This Cape Town home combines its breathtaking location with clean-lined architecture, panoramic views and considered interiors featuring a spectacular selection of contemporary designs.

Words Robyn Alexander/Bureaux Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux Production Sven Alberding

This Cape Town home combines its breathtaking location with clean-lined architecture, panoramic views and considered interiors featuring a spectacular selection of contemporary designs.

Words Robyn Alexander/Bureaux Photography Greg Cox/Bureaux Production Sven Alberding

Homes on this Cape Town cul-de-sac are not easy to come by. Situated high up on the slopes of Signal Hill and overlooking the world-renowned beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, this is probably the city’s most exclusive location, and properties aren’t regularly on the market here. The owners of this remarkable house, for example, purchased their property back in the late 1990s, following a lengthy search for just the right spot for a Cape Town home.

Situated at the end of the street, a position that means it has jaw-dropping vistas in almost every direction, the plot had a small existing house on it. However, it “didn’t take full advantage of the views that made the property so special,” say the owners. “We were attracted to the location and views that the site offered,” and so, after a lengthy process of planning and approvals, the old structure was demolished to make way for something new.

And the resulting house most definitely does showcase those superlative views – while also giving them a bit of healthy competition in terms of the visual appeal of its architecture and interiors.

On arrival at street level, one’s eye is immediately caught by the home’s intriguing facade. A boldly ‘patchworked’ raised stone pathway leads to the front door, which is handle-free and almost invisibly punctures a wall clad in smooth, warm-toned cedar wood. Above this rises a semi-transparent, intricately patterned brise soleil, created using thousands of slimline terracotta tiles.

Once inside the door, the sense that one has arrived somewhere special is continued in the entrance hall, which combines dramatic, triple-height proportions with a sculptural staircase. And before there is even time to take in the stairway and intriguing, poetic artwork applied directly to the wall alongside it, one’s attention is diverted by a sensational feather-clad polar bear sculpture, by Italian artist Paola Pivi. With additional lightbox artworks catching the eye under the stairs and a multi-strand pendant light fitting, this is a playful, impactful and gallery-like space.

Take the long staircase up into the house, and the sense of boldness and an almost theatrical atmosphere continues. At the top is an expansive, open-plan living area – but the element that immediately draws the eye here is the spectacular 180-degree view of ocean and sky that unfolds all along one side of it. Once again, the space is filled with dramatic appeal, but as much of this is derived from the breathtaking view as it is from the considered mix of contemporary furniture and art that fills it.

What the owners have achieved – both here and on the higher floors of the house – are interiors that both complement and enhance the clean lines and view-framing simplicity of the architecture. In the living area, for example, sleek Antonio Citterio sofas provide comfortable seating, but are also an ideal design selection because they don’t visually interrupt the vista to the horizon.

Also notable for their beauty here are the interior finishes and fixtures, which range from sandstone and marble to wood panelling. Throughout, the palette of natural materials chosen to complete the interiors adds a feeling of ease and luxury to the spaces, while the furnishings include a plethora of prominent names in both contemporary and classic modernist design.

Among the many highlights are modern classic pieces by Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier; sculptural contemporary chairs by Tom Dixon; elegant outdoor furniture by Patricia Urquiola; and patterned rugs from Moooi. Adding unique touches are items such as the custom-made drinks cabinet by Ceramic Matters and a ‘pixelated’ server by Cristian Zuzunaga for Barcelona Design. And the final layer takes the form of artworks that are bound to be perennial conversation starters, including an ornate bust by South African contemporary art star Athi-Patra Ruga.

There is much to divert the eye and attention from a design point of view throughout this multilevel home, but the flow of the spaces is also organised to seemingly intuitively pull you through them – and inevitably, towards the panoramic views of the ocean at its front. Of course, the pristine and picturesque mountainside above and alongside the house is suitably celebrated too. The kitchen-diner space, for example, is perfectly situated for enjoying an alfresco breakfast, where one is positioned seemingly in the midst of nature rather than being mere minutes from the urban bustle of nearby Camps Bay and Sea Point.

The owners spend their southern hemisphere summers at the house, and throughout that time, invite multiple sets of visitors to stay with them. Their spacious, open-plan home lends itself perfectly to entertaining, and sunset cocktails as well as alfresco meals, which are regularly taken in the outdoor patio area adjacent to the top-floor ‘skybar’ – as the owners say with characteristic understatement, from this vantage point, “the sunsets over the ocean are quite spectacular”.
This is a house filled with dramatic design appeal, but the loveliest element of all remains the all-natural panorama that encompasses both pristine mountainside and the bold expanse of ocean. While they appreciate and enjoy spending time in every room of their home, the owners remark that it remains a “privilege to wake in the mornings to the wonderful views”.