Good tidings

PHOTOS Greg Cox PRODUCTION Etienne Hanekom WORDS Alma Viviers

Lees in Afrikaans.

The apartment of Ebb Tide not only offers visitors a slice of seaside paradise but also fulfills a childhood dream of owner and developer David Higginson.

“I am going to take you somewhere that’s going to change your life my friend Paul said to me while we were sitting at Birmingham airport,” recalls David Higginson. The year was 1989 and they were waiting to board a flight to South Africa for a trip to explore investment opportunities.

What was supposed to be a week-long business trip became a three-week holiday, by the end of which David’s life was indeed utterly changed. “I have travelled a lot: I have lived in Bermuda and New York, and spent a lot of time in Europe. But there it was: the mountain, the beach, the cosmopolitan city – everything Cape Town had to offer was what I’ve always wanted,” he muses.

After that first trip David made annual pilgrimages to escape the chilly winters and the demands of running several pubs, restaurants and a hotel in Nottingham. But by 1998 he had had enough of the hospitality industry. David sold his business interests in the UK and decided to take a six-month sabbatical in Cape Town.

A lifestyle like no other

“I returned to London for a month afterwards but knew that I could never replicate the lifestyle I had in the Mother City.” That’s when David packed up and shipped out to Cape Town for good: “When I brought my golden retriever over I knew this was not a short-term thing.”

David not only lost his heart to South Africa but also to a South African woman. He and Loryn have been married for three years and, together with two-year-old son Oliver, are living David’s childhood dream of living by the sea.

“As a kid growing up in Nottingham, an industrial town in the UK Midlands, we would only have an annual seaside holiday to Devon or Cornwall,” he recalls. “This morning I was on the beach at 6:15 with Oliver and the dogs – it’s priceless.”

Sharing the good stuff

As a seasoned hotelier and restaurateur, David now draws on his extensive business and hospitality experience by developing and investing in holiday rentals, which also gives other people the opportunity to experience the slice of paradise he calls home.

He currently owns several holiday apartments in Camps Bay and Caledon, with the Ebb Tide luxury apartments forming the latest addition to his portfolio. Located on the boundary between Camps Bay and Bakoven, overlooking the exquisite Barley Bay, Ebb Tide is the culmination of almost nine years of planning.

David bought the property, which included a derelict house, in 2000 with the intention of developing four holiday apartments. Lengthy negotiations with neighbours and the City Council meant his plans were delayed for several years. But persistence paid off and in 2003 architect Greg Wright was tasked with the challenge of creating four top-end contemporary apartments. Greg rose to the challenges presented by a small site and prescriptive limitations to create a cohesive building that houses four individual apartments, each with its own distinctive layout.

Creating a presence

“We worked hard to find a solution that would be both discreet and sculpturally exciting, creating a presence on the street,” he says. The interior of each apartment was designed to optimise its view and make the most of the natural sunlight.

The result is an open, transparent arrangement of spaces where the boundaries between interior and exterior are blurred. A cool, simple palette of finishes and meticulous attention to the smallest detail combine to ensure an overall sense of harmony and unity. “We are a little obsessive in that department,” Greg admits. “Nothing is left to chance and everything is considered and anticipated well in advance.”

For example, the height of the imported Viking fridge determined the placement of the kitchen cupboards so that all the elements in the kitchen line up. Slabs of Greek Volakas Marble were imported and cut to size, eliminating unsightly joints. Greg believes the mood someone feels in a particular space is the culmination of the level of detail during the process of putting that space together – a process that ultimately transcends the physical and enters the realm of emotion.

Ebb Tide gives visitors a chance to experience the lifestyle that convinced David to make Camps Bay his home – even if only for a holiday – and, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, to “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea; Drink the wild air’s salubrity”.

To rent or buy one of the Ebb Tide Apartments, contact Audrey Matthews of Ronnie Matthews Estates on 083 254 4477 or

Greg Wright Architects: 021 465 9775,

First published in VISI 46. See more of our favourite beach houses online and buy the Endless Summer edition of VISI for the ultimate beach house collection.

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