COMPILED BY Michaela Stehr
Dreaming of a beach escape? These seaside homes are the perfect inspiration for a sandy and salty retreat.
From big and bold to nautical chic, these beach homes are a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city living.
The little white cottage that Megan and Casper Geldenhuys built in Onrus 30 years ago speaks of precious times with family and friends, a life lived close to nature and a deep respect for the setting. The little white cottage is perched as though airlifted there on the shores of Onrus Lagoon. At first glance it is an unremarkable clapboard structure. Sitting off-kilter on a large stand, it is rectangular, made entirely of timber painted white from top to toe both outside and inside, and has big windows – not a burglar bar or ostentatious element in sight.
A marine-meets-modern beach house on the west coast embraces open spaces and a peaceful palette for the ultimate low-key retreat. An intimate understanding of the small coastal town of Yzerfontein has made Evi Elsner something of an expert when it comes to creating beach homes in this idyllic enclave. Originally from Germany, Evi and her husband Jochem lived in Somerset West for 15 years before relocating to Yzerfontein, where they established themselves as sought-after dream-house developers. Combining architectural, interior design and building skills, the husband-and-wife team found a winning formula: Home Concept, their business, starts from the ground up, quite literally.
Built on what is probably the most perfect plot in Yzerfontein on the West Coast, this incredible beach house actually magnifies the effects of its beautiful surroundings. The house, named To the Moon and Back, is located at the very end of the southernmost beach road in Yzerfontein, bordering on Tygerfontein, a private nature reserve with pristine strandveld vegetation. The owners fell in love with “the best-kept secret of the West Coast” after attending an auction in town. As soon as this plot became available, they snapped it up.
Struck by the magnificent mountain-and-ocean setting of this three-level Bakoven bungalow, interior designer Susanne Brodnik, founder of My Place in Cape Town, sought to create a unifying design language and a bright, light, open interior. The brief to Susanne from the property’s well-travelled international owners was for a home away from home. “As a parent myself, I immediately understood when the owners, who have a young son, said to me: ‘We want to arrive at this house and be at home.’ Everything is built around that sentence. I needed to create an easy living, open plan, holiday home; a second home for the owners to unwind and simply relax as soon as they arrive,” she says.
Architect Johann Slee’s latest creation hovers over and among milkwood trees above the dunes in Sedgefield. The name ‘Floating Dune House‘ comes from its minimal impact on the sensitive and unique dune vegetation. “The footprint of the house was kept as compact as possible,” explains Johann, “by introducing a cantilevered building edge that is raised above the vegetation, giving the illusion of floating on the dunes.” During the building process alien plants were removed, leaving gaps in the indigenous milkwood trees that created natural portals to the sea views. The brief was to embrace the milkwoods, and the result, in fact, was to be embraced by them.
Designer Rhett Williams-Jones and architect Lawden Holmes transformed an unused storage room in Yzerfontein into this tranquil West Coast hideaway, aptly named The Boat House. The renovation of the tiny space embodies a contemporary coastal charm, purposeful in its intention to connect to the exterior landscape.
The Boat House sits adjacent to a greenbelt in the ever-expanding West Coast town of Yzerfontein. Due to the increased development in the area and the threat it poses to the fynbos and ‘beach vegetation’ endemic to the coastal areas around Cape Town, Rhett wanted to enforce the space’s connection to the outdoors. “It was something we wanted to be clear from the moment you step through the front door – the connection to the fauna and flora,” says Rhett. “That flow between interior and exterior also makes the small space feel that much bigger”.
The inspired architectural design of this contemporary weekender works as a series of controlled openings that respond to the area’s wild weather conditions while cleverly merging African and Mediterranean design principles with the owners’ distinctive sense of style.
What started as an occasional getaway to the coastal village of Scarborough grew into a full-blown love affair for the owners of this home – a creative director and a surgeon. “Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, Scarborough is the last village before Cape Point – a little piece of heaven within walking distance of the beach,” they say.