ES COURTESY OF HAFARY House Of EARTH AND SKY

ES COURTESY OF HAFARY House Of EARTH AND SKY

A house on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard challenges the conventional approach typical of most of its neighbours, at once deferential to the natural beauty of its setting, and friendlier to people on the Street.

AT A GLANCE

LOCATION Clifton, Cape Town

FRONT DOOR The front door sets the tone for the interiors, combining beautifully cast off-shutter concrete with timber shutters. Rather than presenting a barrier, the detailed woodwork on the door creates a sense of texture and interest that is inviting.

ES COURTESY OF HAFARY House Of EARTH AND SKY Photo Gallery

When you walk along Kloof Road in Clifton along Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, there’s one house where the joggers, dog walkers, strollers and others slow down, stop and gather for a chat, or pause to look more than the others. “Clifton doesn’t have the typical suburban setup where people just drive. There’s a lot of foot traffic and people use the sidewalks,” says architect Jan-Heyn Vorster of this seaside South African neighbourhood.
ES COURTESY OF HAFARY House Of EARTH AND SKY

ENTRANCE HALL A double volume atrium forms the entrance hall of Jan-Heyn and Pieter’s home. The rooms are comfortably arranged around it, with no long passages or rambling connections, so that the home seems intimate and contained. The floating staircase leads down to the guest suite, wine cellar and services, and up to the bedrooms.

Jan-Heyn and his partner Pieter Bruwer built the house specifically with the hope that it would be friendlier to the street than the blank, overpowering mansions typically seen in the neighbourhood. The houses in the area tend to follow a fairly predictable formula: get up as high as you can and face the sea view, and build as big as you can according to real-estate logic.

“They are built from left to right, the full width of the site to maximise the views,” says Jan-Heyn.

They typically have no garden – just a deck and a swimming pool outside. For all the beauty of those ocean views, however, Jan-Heyn points out that the houses all face west, so they tend to be uncomfortably exposed to the harsh afternoon sun.

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