ‘handy’ person.  I guess that is what attracted me to the exhibition of Hamilton Brands spray gun thingy. Do-it-yourself, without the paint drips all over the place, including your hair.  I have a vision of myself, clutching one of these super duper spray paint thingies, as I go about up-cycling some of my furniture –  is that a sigh of relief I hear my husband breathing in the background?

Don’t go away! More  awesome Decorex 2011 stuff to follow! Stay tuned for Decorex 2011 Report 2!

Simonsig’s Beautiful Restaurant, Cuvée. This Restaurant = Eye Candy

By Marica

Mother’s Day has snuck up on me. If Rose didn’t ask me where I was planning to take my mom I would probably have forgotten the special day completely (bad daughter, I know).

Sunday being two measly days away didn’t leave me with much time to plan so I jumped onto the internet (old faithful) to find a restaurant we can go to for dinner. My criteria – must have an intimate atmosphere, has to be pretty (I am an interior designer after all) and the food must be drool-worthy.

Then, as if by divine providence, I stumbled upon Cuvée’s website. Isn’t it a feast for your eyes – I just had to call Rose over to my PC to take a look. We obsessively tabbed through their image gallery for at least 30 minutes…

Cuvée is Simonsig Wine Estate’s signature restaurant which is located on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. I happen to be one of those lucky people who have the greater Stellenbosch area as a backyard so I’m quite ecstatic about this beautiful find.

What I absolutely love about Cuvée’s interior is the juxtaposition of opposing styles and elements that come together in a unique and harmonizing way. A mixture of old and modern, the traditional Cape Dutch manor house was converted into an eclectic jewel.

Interior designer, Neil Stemmet of Koncept Design, a self-confessed collector & curator, brought his distinct trademark style to Cuvée’s interior. The rather brooding, masculine spaces are beautifully accented by one or two bold colours. Bright yellow and red make for a quite dramatic contrast.

I adore the old heavy Dutch armoires and funky use of picture frames and crockery as wall features.

The lighting is also something special – the crystal chandeliers with various pieces of crockery stuck into it is quite ingenious.

Furthermore Cuvée’s menu looks mouth-wateringly delicious and the dishes have a certain sophisticated flair which reminded me that we all eat not only with our mouth but also with our eyes. Eish, those dishes look amazing.

And, and! I phoned – they have Mother’s Day lunch special! The irresistible three course menu designed with you and mom in mind at the cost of R260 per person is said to “indulge your taste buds”. It also includes a small gift and complementary glass of the iconic Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel celebrating its 40th anniversary this year as South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique.

Ladies and gentlemen…we have a winner!

Do yourself a favour and check out their website. And if you are planning to take mom out to Cuvée you best make a reservation – tyd is min!


The Mother’s Day lunch is on the 8th of May from 11h00 to 14h00.

Reservations:  (021) 888-4932 or send an email to cuvee@simonsig.co.za

Oh and check out the special Mother’s Day Menu: here.