For many, home is not permanent. While we set down roots, it’s often the case that we will move and even move again. But for 64 years, Hannatjie van der Wat has lived in her Saxonwold home on one of the suburb’s quiet, jacaranda-lined streets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. What is striking about Hannatjie is her strong sense of want to do, not what you think people want you to do,” she asserts. Being authentically Hannatjie was already well formed when she and her late gynaecologist husband, Doctor JJ van der Wat, embarked on the expansion of their 1920s home. “Few things really concern me,” she states when asked about the blatant variance in the two sides of the house. An avant-garde extension in every aspect, the new wing was added to the original gable and clay-roofed dwelling to give her growing family room to breathe and, more importantly, to give her a studio of her own. Strikingly modern, and more so when it was added in 1955, the new wing was designed by architect Sidney Abramowitch and channels modernism by way of a daring, linear structure, flat roofed and generously glazed along the north and east by floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. Abramowitch was a brilliant architect. The way he did it was almost as if that was the house next door,” she points to the original structure.

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