Villa Verte - tranquil designer luxury

Balancing the five elements was essential in the architectural design of Villa Verte

We recently had the pleasure of discovering a magical new designer villa high up in the Hout Bay mountains where the fresh mountain air and the magical Cape Fynbos meets within exquisitely designed spaces.

Villa Verte – so called for its magical green forest setting – is the perfect designer sanctuary for those wishing to escape the frenetic pace of everyday life without giving up their daily luxuries. The imposing four suite luxury villa, sister (and neighbouring) property of Villa Maison Noir, was dreamt up by its American owners, interior design experts Jim Brett and Ed Gray, and opened just before lockdown this year.

Meant as a showcase for exciting furniture design, artwork and craft, the structure had to be carefully considered, and to achieve this, the duo enlisted talented local architect Thomas Leach, who came up an innovative structure which has zen-like nods to nature, particularly the circular shape of the villa itself. “Curves and circles are used throughout the property, as nothing in nature is square or rectangular, even at its most cellular form,” comments Leach. “The circular elements represent equality, inclusivity, unity, sustainability and, of course, the circle of life.”

Echoing the same ‘village’ structure of Villa Maison Noir, with its five peaked roofs that symbolize the five elements, Villa Verte seamlessly combine private and open spaces. This thread continues strongly throughout the structure, with private rooms cantilevered into the trees making the space feel like a beautifully appointed treehouse, exposing its occupants to the panoramic views of the mountains surrounding them. The expansive interior living spaces allow the 4 guest rooms to breathe, each within what seems like their own private little sanctuary.

Double sided fireplaces in a double volume living area ads just enough drama

Surprise details can be found at every encounter, and the villa provides a feeling of being transported to a different place, a place where time almost stands still. Its lush forest setting high up at the back of Table Mountain in Hout Bay, creates the perfect backdrop for the sophisticated designer villa, where every detail and mod con has been meticulously put together to give its guests the ultimate relaxing escape from their daily lives.

Ideal as a tranquil getaway for families or friends alike, the four suite villa offers privacy, exquisite design and beautiful spaces that appeal to a sophisticated traveler, but without being intimidating, thanks in part to its colour palette that seamlessly blends with its natural setting. The attentive staff adds to this feeling, always there when you need them, but never in your face. As if they read your mind, a lit fire appears at the exact moment you think of it, and the meticulous wine selection, also custom designed by its owners, is there in the walk in fridge whenever you need it – to enjoy next to a perfectly lit fire.

When Jim Brett and Ed Gray decided to launch a sister property to their exclusive-use Villa Maison Noir in Hout Bay, Cape Town, it was with the intention of creating yet another sanctuary-like space that was inspired and informed by the natural beauty of the valley-like area. To bring this vision to fruition, the couple earmarked a plot of land right next door to Villa Maison Noir and dreamed of replacing the drab 1970s-style building housed on the site with something much more memorable.

The wealth of its owners’ interior experience, passion and expertise stood them in good stead to dream up a property that would do justice to the astounding setting. Between them, Brett (previously of Anthropologie and West Elm) and Gray (who founded luxury furnishing store Bruges Home) have a passion for design and art. This new project provided the perfect blank canvas on which to continue the creative journey they started with Villa Maison Noir.

“The use of curves rather than corners throughout subliminally softens the entire space, which puts people at ease in a way that other places cannot,’ states Gray. From these organic forms right through to the colour palette, wallpaper and fabric textures, the experience is designed to comfort and inspire. 

Interior and exterior creates harmony in all 5 elements

The heated pool allows guests to feel at one with nature

Each of the four suites has a unique interior treatment, outlook and layout. Custom wallpaper by Cara Saven creates cocoons of flowers or foliage out of each space. Freestanding bathtubs and showers with a view, ensure that even the bathrooms offer a striking experience of the surroundings. The balconies leading out from each of the rooms allow guests to quite literally sit among the trees.

In the generously proportioned living spaces and outdoor areas, the feeling is one of space and light. While undeniably comfortable, the open-plan living areas are a visual feast. Surface treatments such as timber roof panelling, bronze metallic cladding on the kitchen island and terrazzo floors, all engage the senses, while the furniture and objets d’art have been chosen to further stimulate with bold colour, interesting form and engaging textures. The entire interior serves to highlight and celebrate the beauty and dynamism of nature – and more specifically, Cape Town itself.

Trevyn McGown of the Guild Group, who collaborated with the owners on conceptualizing the interiors, says that she concentrated on the villa’s context. “From motifs in the custom-designed pieces, to the colour palette and textiles, everything mirrors the plantings and rocky outcrops surrounding the villa. It is an homage to nature. The space is also conceived as a deeply peaceful and serene spot, where you can truly escape,” she says.

The Guild Group worked on a collection of custom furniture for the villa together with Gray and Brett and these striking pieces set the new hospitality offering apart as a design and luxury destination – a space that represents creativity and culture. A combination of African, botanical and mid-century influences informed the designs of these contemporary furniture pieces.

The outside dining area it feels immersed in nature – offering complete privacy and tranquility

“The shapes and detailing needed to reflect Africa but also have echoes of where Jim comes from – his apartment in New York City has a mid-century sensibility, so traces of this also come through. The furniture is bold, dynamic and “future-forward”. Both we and the clients are brave and bold, and we wanted to create a scheme that reflected this,” she says of the collaboration.

In addition to the bespoke furniture, contemporary artwork serves to elevate the experience still further and inspire guests. “Our main criteria were that the artists be South African. We also chose pieces that we ourselves loved and that would complement the furnishings and, hopefully, pique the interest of our guests,” explains Brett.

Brett is an avid art collector, so it was important that the work be local and include both established artists such as Cameron Platter and John Murray, and up-and-coming artists like Rosie Mudge, Rodan Kane Hart and David Brits. “The artwork needed to be vibrant and engaging, as the overall objective was to create an atmosphere of joy and calm,” adds McGowan.

And indeed, the intention underpinning Villa Verte speaks loudly in its execution. “Your home is your story,” says Brett. “And yes, it’s told through the architecture and the interior design, but, most importantly, it’s about your soul shining through…”. Its this soul that Villa Verte aims to share with its visitors, whether they’re there to destress, reconnect, or rewire. The perfect tranquil escape for the busy city dweller or family.

To find out more, or book Villa Verte for your next getaway, contact us on