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  • Shelley Dark

10. The Most Extraordinary Day

Today has been the most extraordinary day - a day of superlatives! There's truly magic in the air here.

Cécile and Boyd Interior Design was first stop this morning - Boyd Ferguson and Cécile Tilley joined forces in 1988. Cecile has long since retired and Boyd has designed the interiors of homes and hotels around the world including South Africa's Singita Ebony Lodge.

The showroom extends over four floors of lamps, cushions, furniture, pots and objets of all sorts in this unmarked house built in the early 1900's.

The floors are black and white checked marble. Both brass light switches and tiles are original. Isn't the tile colour remarkable?

I enjoyed this art work. The paper looks to have been cut with a razor and shaded in ink.

Loved these chairs too - I think they're made in Durban.

Don't you love the ceiling of the basement which is the lamp department?

These pink bottles are on a sill behind one of the office desks.

The stairs are original.

The ceiling of the lobby is pressed tin.

There's a magnificent view from the top floor towards the ocean.

And towards the omni-present Table Mountain.

These cute Cape Dutch cottages are next door.

As we strolled down the street, we passed this forbidding fence with metal barbs. I'd think twice if I were an intruder wouldn't you?

By the way, have I told you how amazingly cheap Uber is? A typical ride into town from the hotel costs $2. Actually everything is cheap in South Africa - it's great value for Australians at the moment.

We were now on our next mission for the day: to visit a friend of a friend at her home at Clifton, a beach suburb of Cape Town. It was marvellously arranged by Lesley whom I know from bridge at Noosa, that we visit Lee, one of her best friends.

I'd like to you to meet the extraordinary Lee. She's the dynamo behind the construction of this house to accommodate the furniture, art and curio collections she and her husband Robert have collected over many years.

She worked with architect Jane Visser and interior designers Cecile and Boyd and counts Boyd Ferguson one of her best friends. As you know, I don't have an SLR with me or a wide angle lens, so these few photos don't do justice to this extraordinary home. I wish they could.

It's perched on a steep slope overlooking the bay. Voilà. A frameless glass balustrade keeps the view clear. Bi-folding glass doors on this level run all along the ocean side with sweeping views of the coastline, including the master bedroom. Not bad?

The house exudes a lightness of touch, individuality and warmth in a palette of beige neutrals in floors, wood and furnishings with just the right amount of textural interest. Exotic curios from around the world add colour and life, richness and warmth: a perfect expression of Lee's personality.

Each double spread of this book has piece of Indian wisdom the particular date. Every day, Lee turns the page. If it were to be appropriate today for Helen and me, it would have said 'today's your lucky day'.

​The entry from street level is into the open plan living area: foyer and beverages area, dining, kitchen and living.

Lee would rather be chatting to her guests than being shut away in a separate kitchen.

Recurring through the house, allowing privacy without losing ventilation, are marble screens, especially carved in India for the house. The artisan who carved them sadly died before he was able to instal them. They arrived like a jigsaw puzzle. So many pieces, no plan for how they were to fill all the spaces for them. It took months to work out where they were supposed to go.

The four-poster bed in the main bedroom overlooks the sunken bath and private garden balcony. Can you imagine the luxury of ocean-viewing at bath time? Plus large beautifully organised his-and-hers dressing rooms.

The guest bedrooms are downstairs, each having its own bathroom incorporated into the one large space: basin and vanities behind the bed, showers and bath tubs either side. It's an ingenious way of opening up spaces.

The third level down is bbq and pool area with an amazing centuries-old Indian carved wooden screen and the same amazing views. Down again to huge lower floor office and gym.

If you'd like to see and read more about this amazing house and see far better photos in an article in Condé Nast CLICK HERE.

We're totally blown away by Lee's kindness, warmth and generosity. And what a fun, edgy, discreetly side-shaved haircut!

Apart from inviting total strangers into her home, Lee gives back to the community by running an animal ambulance to collect unwanted pets from the townships. That's the sort of girl she is. Resident pets are this pretty cat with gorgeous collar and two dogs (Molly's collar is set with turquoise), plus five other cats recuperating from maltreatment.

What a special special day. What a privilege to meet her.