location: Ramsgate, South Coast Kwa-Zulu Natal | architects: Arthur Quinton Darryl Croome Architects | interior design: Cori Quinton Interiors | interior decoration: Riaan Very – Cori Quinton Interiors | photography: Karen Mc Kenzie – Kaz Mac Photography
A double-storey home with efficient use of the steeply sloping site was the result. It reveals different textures and building materials: incorporating granite, stone, stainless steel and aluminium; a mélange that was subsequently expanded to include off-shutter concrete and limited timber applications, which were intended to be self-weathering.
Low-maintenance – particularly necessary due to the dramatically corrosive atmosphere – was a prerequisite. Kitchen, dining and living was interconnected in an open-plan format, yet as clearly defined spaces with their own character, and a separate screened-off TV room was included. The pool area, with spill-over surface to the sea view, has an alfresco cooking facility closely linked to the kitchen. This seamless flow from interior to exterior echoes the relaxed south-coast lifestyle.
Bedroom accommodation began with four bedrooms, with en suite bathrooms, to cater for guests. This was changed during construction to allow for an alternate family living area on the upper floor by eliminating one bedroom suite; thus, three bedrooms were deemed adequate. A certain level of sophistication, including electronic controls for lighting and sound, was incorporated.
Simplicity in the landscape design, with special emphasis on an indigenous and self-sustaining garden inspired the clients to become more directly involved. Their resourceful approach is epitomised in the collection of driftwood recovered from the coast after the recent cyclonic storms: e.g. tree trunks in the landscaped courtyard and ‘tree sculptures’ in the garden. The courtyard brings a natural climatic control to the house; and to date, air-conditioning has not been necessary – a particularly unusual omission for this area. Solar heating was installed, as was a double garage and staff quarters.
Says the architect: ‘Our design approach was to develop a defined central axis from which circulation was efficient and clear. It leads from a welcoming gazebo entrance, across a pond – which flows through to the courtyard – via a double-volume entrance to the pool and sea views beyond. The fluidity of the internal spaces is complemented by unique furnishings, which allow for different experiences.’
Interior Comment: The interconnected spaces of the house demanded a level of continuity throughout the interior. This was achieved by starting with a lighter colour palette of naturals and creams in the formal lounge and progressing to pewter, taupe and bronzer shades of brown in other areas of the house. Marble floors and walnut joinery made for a sophisticated back-drop to the furnishings; while the colours of the ocean and the darker more dramatic shades of the rocks – which are such an important and integral part of the milieu – can be recognised as subtle accents in the décor.
The liberal use of heavily textured textiles, off-set against luminous and metallic fabrics, infuses the neutral colour palette with interest and depth. Reflective surfaces like glass and polished stainless steel diffuse the solidity of the furniture and reinforce a feeling of lightness.
Although most of the furniture and accessories in the house were custom-designed, a few bespoke pieces were included. A steel table with a laser-cut motif, which was powder-coated with a metallic paint, takes centre stage in the TV room and a spectacular seaweed artwork in relief aluminium by Bronze Age was placed in the lounge.