Summertime bliss A home that provides an ‘away from it all’ escape
WITH ITS SPECTACULAR OCEAN OUTLOOK, THIS CLIFFTOP HOLIDAY HOME PROVIDES THE ULTIMATE ‘AWAY FROM IT ALL’ ESCAPE FOR ITS OWNER
Every time Kearnon arrives at his holiday home, he jumps into the pool and, within moments, feels a million miles away from his busy life. It could be the salty ocean air, the cool stone floors under bare feet – or the fact that he is literally 12,000km away from New York, a city he has called home for the last 20 years. For South African-born Kearnon, this gorgeous abode overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town is both a vacation retreat and a physical anchor to the country of his birth. “I split my time between New York and Cape Town,” he says. Set on a 1500 square metre plot amidst huge granite boulders, the home hugs the contour of a cliff with a 45-degree gradient, 35 metres up from street level. “When I first saw this property I was drawn to the natural landscape and topography of the site,” says Kearnon. “It reminded me of a residential suburb a little further along this stretch of coastline, where I grew up.” While the clifftop setting is impressive, when Kearnon bought the property 10 years ago it wasn’t without its challenges – guests were required to use a funicular to get to the home from the street, and access to the swimming pool from the living areas was tricky, with an eight-metre drop off from the lounge. “We had to work out how to get people down there without the need for a ladder,” says Kearnon. The 1960s house was also far from resort-style. “It was old, kooky and oriented to the north, with not a window or door to the west and south where all the views and total privacy lay,” he says. “The internal flow was also off, with lots of small rooms, poor light and awkward spaces.” Kearnon’s plans to demolish and rebuild anew were thwarted by the economic realities of the site, together with a gnawing discomfort at the soulless new builds that had come to define the neighbourhood. “I started to become a lot more comfortable with the quirky charm and soul of the original ’60s house,” he says. With the help of his close friend and interior designer Tara Bean, and the assistance of architect Antonio Zaninovic, he decided to work with what he had and make it better. “The gigantic boulders on the site were a huge part of the initial attraction for me,” says Kearnon. So much so that when he finally renovated two years ago, they became central to the home’s redesign, which included a re-configuration of the spaces and large windows to make them a feature. Today, the property comprises a central living space and a guest bedroom downstairs, while upstairs there are more bedrooms, two with their own ensuites and private balconies. An outdoor dining and barbecue area, along with another guest suite, sits just below the main house while a fourth level is home to the pool and another guest zone. The final challenge for the team was street access. “We spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get people up to the house, if not by funicular,” says Tara. In the end, Kearnon commissioned a local craftsman to build a passageway and stairs that lead straight through two massive, rough-hewn rocks – a beautiful match to a home that sits elegantly in its stunning landscape.
“THERE WAS A GREAT deal of trust AS I WAS IN NEW YORK AND TARA WAS BASED IN CAPE TOWN” ~ KEARNON
KITCHEN Before the home’s renovation, the kitchen was a cramped and closed-in room with outdated cabinetry. Today, it’s a stylish open-plan space with a window that treats the site’s granite boulders as artwork. “We chose teal as we wanted a colour...