Se­cure coastal liv­ing at its best

Michelle Swart finds out more about the first homes built at Ken­ton Eco Es­tate

Business Day - Home Front - - KENTON ECO ESTATE -

CON­STRUC­TION con­tin­ues at Ken­ton Eco Es­tate, a blue chip, 230ha beach­front es­tate near Ken­ton on Sea, with the first two homes now com­pleted and own­ers tak­ing up res­i­dence this month.

Chris Swart, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the es­tate, points out that in­vest­ing in a home in a se­cure, unique es­tate such as this has nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing the po­ten­tial for sound cap­i­tal ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

“Se­cure es­tate liv­ing in SA had its ad­vent in the mid 1980s when the first golf es­tates were pro­claimed. To­day these es­tates are com­monly recog­nised as se­cure town­ships, of­fer­ing unique life­styles cou­pled with the fact that real es­tate val­ues are of­ten con­sid­er­ably higher for homes lo­cated within these es­tates. The vi­sion of se­cure coastal liv­ing, with all the ad­van­tages of ecofriendly con­struc­tion and liv­ing, gave rise to the Ken­ton Eco Es­tate.

“This project rep­re­sents a to­tal in­vest­ment of about R1,2bn, in­clud­ing homes to be built. It in­cludes ser­vices in ex­cess of R100m, as well as a R6m gate­house, which is a dou­ble­storey build­ing of 400m² with spa­cious fa­cil­i­ties.

“The gate­house, perime­ter se­cu­rity fence — with in­frared dome cam­eras, mo­tion sen­sors and de­tec­tors — and bound­ary wall, board­walks and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture have all been com­pleted to the high­est stan­dards,” says Swart.

Michael Wil­mot, Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties area prin­ci­pal in Ken­ton-on-Sea and mar­keters of the es­tate, says the newly com­pleted show house is in an el­e­vated po­si­tion with sweep­ing 180 views of the ocean, coastal dunes and rolling hills in­land.

“With ex­ten­sive decks and glazed fa­cades, this res­i­dence is ide­ally lo­cated for view­ing the in­dige­nous game and bird life, both from the up­per floor bed­rooms and the ground floor liv­ing ar­eas. While ef­fi­cient and func­tional, this lux­ury home meets all the re­quire­ments of the eco es­tate,” says Wil­mot.

In de­sign­ing the show house, the ar­chi­tect’s vi­sion was to merge the build­ings with the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment rather than al­low it to dom­i­nate the site. This has been achieved by po­si­tion­ing the sin­gle-storey garages on the high­est point of the stand, with the dou­ble-storey dwelling lower down, and by con­nect­ing the two with low­pitched hipped roofs with Dutch gables and deep over­hangs.

Wa­ter tanks and pumps are hid­den be­hind stone-clad walling be­neath the decks and house to min­imise their vis­ual im­pact, as well as re­duce the ex­tent of cut and fill on site.

Nat­u­ral colours, ma­te­ri­als and el­e­ments, such as the paint colour, stone cladding, wa­ter and tim­ber deck­ing, are used to en­hance the con­nec­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment and re­duce the vis­ual im­pact on the land­scape.

The use of nat­u­ral colours and ma­te­ri­als con­tin­ues in­doors, with neu­tral til­ing, peb­ble shower floors and stone fire­place de­tail­ing, with light-coloured paints en­hanc­ing nat­u­ral light.

The ar­chitecht says the home has been de­signed to en­sure max­i­mum use can be made of rooms and spa­ces dur­ing all sea­sons and weather con­di­tions, with the liv­ing room open­ing on to a deck and a shel­tered court­yard, and all bed­rooms open­ing on to the bal­cony.

The de­sign of the build­ing cre­ates strongly de­fined pri­vate and pub­lic spa­ces, and in­ti­mate and open ar­eas.

The ap­proach to the house is through a se­cure, cov­ered en­trance gate po­si­tioned be­tween the dou­ble garages and open­ing into a fully en­closed court­yard.

