A seaside holiday home gets a practical update to accommodate different generations under one roof
TEXT CATRIONA ROSS STYLING MIA VINCENT PHOTOGRAPHS MICKY HOYLE
The new street-facing, people-watching counter of a transformed holiday home in Stilbaai is a favourite with the kids of the Pretoria-based homeowners. The yellow carpet is from Mr Price Home (mrphome.com), while the white standing lamp is from @home (home.co.za). OPPOSITE The renovation’s architect, Kobus Nieuwoudt, and his son, Mias, explore the space of the living area. Opened out, it can now accommodate larger items of furniture, such as the French-oak dining table by Pierre Cronje. The pendant globe lights in a Perspex box were designed by Nieuwoudt Architects.
BIG IDEA #1 OPEN UP For Stilbaai’s often windy climate adding stacking doors and windows were key for transforming this holiday house. The owners open them fully on sunny, still days and utilise the interior space by shutting them in windy or wet weather. The overhangs, extended primarily to create more shade, also enable them to open stackers in rain and remain sheltered.
The joy of geometry: roof heights were levelled and a cohesive unit composed of interlocking squares in shades of grey was created for a thoroughly modern holiday house.
Having vacationed in Stilbaai for twenty years, a Pretoria couple and their three children dreamed of owning a holiday home in the scenic coastal village on the Cape’s Garden Route. ‘We’d been looking for a house with a sea view for two years when we found this 40-year-old property,’ the owners explain. They took their architect, Kobus Nieuwoudt, to view it in early 2013 and, with his approval, made the purchase. Wisely, they spent one holiday in the house before starting renovations – the best way to hone their to-do list. Beautifully positioned, the 510m² double-storey house is situated in a quiet, quaint street, one row of height-restricted houses from the sea, with expansive views down to the old harbour on one side and to the lagoon mouth on the other. To Kobus its elevation is an asset. ‘There’s enough sense of privacy without losing the visual link to the street or being cut off from the village-life atmosphere,’ he notes. ‘Passers-by can’t look in but you can look out.’ His brief was to create a contemporary beach house with a glorious view, plenty of open spaces, a braai room, and additional beds to accommodate the owners’ guests and their children’s friends. Ideally it would blend in with neighbouring houses yet have a distinctive look. Eschewing traditional seaside-house style, the team decided on industrial-chic details and a palette of greys with pops of colour. During the nine-month renovation that began in April 2014 and was undertaken by a recommended local building contractor, the uneven roof line was levelled, certain interior walls were demolished, and a small garage wing was added. Though the basic structure was left intact Kobus changed the flow, opening up spaces and installing stacking, sliding doors ‘so it becomes an inside-outside space’.
He split functions, housing adults on the first floor and youngsters on the ground floor, which has its own kitchenette. A front exterior wall was pushed out to make a fun zone for the children and future grandchildren, including quirky seating arrangements such as a beanbag area and a street-facing counter for leisurely people watching. The garage was converted into a library and bunk-bed room to house young guests, and for each of the couple’s three children a suite was created with an en-suite bathroom and doors leading onto either a deck or small courtyard. While the house’s exterior was painted subtle shades of grey, inside Kobus and his wife Elsie ‘played with colour’, using splashes of red, pink, blue and yellow to add zing to a basic palette of pale grey. Special attention was paid to lighting: to complement the downlights installed throughout the house, the Nieuwoudts custom designed statement light fittings and used LED ribbon on the trusses in the living area both to create effect and save electricity. The renovations were completed in December 2014, in time for the owners’ year-end holiday. ‘We love the stacking doors in the living areas, the kitchen with a view of the ocean and the separate area downstairs for the children with its white cement floor which gives you a beach-house feeling. The braai room is fabulous as its stacking windows open on both sides. We love the interior in general,’ they enthuse. Whether gathering withfriends in the braai room with its dreamy blue lagoon view or breakfasting at the street-facing counter and watching the characters of Stilbaai come and go, the family has found its perfect holiday fit. The owners offer their renovation advice: ‘Get a good architect who will understand your vision; start planning and gathering photos and ideas of your ideal home long before you approach your architect; and don’t compromise on quality.’ Consulting a professional before buying a property to renovate pays off, they feel. ‘It’s best to have a feeling for what you’re letting yourself in for,’ Kobus says. ‘There are various levels of renovations, from cosmetic to very structural, and you don’t want to be caught with huge costs, trying to achieve a certain level of renovation.’
A colour block in yellow in the indoor braai room bringsm warmth to cool seaside blues and whites. This room opens on three sides with stacking windows and stacking, sliding shutters (from American Shutters, americanshutters.co.za) for efficient climate control and year-round use. The four-metrelong washed-wood table and wicker Ranggap hanging lamps are from Weylandts.
BIG IDEA #2 HIGHER CEILINGS Removing most of the roof and replacing it with Zincalume sheeting not only gave the house a clean, contemporary look but enabled the architect to lower the pitch of the roof and therefore raise the ceiling levels inside for more spacious rooms.
BIG IDEA #3 PLAY WITH PAINT AND WALLPAPER You don’t have to rip out every existing feature and start with a blank canvas; the old can be salvaged, saving time and money, if simply repainted or refinished. Here, picking out details with colour or pattern has set a bold, contemporary tone. In the bunk-bed room a single beam was painted bright yellow to enhance the fun atmosphere; in the dining room geometric-patterned wallpaper frames the opening leading into the lounge.
In the guest bedroom a fixed installation headboard with floating bedside cabinets in stained pine was designed by the architects and made by local carpenters at Voëltjie-se-Werf Houtwerke (028-755-8412). The lamps are from @home and the Tretchikoff cushion is from Big Blue (bigblue.co.za). LEFT Details can turn transit zones into features. Geometric wallpaper from Hertex (hertex.co.za) links to a dark-grey passage beyond. The grey table from De Dekke Antiques and Collectibles Store was repurposed by the architects.