houses

A Smart Renovation In Camps Bay

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

Karl Rogers Styling Chrizanda Botha
Renovation | House and Leisure
On the veranda, alfresco gatherings are enjoyed on woven-fabric dining chairs around a metal outdoor dining table (all from Weylandts). The slatted timber sun blinds by Top Structures move on tracks to allow unobstructed views of the Atlantic.

 

The location is what first attracted Kenneth Collins to this property on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, and it’s the location that made the renovation of the existing structure on it 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 looking over the Indian Ocean,’ says Kenneth, who comes from a four-generation Durban property-developer family, ‘and 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 a dated stairway, the house had a closed-in feel.

Renovation | House and Leisure
In the open-plan kitchen, bar stools from Créma line the island which, along with the timber and steel counter, is by SA Kitchens.
Renovation | House and Leisure
A fiddle-leaf fig in a Cécile & Boyd basket stands alongside a multilegged wooden table, a hide rug, glass vessels and artworks.

 

 

To achieve the wide-open simplicity that 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, the required tons of fill-in had to be brought in through the house. Retaining walls had to be built around the boundary,  too.

Kenneth admits he enjoys a challenge. ‘In our family, we know our way around a building site,’ is how he puts it. His career as a developer has included creating a resort on an island he bought in the Seychelles and has since sold, a second-home chalet in the French Alps, and a lodge on his own game reserve in Limpopo.

Renovation | House and Leisure
The lounge boasts a spectacular vista. The sofa and armchair are from La Grange Interiors, the African reed rocker from Cécile & Boyd and the carpet from Hoffman Rugs.

 

ALSO READ: A Little Black Book Of Reader-Recommended Renovation Specialists

The Camps Bay revamp took about a year. To help him breathe new life into the house, he brought in Durban-based architect Lisa Rorich, who has worked on several of his projects, and interior designer Kate Moffatt of Hint Decor.

Renovation | House and Leisure
A succulent in a basket from Cécile & Boyd and a pair of wooden planters bring nature into the bathroom.
Renovation | House and Leisure
Tactile accents appear regularly, as shown in this standing lamp with straw shade from Cécile & Boyd, and a delicious monster in a ceramic pot.

 

 

Rorich and Moffatt reinvented whatever was left of the original structure, even having the roof taken off to create a more contemporary effect with exposed trusses.

Renovation | House and Leisure
At the end of the new exposed roof, a glazed panel adds light and height to the living space and provides an unexpected and striking view of the top of Lion’s Head. This triangular sheet of glass is located in the section of the house that’s visually the most significant – the wide, high space where you enter is faced with a spectacular view of the ocean. On the sofa are cushions from Cécile & Boyd, and the small occasional tables and stools are also from Cécile & Boyd, and Weylandts. The rattan hanging lamps in the kitchen area were also sourced from Weylandts.

 

Wide, warm oak planks replaced the cold 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.

Renovation | House and Leisure
In the dining area, matt-black slatted timber cladding gives a sleek, updated look to what was once a conventional bungalow. Adding contrast to the monochrome space are a Harvest table and chairs from James Mudge. A Sarah Pratt painting hangs above a utilitarian Hinge unit by Dokter and Misses.

 

Slatted and matt black, the cladding also creates appealing texture and imparts a sleek modern look to the minimalist interior. ‘My Durban house is painted black, but this is the first time I’ve used black in an interior,’ Kenneth says. ‘Mixed with natural tones, I think it works well.’

Renovation | House and Leisure
Draped over the bed is a line-print throw from Cécile & Boyd, which ties in with the graphic lines of the scatter cushion.
Renovation | House and Leisure
The timber cladding on the veranda is the same as the interior cladding and blurs the division between indoors and out.

 

 

The garden is a vital part of the property’s visual appeal. ‘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 large square gabion planters on the deck area alongside the house and, for the rest, put in bold, large-leafed plants contrasted with grasses and jasmine.

ALSO READ: A Bold and Sculptural Abode in Camps Bay
Renovation | House and Leisure
One of the usable garden areas created by landscape designer Franchesca Watson is a deck beside the long narrow pool at the bottom of the garden, containing a gravelled fire pit, which is great for sunset cocktails. The front lawn used to slope sharply from the house down to the pool. ‘It made sense to bring the lawn into closer contact with the house by raising the level,’ says Kenneth, ‘but it was only after we raised it that we realised what a great view it now gives us of the mountain rising behind the house.’ Some tough decisions had to be made regarding which established plants to keep that were essential for screening and would also blend with the new look of the garden. 

 

At the bottom of the garden, Watson created a long, narrow pool to provide what she considers ‘a wonderfully 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 down to Cape Town.’  

ALSO READ: Our Quick Guide To Bloemfontein's Best

This clever and considered renovation won the HL Readers' Renovation Award 2018, so we asked homeowner Kenneth Collins to share his top pieces of renovation advice with us.

Kenneth Collins' Top 5 Renovation Tips

1. Plan your renovation properly. Know your professional team and be sure about what you want.

2. Get a reliable structural engineer involved from the beginning of the renovation project. 

3. Make sure you have all your various approvals – municipal, neighbours and so on – in place before you commence renovation work.

4. Hold back sufficient funds to keep all contractors interested. Retain a substantial amount as final payment until everything related to the renovation has been completed to your satisfaction.

5. Expect your budget to have gone up by the completion of the renovation project, and factor that in before you start. Include your garden in your budget because this is usually overlooked and the garden can really make the whole space.

Renovation | House and Leisure
Featuring a Dubai tub from Lavo Bathroom Concepts, the light-filled bathroom opens out onto a private outdoor shower in a corner of the garden.
Renovation | House and Leisure
Patterned wallpaper in the guest toilet from Hertex adds to the home’s linear design theme. The hanging round mirror is from Dark Horse.