The Boat House

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Grace Charlotte Photography

Designer Rhett Williams-Jones and architect Lawden Holmes transformed an unused storage room in Yzerfontein into this tranquil West Coast hideaway, aptly named The Boat House. The renovation of the tiny space embodies a contemporary coastal charm, purposeful in its intention to connect to the exterior landscape.

“When we initially bought this property we didn’t give the old unused boat shed attached to it much thought until one afternoon when we were having beers outside and decided to go see what was actually in this storage space. Whilst we were scratching through all the contents in the shed (a few amazing mid-century pieces were hiding in there!), my friend said we should convert it into an Airbnb. And as they say, the rest was history,” explains designer Rhett Williams-Jones.

READ MORE: Local Escapes: Off-grid Tiny Cabins

The Boat House sits adjacent to a greenbelt in the ever-expanding West Coast town of Yzerfontein. Due to the increased development in the area and the threat it poses to the fynbos and ‘beach vegetation’ endemic to the coastal areas around Cape Town, Rhett wanted to enforce the space’s connection to the outdoors. “It was something we wanted to be clear from the moment you step through the front door – the connection to the fauna and flora,” says Rhett. “That flow between interior and exterior also makes the small space feel that much bigger”.

The Boat House
The Boat House

The designers wanted the space to soak in natural light. To achieve this, vertical windows were installed on the eastern side of the house and giant sliding windows were incorporated into the design of the front façade. When open, the meranti shutters further enhance the connection with the outside. There are subtle nods to the shed’s former life throughout the design of the house, too. “The circular windows were inspired by the portholes of a ship,” explains Rhett.

The Boat House
“When it came to the kitchen, we wanted something small and functional. The matt green cupboards were a bit of a gamble but have turned out to be one of the main ‘wow’ factors”, says Rhett.

The interior draws from a warm and diverse palette of muted West Coast tones to create a soft and calming home. The terrazzo flooring and matt black features are warmed-up by the textured fabrics and wooden elements that run right through the space, such as the double volume Oggie ceiling and oak countertops. “The West Coast climate is raw and unforgiving. This made us develop a primary palette of materials that exist in their most natural form – namely oak, concrete and steel,” says Rhett.

The Boat House
The wooden deck features a kolkol making it the perfect spot for some outdoor R&R.

As the area is prone to drought, the outside features a ‘desert garden’ – the contrasting red stone and green cacti compliment the meranti shutters to create harmony in the outdoor space.

You can book a stay at The Boat House via

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