Text Deborah Louw Styling Julia Stadler Photographs Micky Hoyle
If luxury can be measured by an abundance of space and light, then this Higgovale home is easily one of the most amply comfortable embodiments of the concept you’ll find in Cape Town. Recently built for a young family, it was designed by architects Neil Franks and Marié Middleton, according to the criteria of owners Gavin and Tess Joubert, to maximise both qualities.
For Gavin, stretches of uncluttered space are synonymous with serenity. With his days spent in a high-pressure financial environment, he wanted tranquil surroundings for his downtime – vast, glorious views enjoyed from high-ceilinged spaces, with a minimalist aesthetic punctuated by accents of colour, art and satisfyingly stylish touches.
For Tess, whose 24/7 is currently taken up with the couple’s two active young sons – Cameron, three, and Tristan, two – it was important that their home be practical too. Considerations such as wipe-clean surfaces, plentiful plug points, child-friendly materials and out-of-sight storage areas were paramount. The architects, known to the Jouberts for their impressive contemporary residential portfolio, were able to combine the input from both husband and wife seamlessly – and, ‘unlike some couples whose marriages take great strain during the building process, we had no conflict,’ says Tess with a smile.
The home, situated high in a gated estate on the slopes of Table Mountain, faces north with views embracing the city, harbour, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. Both the ground floor and the upper storey open out onto their own spacious decks via sliding floor-to- ceiling glass panels; wooden shutters add privacy but can also slide back to open almost the entire front of the house to the outdoors.
The ground-floor deck, where the family spends most of its time, is flanked by an expanse of grass, with the swimming pool surrounded by child-safe frameless glass fencing – ‘it’s more attractive than traditional covers and means we actually use the pool,’ says Tess.
The garden and general handiwork were taken care of by Gavin’s brother, Daryl Joubert, a keen landscaper with an unerring eye for the appropriate and the attractive – a beautiful shale water feature (designed by Neil and Marié), an indigenous-plant corner, a ‘secret garden’ walkway (‘instead of a sandpit’) for the boys to play in…
Apart from a guest cloakroom and a study, the ground floor is essentially one massive, open room-with-a-view, comprising a dining, living, kitchen and scullery area. The kitchen island is cleverly positioned to make the most of the panorama beyond, while enabling Tess to keep an eye on the boys’ activities in the adjoining open-plan playroom, which can be screened off by folding doors. ‘We designed it this way so that when the boys are older and want to watch TV or have friends over, they can be more private, and they won’t hear our dinner parties!’ laughs Gavin.
The space-and-light theme is continued upstairs. Skylights illuminate both the landing and the art on display: an eclectic and thoughtful collection of (exclusively) South African art, from Sam Nhlengethwa and Robert Slingsby to Alex Hamilton, JP Meyer, and returning expat Pamela Stretton.
A simple palette and minimal furnishings characterise the main bedroom, while in the dressing room, wardrobes with smoky opaque sliding doors create a Japanese-nuanced look. The open- plan bathroom contains a freestanding bath and a huge shower – another of Gavin’s non-negotiables.
Each boy’s room has its own balcony and bathroom, equipped with shower and tub. Completing the upper storey is a generous guest bedroom, also orientated to enjoy the views and equipped with large wardrobes and an en-suite bathroom. Contemporary in design yet timelessly lovely, this is a home that embraces its surrounds, where a family can stretch out and flourish – luxury indeed.
Neilmarié Architecture and Interior Design, neilmarie.com.
Daryl Joubert, DCJ Projects, 071-302-9052.
TESS’ HOME TRUTHS
What we most wanted to create was a family home with lots of space and light, and where we could live easily. We also wanted to maximise the views. We define luxury living as being able to enjoy great views from most rooms – even the kitchen! The most indulgent part of our home has to be the bath and adjoining ‘waterfall’ tap in the main bathroom, which looks out over the city. The best thing about our home is the undercover patio area where many hours are spent. The best times are early mornings with coffee and hot summer evenings. Our advice for homeowners wanting to build from scratch is to choose the right architects. The role of the architects, from both a creative and practical point of view, cannot be overstated and in all respects our architects were great. Being a smaller firm also ensured they gave us a more personal experience. Our favourite way to relax is to go for walks in the forest or meals out. We also love going to Paternoster; my father lives there so it combines a weekend away with family time.
This article was originally featured in the August 2011 issue of House and Leisure.