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Modernist Sanctuary

Mar 26, 2019 | Featured, Home

Making the most of the spectacular sea and mountain views from this Atlantic Seaboard house was at the top of the owners’ list when they decided to redesign it

TEXT Debbie Loots PHOTOGRAPHS Johan Lourens

It doesn’t get much more idyllic than this: high up in wind-free Fresnaye, with endless views across the Atlantic Ocean and Lion’s Head. A magnificent setting, the owners agreed; it’s just that the 30-year-old property needed a major transformation. They wanted the house with its small rooms and small windows turned into a modern open-plan sanctuary with cosy spaces and quality finishes, a home where they could work and relax.

The owners approached architect Mark Zuckerman to do the major redesign, but when renovations started the mountainous terrain and working within the existing structure of the house proved to be challenging. Mark explains: “We had to keep the roof in place while jack-hammering out concrete slabs. Programming the structural changes to the building was of utmost importance, as the footprint is not huge. This made sequencing really important.”

Another major feat was the substantial excavation at the back of the house, which eventually saw a unique steel staircase in a glass box go up to link the ground floor with the top floor. “It was really worth it,” says Mark. “Across two floors, the staircase affords lovely views of the garden, the mountain and the sea.”

Today, the completed house with its wooden floors and automated music and lights features three en-suite bedrooms, a full guest suite, a gym, two studies and a pool, all set across multiple levels serviced by a lift and leading to open terraces with those beautiful sea views.

And with mongoose, guinea-fowl and a wide variety of other bird species at home in the neighbourhood, it’s little wonder the likes of President Ramaphosa and former president FW de Klerk live around the corner.

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