houses

A Cape Town couple's Misty Cliffs Weekend Retreat

Capetonian couple Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro spend weekends lounging poolside at their seaside home in Misty Cliffs, the conservation village just  45 minutes from the Mother City.

Greg Cox & Bureaux
misty cliffs house and leisure
When the mist rolls around Misty Cliffs, it's evident how it got its name. 'Home feels like a nature reserve, says Justin Rhodes of the weekend retreat he shares with partner Cameron Munro. Their double deck is tucked into a green oasis, and splashed with blue accents by way of pool and outdoor furniture.

 

Capetonian couple Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro are lounging poolside at their seaside home in Misty Cliffs, the conservation village just  45 minutes from the Mother City.

They’re soaking in the sun on a deck that is tucked neatly into a pristine patch of the Cape’s indigenous fynbos vegetation. This split-level balau perch is suspended from a cliff face, almost hovering above the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Justin and Cameron are making the most of their weekend getaway, a far cry from their more frenetic week life in Cape Town.

The couple – who own Whatiftheworld Gallery, the vibrant Neighbourgoods Market, hotspot eatery Superette, and Tiny Empire, a slick co-working space – welcome the full immersion of this tranquil coastal sanctuary.

ALSO READ: A Cliffside bothole on Cape Town's Clifton coastline
misty cliffs hoiday house and leisure
The dining area offers sweeping views over the Atlantic, and shows off how Misty Cliffs got its name. 'It's very magical. The mist plays tricks with the light, and sometimes everything below you is just white.' Justin and Cameron, both avid cooks, serve meals on a Gregor Jenkin table, surrounded by the designer's iconic Quaker chairs. On the shelf, Michael Anastassiades's IC table light for Flos offers an additional warm glow. 

 

The setting is equally impressive in winter.  ‘We light up the fire inside and watch the storms come in,’ says Justin. ‘It’s like a log cabin. But then, in summer, we open all the doors and windows and  it becomes really beachy.’

The home, set on three levels, has two bedrooms on the lowest, and another is tucked into the loft, under the A-frame reed ceiling. It is fitted with latch windows.

‘When these windows are all open, it feels like you’re on a cruise ship,’ jokes Cameron, pointing to the ever-evolving oceanic scene outside, where Misty Cliffs’ surroundings are regularly engulfed in a mystical fog.

These white billowy clouds provide a constant transformation of the home. Painted in a shade of green aptly named Cape Moss, the interior vacillates between fern, olive and pistachio hues, depending on the light of day.

misty cliffs weekend house and leisure
A full-length window brings the ocean into the bedroom. 

 

The bold decision to paint all the walls and even much of the ceiling green was one of the only changes made to the original home when the couple took over.

The colour was suggested by close friend and furniture designer Gregor Jenkin. ‘He said the green would make the original yellow beechwood floors look considered,’ says Justin, impressed that this turned out to be the case.

Gregor, whose dining table and Quaker chairs make a geometric statement in the open-plan dining area, also created the patinated and slatted steel shield that hangs from the fireplace mantel in the lounge.

ALSO READ: Shop green accent pieces 
misty cliffs house and leisure
The top deck's Paola Lenti furniture set and Fibre Designs rugs reflect the colours of the waves beyond. The couple, wanting to maximise on the oceanin experience, created an additional sunken deck that hangsover the shrubbery. Its built-in bench doubles up as storage and is scattered with hand-emboidered cushions from LRNCE.

 

Although a mix of vintage finds, local and international contemporary design pieces by the likes of Misha Kahn and Wiid Design, the style of the home is extremely considered, revealing itself as a contemporary take on a 70s bungalow, complete with fireside Falcon chair. 

 

misty cliffs weekend house and leisure
In a downstairs bedroom, a silk rug by Mae Artisan Rugs offers a darker range of green tones, while introducing additional colours that appear in this vibrant room. The hand-embroidered bedspread and cushions from LRNCE in Marrakech are complemented by Morné Visagie's colour-testing paper collages and a crimson-topped Dokter and Misses ceramic. The side table is by Hay. 

 

The couple’s affinity for art is obvious, too. In one bedroom a Paul Edmunds pencil drawing; in another two Morné Visagie colour-testing paper collages.

 

Additional visual artistic cues are dotted throughout, such as a glass-cast sculpture by Rowan Smith, resembling a broken brick, which stands atop a book in the loft, creating a rainbow  of reflection across a silk rug by Mae Artisan Rugs.

 

The garden respects its natural setting, planted with indigenous favourites such as clivias, Cape Saltbush and various species of fynbos.

 

misty cliffs house and leisure
A clever shelving unit houses Vorster & Braye ceramics and other pieces.

 

Gardening has become a favourite pastime for the couple, who tend to the plant life that stretches all the way down to the beach. ‘It’s quite wild,’ Justin says, pointing to the stone pathway that leads to the ocean.

 

misty cliffs house and leisure
Midway down the stepped garden path leading to the beach is a deck, tucked away under the shade of evergreen trees and kitted with outdoor chairs from Moroccan Warehouse. This secret spot makes one forget that there's a house above, as the only view is of the ocean beyond the fynbos. 

 

Halfway down, they’ve built another deck, this one completely hidden from view under trees that were carefully preserved, and offering full-frontal views of the wild waves.

 

‘It’s like being submerged in the mountainside,’ says Cameron, while Justin speaks of plans to build a hot tub here, the antithesis of the icy Atlantic in which they are currently learning to surf. ‘We engage with the ocean more than the beach,’ Cameron says.

 

Together with their dogs, they also enjoy the ocean vistas provided by hikes  in this coastal mountain range.

 

ALSO READ: West coast seaside sanctuary

 

misty cliffs house and leisure
The bay window in the living room is fitted with a custom daybed with leather-trimmed cushions. Steel slats designed by Gregor Jenkin hang from the fireplace's original wooden mantlepiece. The materiality of the vintage Knoll chair and footrest finds companionship in the cork coffee table by Wiid Design. Geometric visuals are introduced in the rug by Mae Aritsan Rugs, and the globe-shaped IC Suspension light by Michael Antassiades for Flos. 

 

No matter the day’s activity, every weekend includes some form of kitchen experiment, often shared with an intimate group of friends. ‘The house is small, but it opens up very well,’ says Justin, gesturing toward the decks and balconies that protrude from every bedroom.

Sunday brunch is a favourite for such gatherings, with fresh produce purchased from Saturday’s morning market or Foragers Deli in Scarborough.

It’s the simple life that makes this home come alive: fire-making, sun-lounging, garden-pruning. ‘Home feels like a nature reserve,’ says Justin.  

‘It’s our retreat.’