In our #HLBWissue – on shelves and online now – we explore the home of Dr Michael Lan and Anina Malherbe-Lan. Old blends wonderfully with the new in their 160-year-old Victorian home, situated in the heart of Cape Town. It’s a renovation packed with personal appeal, French-Asian influences and lashings of luxury. Tour their home on page 48 of the magazine and get to know its co-owner Anina Malherbe a little better below.
The thing I love most about what I do for a living is that it doesn’t feel like a job – it just comes naturally. It also allows me to use my left and right brain equally, and there is never a dull moment. When you deal with people, high-profile brands, and the media, you’ve got to think on your feet, and that’s what I do best.
My earliest memory of beautiful interior design is my own room while growing up. I started decorating my bedroom from as early as five years old. I used to change it at least once every season – I would stick colourful pieces of paper on my wall, change my dolls’ dresses to match the season’s trends and display different props and ornaments on my book shelves. One season it was pink and lilac, the next season was neon orange and green, and the next – my all time favourite – black and white. It kept me busy for hours at a time, and drove my parents crazy.
My personal style is very dramatic. I dislike anything that’s boring. I can do ‘classic’, but only with a touch of drama and glamour thrown in. My favourite local product designer is GOET for its simplicity, quality, and international appeal. My best place for inspiration is a good book store with the latest international magazines. I’m currently reading David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants [Little, Brown and Company] by Malcolm Gladwell. And I’m listening to Carla Bruni.
My favourite go-to comfort food is Peking duck. Favourite restaurants include Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch, Marble in Rosebank, Joburg, and Villa 47 in Cape Town, which is a few hundred metres from my office and a great lunchtime meeting spot. My best winter indulgence is cozying up with my husband in front of our fireplace with a large mug of hot chocolate.
I always have to travel with my antioxidants, and protein whey powder for healthy travel snacking. One country I’ve travelled to that I will never forget is Russia. The people are fascinating. Moscow, especially, has a sense of danger and unbridled opulence about it. Maybe I read too many Russian spy novels as a teenager, but Moscow has a way of making you feel alive. My next dream holiday destination is Vietnam, for its simplicity, and ‘back to basics’ appeal. I desperately need a break from the electronics that rule my everyday life. If money were no object, I’d treat myself to a private island and private jet for regular weekend getaways.
When I was younger, I used to think that I was an artist. But when I hit my mid-twenties, I realised I was much more. I realised I was an entrepreneur and businesswoman, who happened to be creative. All I need to make me happy is good conversation and a glass of champagne. I’m at my most creative when I’m out in nature. Either walking in the mountains or along the beach. Nature has a way of clearing my mind of all the daily clutter and making space for fresh ideas.