WORDS Adele de Lange IMAGES Dook PRODUCTION Annemarie Meintjes
A rare find on the shores of Plett is transformed into a place of wonder with infinite views of sky and ocean.
With breathtaking beaches, pristine nature reserves and adventure-packed amenities, it’s no surprise that Plettenberg Bay is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country. And it’s where architects Johan Wentzel and Grete van As of W Design Architecture Studio set out to create a private haven of tranquillity for their clients – a place where the natural beauty of the bay would be an undeniable focal point throughout the house.
“For us, architecture is not about the physical building; it’s about the spirit that creates the space,” Johan explains. “The building is just a sheltered platform from which you experience the world – space and place should be perceived by the spirit.” With direct beach access and views stretching across the bay and towards Robberg Nature Reserve for as far as the eye can see, the site is a gem. “We designed the house with absolute focus on the natural world outside – the ocean, the waves, Robberg, the bay, the wind and the limitless sky,” Johan says.
These key design features are evident the minute you enter the sheltered inner courtyard through a dramatic steel door. “It’s like crossing a portal into another world,” Grete explains. A dense canopy of water pear trees casts dappled sunlight over the courtyard and walkway that leads to the main living area, where floor-to-ceiling glazed doors slide away to let the endless sights and sounds of ocean and sky envelop your senses.
The beautifully crafted steel-and-wood stairwell both connects and separates various spaces vertically to give everyone exactly what they need: the teenagers, an area to bunk in downstairs, with quick access to the beach; communal spaces in the middle for shared family time; and the master suite tucked away upstairs for well-deserved quiet time.
Outside, sleek aluminium cladding, smooth concrete and rugged face brick create a juxtaposition in texture and form that is carried through to within, turning into clever privacy screens that blur the edges between interior and exterior spaces. Inside, the off-shutter concrete, black face brick and natural white oak provide a subtle monochrome backdrop to the main feature of the house – the view. With impeccable attention to detail, both the construction elements and the architecture allow the wonder of the natural context to take centre stage. “We were thankful to local contractors SGB Construction and their team of artisans and sub-contractors for their dedication, patience and enthusiasm to get the details right,” Grete recalls.
READ MORE: Influencers: Grete van SA & Johan Wentzel
Interior designer Adéle van der Merwe ensured that the central design concept was carried through into the final touches. Furnishings in neutral tones complement the architectural style, with a subtle mixture of warm and intimate, playful and practical setting the tone as one room flows into the next.
“I take inspiration from my clients’ way of living, so the interiors become an intuitive reflection of their lifestyle,” she explains. With understated simplicity, the bold use of materials and textures in their natural form adds a splash of glamour to this easy-going family home, in which there’s infinite room to breathe, reset and deep-dive into the rich bounty of Mother Nature.