renovation, houses

Renovation: Before & After House #3 Kenneth Collins

A smart renovation took this Camps Bay home from old-fashioned double storey to streamlined beach bungalow with sea and mountain views.

Karl Rogers

The location is what first attracted Kenneth Collins to this property on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard – and it’s the location that made this renovation fairly challenging. Set at the top of a slope, the house faces towards where the sun sets over the sea. ‘I have a “sunrise house” in Ballito overlooking the Indian Ocean,’ says Kenneth, who comes from a Durban property-developer family. ‘I wanted this to be my “sunset house” over the Atlantic.

But with its dark tiled floors, cramped upper deck, smallish windows and doors, and dated stairway, the house had a closed-in feel. To achieve the wide-open simplicity Kenneth visualised, he had to gut the whole building. It was also necessary to raise the level of the sloping front lawn, and since there was no side access to the property, tons of fill-in had to be brought in through the house. Retaining walls had to be built around the boundary, too.  The renovation took about a year, but Kenneth admits he enjoys a challenge. To help him breathe new life into the house, he brought in Durban-based architect Lisa Rorich and interior designer Kate Moffatt of Hint Décor.

READ MORE: For all the homeowners’ personally recommended renovation contacts, see the Before & After Black Book.

Rorich and Moffatt reinvented whatever was left of the original structure, even taking off the roof to reveal exposed trusses. Wide oak planks replaced the floor tiles, 3m-high glass doors were put in to maximise views, and floor-to-ceiling timber cladding was added to walls both inside and on the veranda to blur the division between indoors and out. Slatted and matt black, the cladding also creates texture and imparts a modern look to the minimalist interior.


As for the landscape renovation, ‘the updated house required a garden that reflected the owners’ preference for a lush yet simple modern space with usable outdoor areas,’ says landscape designer Franchesca Watson. To this end, she placed frangipani trees in planters on the deck area alongside the house and, for the rest, put in large-leafed plants contrasted with grasses and jasmine.

At the bottom of the garden, Watson created a long, narrow pool to provide what she considers ‘a glamorous reflective element fringed by lush plantings’. Next to it she created another carefully proportioned deck containing a gravelled fire pit, which Kenneth says adds great ambience to sunset cocktails. ‘I’m a bush guy and I wanted to bring that bush vibe to Cape Town.

ALSO READ: all the other Before & After House and Room renovation finalists. To place your vote in the Readers’ Renovation awards, click here.