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Paarl district, Western Cape

Gabriël Theron (Gawie) FAGAN: Design Architect
Gwendoline Elizabeth (Gwen) FAGAN: Landscape Architect


Extension to an old family house and renovation of a Victorian farmhouse.

This farm in the Paarl district has been in the possession Of the Malan family since 1837. The house was said to have been altered in 1917 when a thatched roof and perhaps a gable were demolished to make Way for a veranda and corrugated iron roof. The cast-iron veranda poles were replaced with brick columns, but otherwise the T-shaped house with lean-tos in the rear side courts had remained basically unchanged.

In the 1980s the owners wanted to make the house larger and more comfortable for their growing family and their many guests. They also wanted a sunny family room. It was decided to leave the original house untouched to serve as guest accommodation and to add new bedrooms and living space at the back where the aspect was sunny. As this new wing was to be double-storeyed, it was sunk half a level so that roof heights of the old and new buildings would match, and the two buildings were linked by a glass lobby.

The client also asked for a detailed landscape plan. It was decided to use elements of a Victorian garden such as clipped hedges, topiary, heritage roses and a sunken garden with vistas to the distant mountains. A swimming pool and miniature rose garden were proposed in the sunken excavated area, which was to be surrounded by a raised walkway under a rose-covered pergola. A terrace With pergola was also provided on the higher level Of the family room. The front garden was entered through a new arched gate and planted With ferns and Other shade—loving plants.

(Fagan. 2005:86)

Salomonsvlei is important as it is one of Gwen Fagan's favorite landscape garden projects. The story goes that after ordering her rose cuttings from Kew Gardens it was grown for her at Kirstenbosch by her friend as part of the restoration they did at Tuinhuis - Gwen did her research for the planting of the parterre gardens that eventually lead to the famous reintroduction of the rose collection to the Cape that was later published in her book on roses.

The plant collection had a wicked turn of events; First the Tuinhuis contractor rejected the plants that were laboriously cultivated, the collection was then reused at their renovation project at the Drostdy. After only a year the roses were discarded and thrown out by the Drostdy. Gwen Fagan was called to salvage the collection where she re-appropriated the plants for several other projects, two of these were Boschendal and Salomonsvlei.

(Wallace Honiball, 2021)

These notes were last edited on 2021 03 05

Writings about this entry

Fagan, G. 2005. Twenty Cape Houses. Cape Town: Breestraat Publikasies. pg 86-93
Fagan, Gwen. 1988. Roses at the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town: Breestraat. pg 130