The grand dou­ble-vol­ume en­trance lobby po­si­tioned op­po­site on this cen­tral axis, serves as both the cen­tral cir­cu­la­tion point and the di­vid­ing space be­tween the pri­vate up­stairs and the more pub­lic down­stairs. This ac­cen­tu­ates the grandeur of the spa­ces to be ex­pe­ri­enced through­out the home, says the ar­chi­tect.

The use of el­e­vated door and win­dow heights ac­cen­tu­ates the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the in­doors and the out­doors, which is fur­ther em­pha­sised through the high ceil­ings and corner slid­ers in the bed­rooms and liv­ing ar­eas. The grand dou­ble-vol­ume en­trance is a strik­ing fea­ture and cen­tral point that ac­cen­tu­ates the grandeur of the spa­ces through­out the home, while el­e­vated door and win­dow heights and high ceil­ings em­pha­sise the spa­cious pro­por­tions.

Wil­mot says to date stands to a to­tal value of R170m have been sold, mainly to lo­cal buy­ers. At present, 100 of the to­tal of 330 stands are avail­able for pur­chase on the es­tate.

They are priced from R500 000 to R1,65m, and each mea­sures about 850m².

“The ap­peal­ing life­style of this devel­op­ment is a key fac­tor for buy­ers. This is cou­pled with sound in­vest­ment po­ten­tial, fur­ther boosted by the re­cent in­ter­est-rate re­duc­tion,” he says.

Lo­cated within reach of Port Al­fred and Gra­ham­stown, the es­tate in­cor­po­rates 2,15km of beach frontage with pri­vate board­walks to the beach, 160ha of dense coastal for­est, and 70ha of dune for­est — all with free move­ment of game.

The em­pha­sis is on sound eco-build­ing prac­tices, such as so­lar gey­sers, in­dige­nous plant­ing af­ter con­struc­tion and the use of sus­tain­able lo­cal ma­te­ri­als, while sites for homes are dis­creetly po­si­tioned within en­claves of nat­u­ral bush and grass­land.

From an eco per­spec­tive, the ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign style — cre­ated by ar­chi­tects FD Theron — ad­vo­cates the use of only sus­tain­able lo­cal ma­te­ri­als that over time will build up an at­trac­tive patina to blend with the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion. The only for­mal gar­dens will be in the court­yard ar­eas in or­der to pre­serve as much nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion as pos­si­ble and main­tain the in­tegrity of the paths and spa­ces used by the wild an­i­mals in the area. The de­sign guide­lines in­cor­po­rate only in­dige­nous plant­ing in or­der to min­imise ir­ri­ga­tion and un­nec­es­sary ex­pen­di­tures of en­ergy re­serves, while street lights are of the bol­lard-type soft light­ing that min­imises light pol­lu­tion.

Rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing is also en­cour­aged, and in ad­di­tion to the so­lar gey­sers the lay­out of the houses fol­lows a pas­sive de­sign that takes ad­van­tage of lo­cal con­di­tions. The es­tate also in­cludes its own state-of-the-art, cus­tom-made, wa­ter­borne sew­er­age plant.

Says Wil­mot: “In ad­di­tion to the tem­per­ate cli­mate, Ken­ton on Sea is a growth area with in­creas­ing eco­tourism and has a good in­fra­struc­ture. The new Rose­hill shop­ping com­plex in Port Al­fred and top ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties in Gra­ham­stown add to the ap­peal, while Addo Ele­phant Na­tional Park and Big 5 game re­serves — such as Shamwari and Kar­iega Park — are within easy reach.

“In­creas­ingly, we are see­ing home buy­ers choos­ing to opt out of life in busy cities to en­joy a bet­ter qual­ity of life, while com­mut­ing to work. Ken­ton Eco Es­tate, be­sides a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, is ideal for these pur­poses,” says Wil­mot.

The es­tate in­cor­po­rates walk­ing, jog­ging and cy­cling paths, while other ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude wa­ter sports, fish­ing, whale-watch­ing and horse trails.

A scenic view from one of the com­pleted homes at Ken­ton Eco Es­tate.

One of the com­pleted homes at Ken­ton Eco Es­tate.

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