An exterior view of the Inanda House in Sandton.
New on the property market, the iconic Inanda House, dating back to 1903 is situated on a three-quarter acre stand, opposite the Inanda Club’s Polo fields in Sandton. Ideal for entertaining, the majestic home is built around a central courtyard where much of the family’s activities take place.
Reminiscent of the early 17th century, Inanda House still has the rounded gables so typical of the Cape Dutch architecture of that era. The garden has a magnificent array of the original Jacarandas, some English Elms and Oak trees that were very much in vogue at the time. But pride of place is taken up by the massive Bougainvillea, still thriving a century later.
In 1902, mining commissioner and “Randlord” Wilfred Wybergh asked Sir Herbert Baker to design the Inanda hunting lodge, which in those days was deep in the unspoiled veld north of the young mining town. Wybergh’s idea was to build a place where the Randlords and other influential residents from the Parktown ridge could gather and relax. They must have burnt much midnight oil discussing the goldfields and the aftermath of the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902).
In those days there were no roads for transporting building materials, and ox-wagons would have had to travel along rough tracks through dense bush to the remote site. To save time and further costs, Wybergh built a large kiln on the property that produced the 160 000 bricks needed to build the house and stables. The total cost was a hefty £4116 and the building took a year to complete.
Jawitz Properties agent Joan Mendelsohn says that the structure and ambience are exactly as they were 114 years ago. Today it has all the modern comforts necessary for contemporary living.
In true Herbert Baker style, the barrel-vaulted ceilings allow natural light to flood into the living areas that also play a role in regulating the room temperature in summer and winter. Five large wood-burning fireplaces provide additional warmth in the colder months. The original yellow wood floors are beautifully preserved. The library is fitted with floor-to-ceiling Afromosia wooden bookshelves plus a hidden door, much to the delight of the children. There are three large bedrooms and three bathrooms as well as a guest suite.
Owner Luke Shearer, who has lived in the house with his children for 11 years, says that he was attracted to the house partly because of its history, but also because of its warmth and the size of the rooms. “We wanted to live in the heart of suburbia for convenience but also be part of a green belt. With the polo fields on the other side of the road, and huge gardens all around us, we found the best of both worlds. The rooms are large and airy and the house is child-friendly. On hot nights, we often sleep out in the quadrangle under the night sky giving a sense of being in the bush,” he says.
“Sir Herbert Baker was always adamant about using natural materials and training craftsmen on the site. He would be pleased to know that this house has been painstakingly and lovingly cared for,” says Mendelsohn.