Article translated by our very own Liz Davies
TITLE: ‘STACKED BELOW DECK’
CAPTION ON FIRST PAGE: Cleverly built into the hillside, a surprising house on Clifton Beach with sunlight below deck.
Text: Fridericke Mechler/ Production: Kate Boswell/ Photography: Greg Cox
From above only the cedar shingle covered roof is visible LEFT SIDE: When the lounge glass fronts are opened the living area widens naturally towards the pool.
UP : Cross – over! The picture frames take on the colour of the lamp in front. TO THE LEFT the terrace looks to Lion's Head which next to Table Mountain is one of Cape Towns landmarks (iconic mountains)-. BELOW: When the fireplace is not in use , it is concealed by a ‘retro - look’ chair and the air-conditiong above can occasionally serve as a heater.
One can hear the ocean from here – the glass doors of the living room can be opened completely so that one can experience and appreciate the views, the breeze – the nature – to the fullest. Daylight floods into the home office below through a glass insert in the floor.
To add to the retro appeal – the chair backs (Casamento) were covered with fabric from an old curtain that the residents tracked down at a junk store. The glazed gable end provides additional light into the house.
ABOVE : Under the skylight large plates by the ceramicist Gemma Orkin from Cape Town have pride of place. RIGHT : The wooden staircase with dark balustrade leads from the kitchen to the home office underneath. The glass panel in the ceiling brings daylight into the otherwise windowless room
LEFT : Yellow art deco lamps radiate above the Ebony Sideboard from Franschhoek . BELOW: Not only the residents can soak up the sun here - solar energy is harnessed by panels hidden between the lavender bushes next to the entrance steps.
Waking up and dreaming on – The bedrooms are designed with muted tones and graphic accents – with the ocean view as a backdrop.
RIGHT : An old sign of South African Airways leaning on the closed shelving in the home office . DOWN : In the hallway between two of the bedrooms hangs a work by the South African artist and comic book author Anton Kannemeyer . BOTTOM : Coming in to land – Wallpaper " Flying Ducks " by Mulberry in the bedroom
ABOVE: The natural wood cladding blends perfectly into the landscape and comes across downright modest in the illustrious surroundings. determined : LEFT Wallpaper " Mobiles " by Sanderson defines the retro tones of a bedroom . BELOW: Wooden Sideboard, art and fluffy carpet – a very livable bathroom
Who does not sometimes want to escape from everyday life and get lost in thought stranded on a desert island? Where there is no dentist or baker, only you and your sun-downer.
A British real estate agent and his Australian partner realised the dream – one of a romantic little beach cottage – not on a desert island but on Clifton Beach, Cape Town
The couple came on vacation, spent the summer with their toes in the sand and the dream started. A few years later the land above the beach was for sale and they grabbed the opportunity to move their lives there. The building on the newly acquired land was in poor condition and a renovation was uninviting. This area is the most expensive real estate in South Africa and a dazzling white Cape Cod house would be typical but not what the couple was looking for.
Rather, they imagined the XL version of a beach hut. As for the alterations of their previous house they enlisted the support of architect Jenny Mills – “Our own house was then just being remodeled” recalls Jenny, who runs a successful Architectural Firm in Cape Town. “So I moved into the existing building with my husband and our two dogs – In this way I quickly got a good feel for the location and character of the place.”
Originally, these properties at Clifton Beach were owned by the city, developed in the 1940s as cottages to be rented out. As the land was eventually sold – it was deemed essential for the area to be classified as a ‘Special Conservation Area’ to preserve its low scale structure and with strict building regulations to govern future development. “This project lasted 6 years”, sighs the petite Cape Townian (Jenny Mills), “three years were for building permits, planning and designing and another for excavations.” The strict building regulations only allowed for a single storey building. So in order to generate the desired living space Jenny applied a simple trick: she hid most of the house in the hill side. At first glance it looks like a small bungalow, only once inside do you experience the stepped down levels creating the space. The house extends over three floors. From the top floor, with an open plan dining, kitchen and living arrangement, the best view of the beach and sea can be enjoyed. On the two lower floors, there is a home office, four en-suite bathrooms and a home theatre. Glass inserts in the upper level floor allow for daylight to penetrate down to these spaces. The interiors reflect the owners love of ‘Retro”. As a special twist the two concentrated on local finds. The loot extends to South African Airways crockery, coffee cups which had their hey day in the Langham Hotel in Johannesburg, to a rusty bath, ‘souvenier’ from a Garden Route trip. Stranded in style!> (You couldn’t be more stylishly stranded!)