Camps Bay Family Home

PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring

This modern property on the slopes above Camps Bay Beach exudes a warm family atmosphere.

For make-up artist Renée de Sambento, home means family, calm and comfort – which you sense as soon as you step through the front door of the contemporary four-storey abode in Camps Bay where she lives with her entrepreneur husband Pedro, six-year-old Sanchia, three-year-old Catalina, and Boston terriers Lola and Elvis.

Renée wanted to transform the existing house into a modern, open space that not only brought family and entertaining to the fore but also embraced the natural surroundings. When it came to choosing an architect, finding a studio that understood this need was paramount. Renée and Pedro turned to close friend Marco Bezzoli of archilab, who involved Michael Borgström and Jacqui Bez in the planning.

“The brief was a natural response to the existing building on the site,” says Marco: “to transform a cramped shell with no connection to the garden into an open, light-filled, easy-living space that would embrace views and allow family life to spill outdoors. Most importantly, we had to screen out the wind.”

“Weather is a huge factor in planning a Camps Bay home,” says Renée. “We made provision for the wind by creating a ‘cocoon’ space outside by the pool that protects against the south-easter in summer, ensuring we are able to entertain outdoors at all times.”

Aside from the temperamental weather (which also played a part in delaying the completion of the 18-month build), living in Camps Bay is packed with perks – including close proximity to the beach, magnificent sea views and a mountainous backdrop. “We wanted to have a spectacular view in whichever direction we faced,” says Renée.

To ensure uninterrupted views, archilab manipulated the sloping site and introduced a new pool and terrace adjacent to the main living areas. Combined with large glass doors that slide open all the way in both directions, “this action transformed the entire relationship between inside and outside, with the bonus of enlarging the living space,” says Marco.

The sleek interior design is the result of Renée’s “creativity and uncompromising eye for style”, he says. Her plan was to keep the decor as simple as possible. “I wanted a calm space that wasn’t overdecorated.” The result is an elegant combination of modern design pieces and family collectibles.

To reduce waste, the team recycled as much of the original structure as they could. “Summer solar heat gain has been mitigated by expansive shading devices and ample cross-ventilation,” says Marco. “Winter heating and heat retention are centred on window orientation supplemented by a high-efficiency fireplace and double glazing throughout. LED lighting, solar water heating and rainwater harvesting all contribute to the package.”

The sense of calm Renée feels when she looks out from the main bedroom over a green belt, the joy Pedro experiences when he picks a bottle from the cellar to share, and the sounds of splashing and laughter heard from the pool on a balmy summer’s day are just some of the reasons the De Sambentos love their home – a place where the doors are open all year round for family and friends to come together and kuier.