THE Mykonos-inspired Maitland Hill home of husband and wife Andre Venter and Anjiali Criscuolo is not only a meditational haven but an enduring symbol of their deep love for the Mediterranean.
The two designers, who had a boutique in Mykonos where they met some years before, continue to do design commissions in various spheres. Andre recently contributed to a notable Cape Town men’s underwear range and the couple is now in the process of relocating to this design capital.
In the past Andre has designed everything from high-end clothing to bespoke mirrors and other items for the home, and some of these designs can be seen in the couple’s quietly luxurious, minimalist home with a decidedly African feel.
“We’re both spiritual people and there is a very special energy in this home, and on the entire property,” Andre says. They named it Sukhavati, Sanskit for “land of bliss”. The property is on two title deeds with each piece of land about 8.5 hectares in size.
The home has a tangible Zen-like feel with an abundance of natural materials like sandstone and wood used, perhaps most strikingly so in the show-stopping spiral staircase built according to their own design.
The house, two chalets and other outbuildings were all based on their brief, fuelled by recollections of the Greek island lifestyle they adore. Curves are especially important as these are not only typical of Mykonian architecture but, Andre says, contribute to a more harmonious flow of energy.
The home has been a tremendous haven for him, particularly in the last few years following the tragic death of his elderly parents, who were attacked in their Theescombe home. It has cocooned him and aided the difficult process of healing and acceptance, he says. It is clear this is no ordinary couple. Andre was born in PE to a South African father and Dutch mother. He spent years in England after qualifying as a dentist at Stellenbosch University. Dentistry, however, was eclipsed by an ever-lingering love of design and this would lead to a radical career shift.
Meeting Anjiali was, quite simply, “meant”, he said. He spotted her at a bar in Mykonos where she was holidaying, their eyes met and they have been inseparable ever since.
Anjiali, who grew up in Rome, the couple’s other base, is an established fashion and jewellery designer in her own right. Both her and Andre’s designs have in the past been featured in the likes of Vogue magazine. She is also a “phenomenal” cook, as the countless guests who have dined at this couple’s table will attest.