Revamp Space #2 - Silo Sanctuary
Steeped in history, and with an otherworldly feel, the reinvigorated Simonsberg Silos are tucked away on a family farm in the Cape winelands.
Acquired in 1969 by Sir Mordaunt Milner, Natte Valleij farm has remained in the Milner family ever since. It was Sumari, the wife of Sir Mordaunt’s grandson, Alexander, who conceived of the idea to reinvent the homestead’s silos into something magnificent.
‘There is so much family history on this farm. Alexander was born here, and we’ve lived here together since we married in 2010,’ Sumari explains. ‘While we were renovating the Waenhuis (wagon house) on the farm – to make way for our growing family – I sat on the steps staring at the silos and said to Alexander, “I want to do something with these silos”,’ she recalls.
‘He laughed, shook his head, and said “can we please just finish the house first!”’
At that stage, the structures were home to the chickens, having stored grain and been used as stables in the past. Sumari sat down with her friend and architect Sam Muir of Minc Design Studio, along with local carpenter Clinton Isaacs, and they sketched a few designs.
‘The basis of our design were some beautiful reclaimed Oregon beams and planks that we’d bought for the Waenhuis renovation,’ she says. ‘I wanted to create a modern, unique place for guests using authentic materials, but also retain as much of the original building as possible.’
Between the Waenhuis and silo renovations, and running after her two young sons (‘free-range’, as Sumari describes them), there must have been some hiccups? ‘Not really, everything progressed pretty smoothly – the biggest challenge was really the rounded shape. It’s tricky to place things in curves…,’ she says.
Once the building was done, Sumari set to work on the interiors. ‘I wanted to keep the look modern and uncluttered. I love the way the light streams in, and the bright, white walls.
But I wanted a statement piece, too; a touch of exuberance,’ she saysThat’s where the tiles from Moroccan Warehouse in Cape Town come in – the boldest feature in the silos, and the whimsical and energetic touch that Sumari was after. The artwork throughout was created by Sumari’s niece Zoë Milner, who also lives on the farm and is studying fine art at Stellenbosch University.
‘The Malawian chairs complete the understated, natural look,’ Sumari says.
‘My absolute favourite space is the bedroom; when you are lying in bed you look straight out into the canopy of beautiful, mature oak trees. It feels like you are suspended in a treehouse – idyllic!’
To take a closer look visit simonsbergsilo.com.
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