Buffelsbaai Home

WORDS Zelia Michaels Shangase PRODUCTION Annemarie Meintjes PHOTOS Dook

Family getaways are relaxing by design at this architecturally innovative holiday home, which is located in the tranquil beachfront village of Buffelsbaai.

Family holiday homes evoke images of blissful summer days filled with nothing but hours spent on the beach and sipping homemade (somewhat punchy) lemonade to keep cool. And this Buffelsbaai beachside gem most certainly lives up to that billing, ticking all the boxes for what’s required to ensure that the Ferreiras’ getaways are always restful, invigorating and, quite simply, a holiday.

An existing structure was demolished on this third-generation property to make way for a new home for the family. Richly reflective of the opportunities and constraints of the landscape, the design of the house was inspired by the sea and the milkwood forest that surrounds it.

As lead architect Guillaume Pienaar of Pinard Architecture says, the house skilfully combines “natural materials, colours and textures: natural timber, off-shutter concrete, rope and very rough-textured plaster that, over time, will disappear into the milkwood forest and fade in colour”, with an eye-catching structural design that will remain relevant and inspiring for many more generations.

The evocative natural history of milkwood forests in the area was key to the design decision to steer away from a typical “beachfront view” placement, and instead opt to protect and support the rehabilitation of the indigenous vegetation.

Working with horticulturalist Nanna Joubert, the project team created what will soon be a natural barrier of privacy as the house disappears behind the lush flora.

As the property is just 30 metres from the beach, the smell and sound of the ocean are constant. This sensory dimension led to the design feature that keeps you constantly aware of the presence of the water in every corner of the house: two concrete “ears” act as receptacles for sea breezes, ocean sounds, morning light – and extraordinary views. The fact that the ocean is so close to the house is further amplified by the selection of features reminiscent of this, including the mosaic tiles used on the floors throughout, and the timber rail door handles that “accommodate the ever-present damp towels and swimming costumes found at beach holiday homes”, says Guillaume.

A holiday home also needs to be low-maintenance, which guided the thinking behind the furniture and decor. “Simple and clean” is what Guillaume and his clients, homeowners Daan and Engela Ferreira, were going for in their choice of colours and materials. All the furniture was designed to be hassle-free, with typical holiday activities in mind.

Think a made-for-lounging sofa with interchangeable pieces that are just as useful for seating as they are for reclining to read or snooze; and a round table perfectly placed for board games, puzzle building and other such pastimes. In collaboration with a local manufacturer, Pinard Architecture designed and made all the furniture other than a few plastic chairs. “We love to collaborate with local manufacturers such as Fechters, who have been in Knysna since 1936,” says Guillaume.

Although it has five bedrooms, this home is built on a fairly modest scale, with the architectural team having successfully blended it into the low-key holiday spot of Buffelsbaai, a small village close to Knysna, where it is located. In spite of this, the house sports plenty of functional design features. The angled “bay window” at the front of the building creates a cosy nook that fills with sunlight in winter through the skylight on its north side, but also has a 180-degree view, making it an ideal conversation or reading spot on rainy days. And the central open courtyard is the perfect place in which to shelter from the southeaster, ensuring that braai-and-chill time is never spoilt by the wind.

Key to the design and innovation of this home is the precise construction of it, which the project team agree would not have been possible without the amazing work done by Steiger Construction. Cleverly combining elements of sun, sky, forest and water, this is a holiday home that appeals to all the senses, generating a deep and instant yearning for carefree summer days.

Looking for more beachfront retreats? Take a look at this modern beach house in Yzerfontein.