Pleasant surprises in house on the Mount

Helen Crooks

THINK Mount Pleasant and you think of a fairly anonymous suburb that you pass through en-route to Sardinia Bay or Seaview.

But this is, in fact, a suburb well worthy of a closer look boasting, as it does, amazing views of the city of Port Elizabeth and being backed by a lush green belt, dividing it from the Indian Ocean.

And within this best kept secret of a suburb there are quite a few historical gems: iron/wood houses which were built not long after the original farm was divided up many years ago.

One such house, 24 Cyril Road, looks fairly ordinary from the street, shielded as it is by lush vegetation but further exploration reveals that this house, which was probably built in the 1920s, is far from ordinary: in fact it’s quite extraordinary.

Owned and renovated by artist Verna du Toit, the property still has the gracious feel to it that it would have had when first built, while concessions to modern living have been made in the facilities offered at the house.

Accessed by a leafy walkway, there’s an outdoor stoep fronted by wood- panelled walls which conceal the original iron structure that is still in evidence on other exterior walls.

There’s wooden floors and wood panelling throughout the house, with the clever use of wallpaper in some areas taking the house back to its roots.

The spacious entrance hall leads to, on the right, an elegant dining room and open plan lounge with a built in bar.

As with the rest of the house, the living area has its own “garden room”: the garden area has been cleverly divided up into different segments allocated to different parts of the house, making it an absolute child’s paradise.

In the case of the living room, the garden area has a built in braai and fully functioning Dover stove which was plundered from the revamped kitchen.

There’s also a “tree frog” pond, which is also home to several koi. Being located as close as it is to the coastal green belt, visitors to the garden also include guinea fowl, Knysna loeries and even the occasional porcupine!

There’s also a secluded spot which houses a hammock surrounded by plants like nandina domesica and ferns, making for a very relaxing feel.

Back in the house to the left of the entrance hall there’s a music room/study which leads to a spacious bedroom and a second versatile room currently being used as a mini gym.

The passageway leads to the master bedroom with a stunning en-suite featuring a slipper bath on a wooden plinth and old-fashioned style loo and sink.

The master bedroom has cottage pane doors that lead to the suite’s own deck and, again, a “garden room”.

A walk through yet another study area leads to a second bathroom with a complete difference. This huge room has another slipper bath which faces the cottage-paned windows that open into a secluded garden area.

There’s plenty of spots to place candles allowing for a tranquil, stress beating, back-to-nature soak in the tub at the end of a long, hard day.

Completing the interior accommodation is the kitchen which, while being spacious and featuring ample cupboards, still manages to maintain that olde world feel.

The concession in this case is a modern six-ring gas stove and a totally separate scullery which opens onto its own garden.

And again, the gardens within gardens continue to offer surprises: Tucked away in one corner is a “bush toilet” – a modern loo, providing the ideal spot to sit and commune with nature.

Completing the surprises is the exterior staircase which leads to an upstairs deck with expansive views over the city, the green belt and the sea.

All in all this house is a hidden gem: It offers spacious accommodation which can be adapted at will.

This is a house which is charming, cottagey and full of surprises. It is also pleasant. Very pleasant indeed.

The house is on the market with Belinda Burton properties and the asking price is R1550000.

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