Acclaimed sculptures hide in corners, nooks and crevices, striking contemporary art from local and international artists hang on the walls, and bookshelves bulging with colourful reads are ready to be enjoyed. These glimmers of personality are uncommon sights in your average private South Africa villa rental, but this is what makes Art House Collection. A spin-off from international villa Company In Residence, Art House Collection homes are unique, and they’re changing the way we see and enjoy private home rentals.
Just a nine-hour flight from the GCC and with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, Cape Town, South Africa, is the perfect escape from the scorching heat. Winters in the Cape are fresh, sunny and delightful, where delicious, colourful farm produce is in season, and roaring fireplaces light up old farmhouses and homesteads. The stunning beach city is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful and unique private rentals, largely thanks to In Residence and its sister Art House Collection. Launched in 2020 by long-time magazine editor and travel expert Michelle Snaddon and Elana Brundyn, former director of Norval art foundation (and wife of In Residence owner Pieter Brundyn), Art House Collection is a boutique portfolio of design-led private homes for rent, offering lived-in, curated spaces, owned by creatives, editors, photographers, interior designers and artists in some of South Africa’s most beautiful destinations.
‘In Residence villas in Cape Town are typically larger, striking architectural properties on the Atlantic Seaboard, not the more relaxed beach bungalow or family-friendly manor house on a wine farm,’ explains co-founder Elana Brundyn on the growing South Africa villa rental service. ‘They complement the existing In Residence collection, but with a unique and interesting art, design and creative focus.’
The latest addition to the portfolio is Bungalow 52, a low-slung, three-floor bungalow nestled in palm trees and set right on the white sands of Cape Town’s most famous salubrious coastal destination, Clifton. The sought-after structure has 290 square metres of living space, a private pool and three en-suite bedrooms, with the bungalow’s symmetrical design and canopies maximise sight-after beachfront space. Interiors lean towards a Japanese aesthetic but boast natural oak floor-to-ceiling windows. Inspiration also comes from the sea, with glass portholes in the downstairs media room offering views of the private garden and pool.
‘These are lived-in homes,’ explains Brundyn. ‘We aim to have a smaller portfolio of properties that genuinely have a story to tell, either through their compelling art or simply because they’re homes curated by owners who display their sometimes quirky collections with such distinct style that travellers come to us if they want to discover the extraordinary.’
For Bungalow 52, the extraordinary is its contemporary art and design, from the James Mudge dining room table (with lines from John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever carved into it) to artist Conrad Botes’s glass-fronted mermaid cabinets and a one-off surfboard by Mami Wata, shaped by South African surfing champion Hugh Thompson. Striking pieces include a large vase by South African ceramicist Lucinda Mudge and a welded steel piece by the late, revered sculpturist Barend de Wet. Other stand-out pieces include a bench by local artisan Laurie Wiid van Heerden (hand-painted by artist Lionel Smit), Frank van Reenen’s ‘Monster Love’ sculpture (a googly-eyed space-age-like embracing a little girl), Sanell Aggenbach’s bronze ‘Pietà’ (a rabbit-themed interpretation of Michelangeo’s The Crucifixion of St. Peter) and a deck dotted with Guy du Toit’s giant hare sculptures.
‘They’re characterful, loved and lived-in. Each art house “speaks” to us for a different reason,’ adds Brundyn. Art aside, the home is a dreamy base for a stay in Cape Town, sleeping five guests in three en-suite bedrooms, all with either a rain or steam shower and Healing Earth organic bath products. The fully-equipped kitchen has Gaggenau hobs, a Nespresso machine, a double wine fridge, a dishwasher and microwave, and for al fresco entertaining, there’s a Weber BBQ stocked with firelighters, wood and charcoal. A 30-square-meter pool deck is framed by four loungers and a hammock for lazy days in the crisp Cape Town sunshine. What’s more, and more important than ever, the home is home to a backup power generator, meaning guests will not have to battle the country’s current load-shedding crisis.
From 18,000 ZAR a night (about AED 3,445); arthouse-collection.com