An in­flu­en­tial Jo­han­nes­burg­based ex­ec­u­tive has fash­ioned a dy­namic hide­away high above the wa­ters of Cape Town’s Llan­dudno


If Jo­han­nes­burg is this Cameroo­nian-born busi­ness con­sul­tant and home­owner’s yin, then Cape Town is his yang. The for­mer is the nu­cleus of his fre­netic work life; the lat­ter, his co­coon, of sorts – a source of calm and re­lease. It was crit­i­cal, then, that the hol­i­day home he bought four years ago in the cove of Llan­dudno in the Mother City be the ul­ti­mate em­bod­i­ment of slow liv­ing. Perched high up on the moun­tain­side, edged by boul­ders and fyn­bos, the mul­ti­level res­i­dence that stands here to­day bears lit­tle re­sem­blance to the house that the owner viewed on his first visit to the site. Where the orig­i­nal turned in­wards, the ren­o­vated house un­folds to the out­side, breath­ing it in. ‘What struck me when I saw the old prop­erty was the up­stairs area,’ he says. ‘It was all closed up, with ab­so­lutely no views, and I re­mem­ber think­ing how amaz­ing it would be if we opened up that space.’

Asked to do just that, Bo­max Ar­chi­tects has suc­cess­fully made the ex­tra­or­di­nary vis­tas the hero of the home. Thanks to an abun­dance of glass, there isn’t a cor­ner of Belles Vues, as the house has been named, that doesn’t look out onto at least a slice of the blue ex­panse beyond – even the main bed­room’s open-plan bath­room be­comes one with the seascape by con­nect­ing to a spec­tac­u­lar out­door shower. And if you hap­pen to be faced away from the curl of beach be­low, you can still take in sights of a dif­fer­ent kind, as clerestory win­dows and glass in­serts make the rocky slope be­hind the prop­erty part of the fur­nish­ings.

This pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the set­ting hasn’t meant that the in­te­ri­ors were ne­glected, how­ever. Adam Court of Okha De­sign & In­te­ri­ors has trans­formed the struc­ture into a quiet cel­e­bra­tion of its owner’s char­ac­ter and in­ter­ests. The owner, in Court’s words, ‘em­bod­ies mod­ern Africa’, and the decor pays trib­ute to the con­ti­nent in a min­i­mal­ist way. ‘We’ve brought it down to shape and colour, re­duc­ing the African aes­thetic to purist ge­om­e­try,’ says the de­signer. ‘We sort of zoomed in and ex­ploded the de­tail – so, it’s sub­tle, but it’s still there.’

With its in­tri­cately carved sculp­tural blocks and brass han­dle, the front door is the most note­wor­thy ref­er­ence to African craft, and it’s a thing of won­der – ‘a mon­ster to make’, says Court. Other al­lu­sions to the con­ti­nent abound, and to en­sure that the fur­ni­ture worked with the flow of the rec­ti­lin­ear prop­erty, al­most all of it was cus­tom-made by Okha De­sign & In­te­ri­ors – ‘We didn’t shop; we crafted,’ says Court. The re­sult is an el­e­gant col­lec­tion of rugs, seat­ing and ta­bles washed in earthy tones and marked with graphic etch­ings.

The home’s two tiers also ex­press dif­fer­ent as­pects of the man who re­sides here. Ac­cord­ing to Court, the owner’s ‘quiet, re­served side’ finds ex­pres­sion in the re­strained shades of the open-plan ground floor, where the for­mal lounge, din­ing area and kitchen are all lo­cated. Here, an im­mense gran­ite boul­der around which the house was built takes pride of place, and its in­trigu­ing shadow tones and textures echo through­out the lower level in Court’s choice of pale raw wood, pol­ished cop­per, pearl grey up­hol­stery and stucco plas­ter. Up­stairs, on the other hand, channels the owner’s fun, charis­matic side with bold geo­met­rics, glossy metallics and spicy or­anges in the en­ter­tain­ment zone, as well as shots of cobalt blue in the oth­er­wise neu­tral bed­room.

When asked about his favourite cor­ner of the prop­erty, the owner cites the curved out­side deck and daybed area, with its undis­turbed panorama. ‘I love how quiet it is there,’ he says. ‘The only sound is the crash­ing of the waves.’ It is the real crown­ing glory of a house that’s de­signed to be both sooth­ing and func­tional, with ev­ery de­tail of it geared to­ward the busi­ness of re­lax­ing. bo­;

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