Modern hout bay home
Text Deborah Louw Styling Jeanne Botes Photographs Micky Hoyle The finest forests in the world lie scattered all about the mountain-side,’ enthused Jan van Riebeeck in his diary in 1652 on venturing beyond his ship-refreshment station in Table Bay to the southern flank of Table Mountain. Overlooking a sweep of sea, it was an area so rich in timber that the name he gave it – from the Dutch for wood – suggested itself. Hout Bay has changed dramatically since those days, of course. The amount of land under forest has diminished, the population grown, much of the valley’s wetlands replaced by strips of shops and offices. Yet, thanks to guidelines that encourage a measure of conformity of design and materials, the residential estates peppering the mountain slopes retain some of Hout Bay’s rural character. When a site suddenly became available in one of these developments, the present owner didn’t hesitate to buy it. Among its attributes was the fact that it was one of the highest properties on the estate, hugging the 150-metre contour line (the Cape Town city council’s height limit for mountain-side builds). It also offered a panoramic aspect, encompassing views that took in a slab of mountain to the north, a westerly orientation that caught the warmth of the afternoon sun, and a southerly view stretching beyond Hout Bay harbour as far as the Kommetjie lighthouse. The success of the 16-month project depended, inevitably, on a team effort. The owner enlisted the help of architect Paolo Deliperi, who’d already designed several homes on the estate and was well acquainted with its rigorous design manual. LA Developments Cape was brought in as building contractor. ‘The project wasn’t without its challenges,’ says CEO Anton Mandelstam, ‘from the sharply sloping site to the major body of subterranean water we encountered!’ KwaZulu-Natal interior specialists Mark and Michele Metior of M+M Space Design were tasked with interpreting the architectural design and incorporating the owner’s personal preferences. They were involved in everything from finishes and fabrics to light fittings ‘from the time the first brick was laid,’ says Mark. The outcome is a house that reflects a perfectionist’s attention to detail. This expansive property is staggered over four levels that follow the natural contours of the land. The dominant materials are, appropriately, wood, glass and steel, all of which the owner and the architect appreciated for their aesthetic and functional qualities. Clever use was made of the area created by the initial excavation: as well as a separate-entrance guest suite, this ‘basement’ level comprises a three-car garage, visitors’ parking, and a den with a home-theatre entertainment system, bar and wine cellar. The main living areas (which include a study and family area) and three bedrooms occupy the second level and are integrated with the lawn, rim-flow pool and patio. In fact, when all the exterior doors are opened up and folded away, the home more closely resembles a massive outdoor courtyard than a conventional four-walls-and-a-roof dwelling. The master suite and a fifth bedroom occupy the third level, which in turn looks out and up into the indigenous garden. The owner’s twin enthusiasms – cooking and wine – are reflected in the attention paid to two key areas: the kitchen island that is an integral part of the main living and dining area, and the temperature-controlled wine cellar stocked with 600 bottles, each held in place by two bespoke pins (almost everything in the home is custom made). This home has settled into the environment that influenced it. Although utterly contemporary and silkily hi-tech, it would not have been out of place in the forests observed by Van Riebeeck more than three-and-a-half centuries ago… Paolo Deliperi, pdarchitect.co.za; LA Developments Cape, ladevelopments.co.za; M+M Space Design, mmdesigns.co.za.