By the time you reach the remote scattering of houses that’s known as Scarborough, you’ve succumbed to the sense of serenity that draws people to this special spot on the edge of the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
For Craig Price there’s something almost sacred about the land on which he has created his glass, wood and steel house. ‘I pick up on the natural energy of this place,’ he says. ‘I’ve always felt extremely relaxed here. That’s why I decided to build on this spot.’
He has such a connection with the property that he was at pains not to impact on the site. Instead he only removed alien vegetation and was meticulous in accommodating the rocky outcrops and mature spreading trees, some of which now grow through the decking.
In the typical style of this laid-back seaside community, the project developed slowly. It took over 18 months, and involved three other Scarborough residents, along with Lisa Fabbri the Cape Town interior designer. Justin Willis was co-designer and master builder, and India Munting assessed the land in her capacity as Life Alignment practitioner, bringing in her colleague, landscaper Mark Wellens, who used intuitive tools including a dowsing process to create a lush yet water-wise garden.
‘To come into a space that is honoured by its guardian is a blessing for me,’ says Mark. ‘Even though the building was way into its construction phase, the land contained the most magical sacred site, and Craig and India had honoured this impeccably.’
Craig’s original vision was an indoor-outdoor entertainment area that took advantage of the plot’s natural shade and beauty. ‘Building the house was an open-budget creative process,’ he says. ‘Everyone had input and these were keenly discussed over beer.’ Because it evolved as they went along, they went from the top of the slope downwards, and ended by evacuating 80m³ of rock while underpinning the structure they’d just completed.
Not surprisingly the final product is an unusual house on three levels with state-of-the-art technology rooted in Craig’s individualistic Robinson Crusoe approach. Connecting the levels are balau walkways and decking with embedded lights that illuminate the pathway at night.
‘The walkways pull everything together and enhance the sanctuary-like feeling,’ Craig says.
The main bedroom is on the lower level – luxurious minimalism overlooking the ocean. A water feature designed by Justin runs down one wall, and the floor and bathroom walls are covered in Quartz Carpet. The blind is electric and the TV pops up at the end of the bed so as not to obscure views of the sea and Craig’s 40-year-old kokerbooms that are lined up alongside the navy-blue plunge pool. In the bathroom the shower is a Hansgrohe Rainmaker with three different spray zones, while the Morsø wood-burning fireplace keeps the space warm in winter.
Another of Justin’s inspired designs was the chic but sturdy glass spiral stairway which has lights in its thick glass treads. It leads to the second level, a charcoal-tiled kitchen, lounge and bar area where panels of frameless glass can stack away to make a space that connects seamlessly with the outside tree-canopied dining area. Nothing in the kitchen is run of the mill. A pop-up extractor in elegant black glass and stainless steel hides away behind a range of smart Smeg appliances that include a gas burner, a black glass ceramic hob, an electric oven, a microwave oven and a coffee machine. Dark neolith countertops and cupboard fronts combined with ash and cedarwood panelling on the wall make for an attractive, edgy spot in which to cook and entertain guests.
In the lounge area Lisa has created what she calls ‘a relaxed wow’ effect with a more sophisticated ambiance than the bedroom below. The interior designer says ‘Craig was adamant that he didn’t want a standard sofa with a backrest that would block the stunning sea views. Fortunately I could meet this request by sourcing moveable backrests from Roche Bobois that we simply arranged on a comfortable divan base. Everyone loves this piece!’ The third level is at the top of the plot – another bedroom, this time with a treehouse feel, reached by a balau walkway. Panelled in American blackwood, it has an outside bathroom nestled among the rocks and trees – an idea Craig picked up in Alaska. He says the house far exceeds his initial dream, and he has named it Synergy. ‘There’s a feeling of escape,’ he says. ‘It’s like a game lodge or sanctuary. It whispers, breathe.’
This home is available for holiday rentals through Perfect Hideaways.
This article was originally published in HL November 2016.