A place to make memories
As a busy single mother and owner of Woodstock homeware store Love Milo, Nicki Ellis needed a getaway from Cape Town city life – a place where birdsong replaced tweeting, transport was by bicycle, and her children Milo, six, and Phoenix, five, could contentedly amuse themselves while she read in the sun. Fortunately her father had a plan. 'Having grandchildren was the catalyst for him,' Nicki explains.
'Children grow up so quickly and my dad wanted to create a place where we could all be together for weekends and holidays so he could take them fishing and for walks.'
'There are often frogs in the house; Milo brings in fish; and they can ride their bicycles on the cement screed floors.'In January 2013, after 18 months of building and decorating, the house was ready for occupation. Cue the start of a new parallel life for the family members who, like most Greyton residents, soon began walking to the shops and riding their bicycles to the Saturday-morning market. Milo whiles away hours finding insects and caterpillars, catching mosquito fish in the pond at the bottom of the garden, spotting wildlife in the nature reserve and going fly-fishing in the river with his grandfather. Phoenix can be found jumping on the trampoline, baking cookies or drawing in front of the fireplace in winter. Nicki takes the opportunity to read on the cushioned ledge beside the north-facing living room window, a prime sun spot even in winter. The glass throughout the house affords views all the way to the back garden. As Nicki notes, ‘No matter where you are, you can always see where the kids are.’ Their house in the village has become the natural location for family celebrations. When Graham turned 60 last year a throng of his friends stayed in the village and joined the family for a festive dinner at Searle’s Trading Post. For the children, Halloween is the highlight. 'It's very open and neighbourly here; a very nice, close-knit community. Everyone made such an effort,' says Nicki, recalling the cauldron at the bottom of a neighbour’s garden, the witches' hats decorating houses, and how her children went trick or treating along the village lanes, with Milo dressed as Darth Vader and Phoenix as a skeleton. Truly, it's a place where memories are made. Luke Scott Architects, lukescott.co.za; Love Milo, lovemilo.com Originally published in HL December 2015