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Travel May 19, 2024

The Hemingway House

“It’s not a decorating story, it’s a lifestyle story—about a woman and serendipity.”

Few people get to manifest their dream boards, fewer yet get to manifest them within a year.  Tech entrepreneur Natalie Schneider, belongs to the latter category, although she explains, it was thanks to a stroke of serendipity. It didn’t take long for Hermanus to cast a spell on Schneider. After just a few short of enjoying freshly shucked oysters and local wines from Creation Winery on a family holiday in 2021, Schneider was captivated by Hermanus.  “I was running along the Hermanus Cliff Path with my nephew when we came across a villa in Kwaaiwater for sale – I snapped a photo as inspiration for my vision board”.  says Schneider, a Pretoria native living in the United States who had only ever visited Hermanus once before as a child.

Upon returning to the United States, Schneider and her friends repeated their annual ritual of creating “vision boards” – a photo collage representing your future life.  Schneider added the Kwaaiwater villa, amongst other photos of the area.  Little did she know that just six months later, she would be returning to Hermanus to purchase the exact ocean front villa that was on her vision board. 

In mid 2022, Schneider was visiting her mother when she passed away suddenly.  It was a jarring experience for Schneider and her family.  She became resolute in the belief that her ‘best life’ should start now and not be deferred.  When she returned to Hermanus, and was once again running along the Cliff Path, she noticed the same Villa still for sale.  She viewed it with the realtor and offered to buy it on the spot.  “Not the best negotiating tactic,” she laughingly confessed.  Her reaction was understandable, given the home is situated on an enviable parcel of land that offers uninterrupted views of the Peacock Blue waters and gentle whales beneath.  She named the Villa, ‘The Hemingway House’. 


The challenge was to not make it look like a restyled house – it was the opposite, make the home look like everything always belonged.  Natalie and her design partner Ingrid Louw of ILBespoke, carefully considered the materials and surroundings before making any changes. They were immediately struck by how well the sand stone masonry of the imposing villa fit into its natural surroundings and were determined to complement the construction with natural interiors, contemporary beach chic and layered textures.  “We strived to design a home that embodies comfort as its core, while radiating elegance,” says Louw. 

 The home is generously proportioned with 6 ensuite bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, two bars, wine cellar and three kitchens, but it feels intimate because of the design around a central courtyard.  Schneider poetically likens the home to a clam shell opening up with the wood and stone structure bracketing the central courtyard – adorned with an inviting blue lap pool The layout of the home cleverly optimizes on the views.  Guests staying on the upper floor are rewarded with seemingly infinite views of Walker Bay  A bedroom with an adjacent steam shower and view of the mountains, overlooks the pool.  Each bedroom has its own private balcony to make it feel intimate.  There is even a cozy bunk room and living quarters where kids can hang out and read or play games. 

The glass encased sunroom next to the pool, is thoughtfully designed with concertina glass doors that invite Alfresco dining and languide days of blissful poolside living.  Schneider says this spot is her sister’s favorite.  As beach days fade into dusk, the imposing stone fireplace becomes the focal point for leisurely cooking with a G&T in hand and hours quickly slip away. 

The levels of intensity ebb and flow from room to room, as the earthy mood in the bar area gives way to a light coastal vibe and lighter hues in the bedrooms.  Louw was careful to select items that fit the scale of the home, such as a pair of rattan Flora day beds from Le Grange which may seem oversized in any other setting, but fit snugly against the backdrop of a cozy fireplace, enticing visitors to curl up with a paperback novel. 

 To ensure a hassle-free holiday experience, the villa is completely fitted with all creature comforts, from Nespresso machines in each bedroom, jacuzzi, electric blankets and hot water bottles for chilly winter nights and onsite cleaning staff.  Hemingway House is a soul-replenishing respite from city life, replete with salty ocean dips, and invigorating champagne air. 


 For more information, visit: airbnb.com/h/thehemingwayhouse or email reservations@hemingway-house.com

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