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National monument Trovato House in Wynberg, Cape Town, goes to auction

Category: Commercial

Street address: 1 Coach Road, Wynberg, Cape Town

Erf size: 1.6087ha

GBA: +- 2 100m2

Auctioneer: Aucor Property

Auction date: Tuesday, 16th July 2024 at 11:00am, The Houghton Golf Club.


  • On the boarder of Upper Wynberg/Claremont.
  • 20 x offices/rooms and 11 x bathrooms.
  • Suitable for commercial or residential purposes.
  • Ideal for business headquarters.
  • Spacious grounds.

Trovato House is nestled on the gradual slope of Wynberg Hill where Carl Jeppe identified the ideal place to build this stately house in the late 1800s.

The site in Hershell Walk offers magnificent views spanning all directions and the manor house, which Sir Herbert Baker is widely believed to have designed, takes full advantage of these surrounds.  

The English manor-house-style mansion with its many windows and balconies captures views from different vantage points with spectacular and varied perspectives.

Although the house was believed to be commissioned to Sir Herbert Baker there is evidence he may have taken it over from Sydney Stent, a local architect whose failing health meant he could not complete the large commission. Numerous drawings do exist that establish Baker’s involvement in the late Victorian neo-classic design. The plans were submitted by Baker on the 12th of July 1897 and were approved the next day.

Construction took place from 1898 to 1902 which Baker supervised for Jeppe, who by then would have been Consul-General for the Transvaal in Cape Town had Lord Milner not objected to his appointment.

Baker’s influence is very evident particularly on closer inspection of the opulent interior which features the signature woodwork characteristic of Baker and his colleagues. A well-known Czech artist and interior designer, J. Christ, who resided in Cape Town, is credited for the intricate wallpaper and elaborate ceiling designs and paintings which were the defining features of his work.

The overall effect is breathtaking as were the costs which were never formally determined. The first mortgage on Trovato House was a staggering fifteen thousand pounds and a second mortgage later brought it to a total of nearly twenty thousand pounds. At a time when a thousand pounds was a substantial amount to spend on a house, the enormity of the project becomes evident. On completion, the house was described in the Wynberg Times as “having noble dimensions and a magnificent aspect.”

Trovato House was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 17 July 1987.

The estate has been the headquarters of international business, Forever Living Products, since 1996. The property lends itself to being the ideal family business headquarters. The historical significance of this splendid building takes you back to when quality and craftmanship were not only valued but revered.

Carl Jeppe named the property Trovato, meaning “I find” in Latin, a language he was familiar with having been a public prosecutor and often acting as magistrate. Jeppe would also become a member of both the Transvaal and the Cape Bar. He was Chairman of the first Chamber of Mines, leader of the Progressive Party and his family owned much of the first land in Pretoria and Johannesburg at the beginning of the gold rush.

Jeppe had a multitude of interests and was also a talented writer. He was a founding member of the Rand Club and the Witwatersrand Education Board, which started the Jeppestown Grammar School that would eventually become Jeppe High School. He was a member of the management of Pretoria Zoo and Museum for over 25 years. He was married and had a daughter and four sons.

It is said that residents and visitors to Trovato House may have the ethereal experience of  Carl Jeppe’s presence in the house. His ghost is known to waft through the rooms, leaving reminders of a man who lived a full and enthusiastic life. He died in Pretoria on 12 July 1933 at the age of 75.

For more information on Trovato House, contact Andrew Miller at Aucor Property.