WORDS Robyn Alexander PRODUCTION Annamarie Meintjes PHOTOS Dook
Combining the ultimate in holiday ease with a clean-lined, contemporary aesthetic, a new home on the edge of Plett’s glorious Keurbooms Lagoon is perfectly suited to stylish downtime with family and friends.
Located less than a minute from Plettenberg Bay’s pristine Keurbooms lagoon, this newly built home combines beach- holiday practicality with elegant design. It’s a place where sandy feet and effortless glamour combine – and a product of an excellent client-architect relationship. From the start, says architect Luis Mira, he and the client were in complete agreement about what sort of house was needed.
The brief was to create a holiday home over two levels with “a roof terrace, where the main lounge, dining and kitchen would be elevated to maximise views”, says Luis. The client, he adds, “had a clear diagram of how they envisioned this, and we loved that starting point”. The end result is a striking home on multiple levels, with sculptural staircases and a boldly celebrated support pillar – clad in vertically applied, naturally ageing raw-wood panels – reminiscent of the smokestacks of an ocean liner.
From the start, Luis explains, the house was designed by working with three suspended horizontal planes: the ground floor, first floor and roof level, and the space sequence among these. The idea was to focus on how the three planes connect vertically, and create internal and external spaces in constant relation to the surrounding views and natural condition of the site.
Successfully enhancing “the sense of being in proximity to a tidal giant”, as Luis puts it, the open-plan kitchen, living and dining area is on the upper floor of the house, alongside the master bedroom suite. The entire level opens up to views of the lagoon at the front, while to the back is a shaded outdoor braai and bar, plus an outdoor dining table and chairs. Still higher, up on the roof, is a more intimate braai and entertainment space, and adjacent to these, a rooftop Jacuzzi.
While the upper levels are ideal for elegant entertaining and taking it easy, the lower floor is all about family fun – and is also teenager-friendly. There’s an entertainment area somewhat reminiscent of a smart sports bar, with a large- screen TV and quirky guest bathroom. Also on this floor is a wine cellar and state-of-the-art modular gym equipment, stored for on-demand use. A chill-out lounge and the remaining bedrooms and bathrooms complete the space.
The house was conceived as a response to its remarkable location, says Luis. “You walk along the most beautiful bush path to reach the water in less than a minute,” he explains. “The lagoon is ever-changing, with low and high tides, light intensity, reflections… And these natural forces constantly wet, cover or unveil the golden sand of the beach that is in full view from the house. It is an exquisite natural phenomenon to witness; building in front of it was truly special.”
To help keep everyone’s eyes on the spectacular surroundings, the interiors feature a restricted materials and colour palette. “We were extremely lucky that our client’s understanding of the need for this was superb, and a driving force during the project,” says Luis. “You can see the same principle applied to their selection of furniture and artworks.”
This approach plays out in two ways,he says.First,a connection is established with the natural shades of the surrounding landscape, with a useful example of this being “the beige tiled floor and seats in relation to the sand dunes”. The natural wood cladding and planted elements also bring the subtropical lushness of Plettenberg Bay into the home. Secondly, Luis explains, the pared-back interiors are “neutral enough to allow the architecture to be more of a background, which enables daily life to take over”.
All the fixtures – such as the Italian kitchen,built-in cupboards and vanities by Assirelli Italian Design – and furnishings were chosen by the homeowners, while custom-made items such as beds, exterior tables, bars, desks, shelving and TV units were made by local joiners Wooden Wonders, or by main contractor No Fuss Construction, who have “excellent joinery expertise”, says Luis.
Complementing the custom elements is a selection of international design pieces ranging from the dining table and chairs by Carl Hansen to the supremely stylish Aballs suspended lights – by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon for Parachilna – above the kitchen island, and Jasper Morrison’s modern-classic Smithfield ceiling lamps in the dining room. The final layer is made up of thought-provoking artworks that reflect the homeowners’ predilection for smart, contemporary pieces.
As Luis points out, however, this home is primarily about facilitating tranquil holiday time. Asked what he personally likes most about it, he replies, “That it is well built, that it has been beautifully furnished and equipped, and above all, the fact that the family is already creating some wonderful holiday memories here.”