Scarborough Home

WORDS Kerryn Fischer PRODUCTION Luanne Toms PHOTOS Greg Cox/Frank Features

The inspired architectural design of this contemporary weekender works as a series of controlled openings that respond to the area’s wild weather conditions while cleverly merging African and Mediterranean design principles with the owners’ distinctive sense of style.

What started as an occasional getaway to the coastal village of Scarborough grew into a full-blown love affair for the owners of this home – a creative director and a surgeon. “Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, Scarborough is the last village before Cape Point – a little piece of heaven within walking distance of the beach,” they say.

The couple were so enamoured with the village, they had no desire to tell anyone about it – not even their three grown children. “It was a year before we took any of them with us,” they say with a laugh. “Predictably, they immediately fell in love with it too, and suggested we start looking for a place where we could all go to as a family.”

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It took a few months to find the ideal plot of land – but as soon as they stepped onto the piece of pristine fynbos with the bush all around them and the sound of the sea in their ears, they knew they’d found their slice of paradise. They also knew exactly who they wanted to bring their vision to life: architects Saskia Vermeiren and Matthew Beatty, who had previously won an award for another residence they had designed in Scarborough.

“Our brief was for a house that would sit quietly in this space,” says Saskia, “a place that would blend in as much as possible with the landscape.” For her and Matthew, who live nearby, the knowledge of the climate helped in interpreting a design that would incorporate the owners’ distinctive style while acting as a shelter for their family during the extremes of the weather in both summer and winter.

Striped deck chairs from Pezula Interiors, a rattan outdoor sofa from Block & Chisel and an inherited bench provide plenty of seating on the veranda, with swathes of old sail material from a shop in Kalk Bay often used for shade.

“The focus was on controlled openings that framed the views, rather than a glass architecture,” says Saskia of the final design that is raised on a plinth in the landscape, much like a veranda or stoep. “The building aesthetic is an interpretation and a merging of African and Mediterranean architecture that suits the climate,” adds partner Matthew.

Views across the wetlands towards Cape Point National Park and the beach make the Luxembourg Low Chairs from Plaisir du Jardin on the roof terrace a much-loved sundowner spot.

Laid out over two floors, the house pivots off a central wall and a wind-still covered stoep, with a kitchen leading onto it that is at the heart of the plan. The four bedrooms – two of them plus a small loft downstairs, with the main en suite bedroom upstairs – form a series of separate volumes, each maximising views, light, privacy and cross-ventilation. Builder Micah Burger did a phenomenal job of incorporating the owners’ must-haves in the final product, including African mahogany doors and windows, natural grey screed floors, and stone and brickwork detailing.

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Seen from the beach, the house looks like a pink mirage set against the mountain behind it. “We chose the shade of pink very carefully, painting different colours on the north-, south-, east- and west-facing walls, and watching them change in the light,” recall the owners. “It was a total meditation – but in the end, the final colour revealed itself because of the way it blended in with the sky, the fynbos, the rocks and even the hills in the distance.”

And for the owners, who spent two and a half months here during lockdown, it was “a dream”. “Our goal is to have that amount of time here again. We feel so incredibly lucky and blessed and excited for our future here, as we inevitably gear down our businesses and look forward to embracing life in the simplest and purest way possible.”

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