PHOTOS: Adriaan Oosthuizen | PRODUCTION: Sumien Brink | WORDS: Erika Bornman
The slopes of the Helderberg conceal a little valley, filled with olive trees and granite boulders, that boasts the perfect view.
How would you make this perfect? By building a house to enjoy it, of course.
But not just any house. A wooden cabin that rests lightly on the ground, built ever so carefully so as not to disturb the surroundings.
Enter Rustic Homes, master builders of timber homes. Masters also of tricky, hard-to-reach sites such as this one, as the wall structures are pre-made, making on-site construction relatively simple once the foundations are in place.
“This kind of construction is much gentler on the environment than conventional building methods,” confirms Pieter Silberbauer, Managing Director of Rustic Homes. “We worked closely with architect Francois du Toit to create a home that looks like it’s floating above the olive trees.”
The brief from the owner of Hidden Valley, the wine farm on which the cabin is situated, was clear. He wanted a modest, compact cabin with separate guest quarters, and an outside deck and pool area that made the most of the incredible views (on a clear day you can see Table Bay in the distance).
The chosen site was on an overgrown, narrow farm road – it being the only flat piece of land on the extremely steep slope. “The design was completely dictated by the site; a winding, linear arrangement of functions follows the path the old farm road took as it made its way across the valley,” says Francois.
Never one to shy away from a challenge that requires an innovative solution, Rustic Homes decided on a foundation that breaks away from traditional timber construction methods. The cabins rest on bespoke light-steel bases set on concrete columns. This element helped further reduce the footprint of the structures while accommodating the natural gradient of the slope.
The main cabin houses the living and dining rooms, kitchen and main bedroom, and is separated from the guest cabin by a landscaped deck and pool area overlooking the spectacular west-facing views.
The exterior is clad in weather-resistant jarrah timber with matching sliding screens that shield the west-facing doors and windows against the late afternoon sun. Everything is carefully crafted using superior materials and the latest technology.
The interior finishes have been as carefully thought through as the exterior ones. Jarrah floors and jute carpeting are in peaceful harmony with the rest of the home, which has been custom-built to withstand the elements and requires little maintenance on the owner’s part.
He is happy with his hidden gem and knows it will be treasured for generations to come.