THE BIRD'S NEST
Perched on a hillside in Cape Town woodland, this treehouse-inspired home offers its owner peace, tranquillity and beautiful views of Table Mountain
Cape Town is a city where you feel a strong connection
with the natural world. From its high mountains to its wild beaches, the South African capital has a temperate climate and a laid-back lifestyle. It is here, on a plot of mature woodland in the upmarket neighbourhood of Constantia, that businessman Graham Paarman commissioned architecture firm Malan Vorster to design a home that would make the most of the area’s scenery. Completed in March, following a three-year design and build project, the three-storey, 126-square-metre property is a raised, architecturally striking design inspired by treehouses. ‘Despite being just a ten minute drive from the city centre, it has a wonderful rural feel about it,’ says Graham.
Built on one of the highest inclines on the plot, the new house sits beautifully in the surrounding woodland and grasses thanks to a red cedar-clad exterior and slim legs made of tough Corten steel, which has a weathered, natural finish. ‘ We wanted the house to blend in to the backdrop, not stand out,’ says architect Pieter Malan. Inside, the first floor is an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area with a small balcony that frames amazing views of Table Mountain: it’s the perfect spot for breakfast. The doubleheight glass doors slide apart, so that two-thirds of the room is open to the outdoors. ‘There are no conventional walls in the house,’ says Pieter. ‘ Your eye is constantly drawn outside. This makes the space feel larger than it really is and it’s very serene inside. You feel like you’re floating in the treetops.’
As you ascend the winding wooden staircase to the bedroom and bathroom on the second floor and the top-floor terrace, the treehouse design comes into its own. The bedroom has a raised bed surrounded by curved wooden walls, creating the sensation of being cradled by the branches of the trees. ‘I spend a lot of time in here,’ says Graham. ‘It’s a privilege to be woken by birdsong and the sound of squirrels clambering over the house, and to be able to see the amazing sunrises over the mountains.’
Naturally, wood is a key material throughout the interior, and furniture is kept neutral and understated – this design is all about allowing the natural world to have the upper hand. Graham likens his home to a cocoon and says that living here has had a big impact on his life. ‘The house has had a transformative effect on my lifestyle. It’s a sanctuary that’s far removed from the noise and disruption of daily life,’ he explains. With the South African summer fast approaching, he’s already making plans to enjoy the space with friends. ‘I’m looking forward to entertaining on the terrace, indulging in one of our local white wines, enjoying the sunshine and the views of the mountains in the distance,’ he says.
Living area The open-plan first floor has a galley-style ‘Sine Tempore’ kitchen by Valcucine. Copper taps from Vola add a modern accent to the natural wooden finish. The ‘Groundpiece’ sofa is by Flexform, as is the ‘Guscio Soft’ lounge chair and ottoman (try Aram Store in the UK). The square ‘G3’ metal-and-marble coffee table and the copper ‘ Wander’ standing lamp are both by Roche Bobois. For a similar wood-burning stove try Chesney’s Stockist details on p205 ➤
‘IT’S A PRIVILEGE TO BE WOKEN BY BIRDSONG AND THE SOUND OF SQUIRRELS CLAMBERING OVER THE HOUSE’