Modern Clifton Home

WORDS Biddi Rorke PHOTOS Adam Letch


Carved into the western slopes of Lion’s Head, this tiered hideaway takes its cues from the indigenous trees and fynbos that once covered the landscape.

Five levels. Authentic materials. A clear design narrative. This sleek yet organic residence in Kloof Road, Clifton, makes a dramatic statement.

The vertically slatted box hovers over the garden terrace, as seen from Kloof Road.

From the gabion-walled ground-level exterior that mimics the mountainside strata from which it emerges to the fold-away glass doors, skylights and pale timber used in the uppermost level, each floor tells a convincing story of natural progression. Most notably, a vertically slatted box hovers over the middle terrace, with space for the forest bushwillows from the second tier to grow. These lightweight aluminium screens, which can open and close, filter the amount of natural light entering the interiors.

“The idea was to architecturally express the varying relationships to the site and the greater context of mountain, sea and sky,” says lead architect Phillippe Fouche of SAOTA. Cécile & Boyd did the interior design, led by partner and designer Paul van den Berg, who focused on organic interior furnishings and finishes to reinforce the unfolding experience of natural elements that the house affords.