Stoeps Six stylish out­door en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas

One thing’s for sure, South Africans love the out­doors and mak­ing the most of this so­cia­ble space – what­ever the weather!

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[1] Room with a view

Those who’ve had the priv­i­lege of con­gre­gat­ing around Is­abella Niehaus’s ta­ble at her home on the West Coast know that this stoep is the ideal place to for­get all your trou­bles. This is where she serves heaps of de­li­cious oys­ters and chilled cham­pagne while guests revel in their sur­round­ings.

The “Long Ta­bles on the Dune” are an in­sti­tu­tion that Bella, as she is known by many, be­gan six years ago when she swapped the bright city lights for the peace and quiet of the sea­side. “Exchanging all my branded high heels, frocks and sun­glasses for a long T-shirt dress and slip-slops wasn’t just a ma­jor de­ci­sion, it was a pre­med­i­tated choice!” she writes in her blog.

The stoep, with its epic views of the At­lantic Ocean, is any­thing but pre­ten­tious, thanks to a sim­ple ce­ment floor and weath­ered balau deck. The floor of the stoep on the up­per level serves as a par­tial roof, but oth­er­wise it’s com­pletely open.

Why it works…

Stack­ing doors that fold open along the 12m length of this stoep give new mean­ing to the term ‘in­side out’. “The stoep is lit­er­ally an ex­ten­sion of the liv­ing room,” says Bella. “There’s no di­vi­sion be­tween in­doors and out, and the en­tire space forms one large liv­ing room and en­ter­tain­ment area. Some­times, we drag all the liv­ing room fur­ni­ture out onto the stoep, while the rest of the fur­ni­ture stays out­side all year round.”

Bella de­scribes her dé­cor style as sim­ple, earthy and eclec­tic. “Most of my fur­ni­ture is old; I’ve had it for years,” she says. “Ev­ery now and then, I’ll have a chair painted or re­uphol­stered. The turquoise chair stood in my garage for a long time; af­ter I’d painted it, I had it cov­ered with flo­ral fab­ric from Mi­tat. I also love putting to­gether dif­fer­ent pieces of fab­ric and giv­ing a chair my own unique look.” What does Bella en­joy most about her stoep? “The view, of course, and the

sound of the ocean!”

[2] Farm flair

Cobus and Liesl’s rus­tic stoep in Prince Al­bert never fails to arouse a sense of nos­tal­gia for ru­ral life, even if you’ve never lived on a farm! At the same time, this space has a con­tem­po­rary feel and fea­tures all the ameni­ties nec­es­sary in a modern en­ter­tain­ment area.

“Be­cause the house dates back to 1904 and her­itage reg­u­la­tions ap­ply to this prop­erty, we were only al­lowed to build onto the back of our home,” says Liesl. “The front stoep is orig­i­nal and thanks to Prince Al­bert’s her­itage com­mit­tee, as well as the ex­cel­lent skills of lo­cal ar­chi­tect Kurt Buss and builder Hen­drik de Vil­liers, our new back stoep also per­fectly com­ple­ments our home.”

The team worked metic­u­lously to blend the new stoep with the orig­i­nal cor­ru­gated-iron roof and, typ­i­cal of a Ka­roo house, it boasts a reed ceil­ing and sim­ple ce­ment floor. >>

Why it works…

The stoep is an ex­ten­sion of the liv­ing ar­eas: the lounge, din­ing room and kitchen all open onto it and it flows seam­lessly to the swim­ming pool and out­build­ings in the back­yard.

It’s not just the clever lay­out that makes this stoep spe­cial – the fur­ni­ture and dé­cor have been put to­gether with great care to cre­ate an au­then­tic farm feel. “I sup­pose I’d de­scribe my style as ‘eclec­tic Ka­roo’,” says Liesl. “I spent three years col­lect­ing in­ter­est­ing pieces that tell a story. A de­gree of play­ful­ness and a sense of hu­mour are also im­por­tant to me; I had fun with el­e­ments like the man­nequin which now serves as a coa­track (see right).”

[3] Jun­gle fever

JC and Wim’s stoep cre­ates a nat­u­ral tran­si­tion be­tween the house and gar­den, per­fect for their “in­doorout­door life­style” in the heart of Jo­han­nes­burg.

“When the stack­ing doors are wide open, it’s one mas­sive area, in­clud­ing the liv­ing room, din­ing room, kitchen and en­trance hall, as well as a spare room that opens out onto the ad­join­ing deck,” ex­plains JC.

Although the stoep is lo­cated in front of the house, it’s com­pletely pri­vate as JC and Wim’s home is sit­u­ated on a pan­han­dle stand. Thanks to big trees, the stoep is also well-shel­tered.

A large 10-seater din­ing ta­ble and stack­able chairs made of light­weight steel en­sure that there’s al­ways enough room for guests; these chairs are stored out­side per­ma­nently.

