Interior designer Gera de Wet believes in finding the right balance by combining thought-provoking materials with good, functional design. She did just this when transforming Mont Blois wine estate’s new tasting room into a place for guests to sip and savour their award-winning offerings while taking in the breathtaking views.
Located in the picturesque Hoopsrivier area of the Robertson Wine Valley, Mont Blois is a sixth-generation owned wine estate. With a vision to transform the estate’s existing silos into a tasting room, the owners turned to Gera for help with the project.
Having studied graphic design in Stellenbosch and Renaissance Art and History in Italy, Gera moved on to the publishing industry. Here she worked for decor magazines such as VISI and ELLE Decoration, which paved the way for her to venture into interior design and decor styling.
Gera describes her style as a mix of unruffled details with contemporary surprises, topped off with elements of classic luxury. Design longevity is the main aim of the pieces she puts together. She also admits to having the innate ability to collect and curate life’s simplest objects and says she’s been able to do so since she was a child.
When Mont Blois entrusted her with their tasting room project, Gera just knew that the end result had to tell the story of the farm. And tell a story, it certainly does. The silos were built in 1947 by Italian prisoners of war and were used to store feed for animals. The brief from the owners, Ernst and Nina-Mari Bruwer, was to renovate the silos into a tasting room while respecting the heritage of the sight. With this in mind, Gera left the original walls unpainted and kept the original ceiling with its wooden beams intact. Two existing feeding cribs were converted into a bench and washing bay. The tasting room colour palette is symbolic of the grapes grown on the estate – Gera incorporated sage green to symbolise the white grapes, violet to represent the red varietals, and touches of polished brass to portray the colour of Muscadel.
Seating is one of the most important elements of a tasting room. On her quest to find the ideal chair, she looked for pieces that were as functional as they were beautiful. Gera envisioned seating that was padded, sturdy and had armrests so that guests could linger over their tastings in comfort. She found what she was looking for in Woodbender’s Kariba and Riga. Upholstered in a brilliant violet fabric, the chairs add a pop of colour to the space and complement the muted tones of a large painted mural and raw walls.
When asked if she would purchase form Woodbender again, Gera had this to say “After project Mont Blois, I already purchased items from Woodbender for a next project”.