The con­crete floors cre­ate a con­tem­po­rary feel, while the orig­i­nal cor­ru­gated-iron roof and ceil­ing is prob­a­bly the only fea­ture that JC and Wim would like to change. “Ex­posed beams would prob­a­bly look much bet­ter!”

The stoep is a big part of our daily lives, so it has to be as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble. – Wim

The cou­ple had the ta­ble cus­tom made, while cas­tors from Builders were added to the Ch­ester­field sofa. Planter bas­kets and lanterns com­plete the pic­ture. Cane sofa and steel chairs (be­low right) from Wey­landts; server (above right) from Moroc­can House; scat­ter cush­ions from Loads of Liv­ing

Why it works…

A col­lec­tion of staghorn ferns and or­chids in the cor­ner serves as an eye-catch­ing fo­cal point. “Wim loves or­chids; it’s be­come a hobby,” says JC. “We’re al­ways buy­ing plants from all over the show.”

This liv­ing green wall echoes a strik­ing in­te­rior wall painted in Du­lux Dublin Bay 1. Along with the trees out­side, the en­tire space takes on a jun­gle feel, which is fur­ther en­hanced by a col­lec­tion of African masks.

“We ac­quired the masks on our trav­els – some­times separately and some­times to­gether – through coun­tries such as Zim­babwe, Ghana, Nige­ria, Tan­za­nia and Zam­bia,” says JC. The carved wa­ter buf­falo skull above the fire­place comes from Bali.

The stoep serves as the com­mon area for en­ter­tain­ing – ex­cept on win­ter nights when we con­gre­gate around the old fire­place in­doors! – Rosheen

[4] A coun­try re­treat

“Win­ter or sum­mer, I can spend the en­tire day on the stoep with a book and peo­ple drift­ing in and out for a meal at the ta­ble. There’s noth­ing like an af­ter­noon snooze on the couch, tea or sun­down­ers with friends and fam­ily or just a quiet game of cards or backgam­mon,” says Rosheen.

When she doesn’t stay in the orig­i­nal 1936 homestead her­self, she rents it out as hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion through Per­fect Hide­aways; guests are wel­comed by farm man­ager James Ruther­ford.

The orig­i­nal stoep has been re­fined over the years. “In re­design­ing the flow it was im­por­tant to cre­ate ac­cess to the bed­rooms. This was achieved by means of a small an­te­room lead­ing to one bed­room and a pas­sage lead­ing to an­other,” ex­plains Rosheen. “The stoep was also de­signed to ac­com­mo­date a din­ing area as well as a small and larger loung­ing area so that no mat­ter whether you feel like com­pany or a bit of peace and quiet, you can find the per­fect spot.”

Why it works…

For Rosheen it was im­por­tant that the stoep be part of both the gar­den and the house, shel­tered from the el­e­ments but ex­posed to na­ture. “The ori­en­ta­tion of the stoep keeps it pro­tected from the sun and the pre­vail­ing wind,” she says. “It’s com­fort­able all day and all year, although a cosy rug in win­ter and a ceil­ing fan in sum­mer make it even more pleas­ant.”

Strik­ing striped blinds add an el­e­gant touch to the dé­cor and pro­vide added pro­tec­tion against the el­e­ments. Rosheen de­scribes her style as “so­phis­ti­cated with a new lease on life” since most of the fur­ni­ture on the stoep was bought for pre­vi­ous homes and then moved around un­til it all fit­ted to­gether. >>

By Beatrice Moore-Nöth­nagel Pho­tographs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster, Elza Cooper, Pho­tog­ra­phy by Amora • Styling Mar­ian van Wyk, Amanda van Wyn­gaardt and Amora Eras­mus When the stoep isn’t be­ing used for en­ter­tain­ing, Bella likes to sit here and read or just gaze out to sea. Floor cush­ions from MRP Home

WHO LIVES HERE? Is­abella Niehaus WHERE Lange­baan, West Coast SIZE 36m² ORI­EN­TA­TION West

WHO LIVES HERE? Liesl Loub­ser and Cobus Wes­sels with their two Jack Rus­sells, Lira and Laya WHERE Prince Al­bert SIZE 60m² and 30m² ORI­EN­TA­TION West

WHO LIVES HERE? JC Snooke and Wim Steyn with their Weimaran­ers, Cyan and Shadow WHERE Lin­den, Jo­han­nes­burg SIZE 21m² ORI­EN­TA­TION West

The turquoise Moroc­can door from Amat­uli Ar­ti­facts is prac­ti­cal as well as strik­ing.

WHO LIVES HERE? Rosheen Kriegler WHERE Near Cal­itz­dorp, Klein Ka­roo SIZE 70m² ORI­EN­TA­TION North

The house has a thatch roof but the cor­ru­gated-iron stoep roof and reed ceil­ing matches it per­fectly. The ce­ment floor was fin­ished with a screed by a lo­cal builder who said he would “get it right” – and he did, says Rosheen.

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