Inside a Beachside Retreat in South Africa

Looking at it from the beach, it appears to be an asymmetrical box floating above solid ground, its rough-textured concrete facade wearing a stony look. Which is exactly what the homeowners and architecture firm, SAOTA were aiming for. That, and of course, creating an elegant holiday home.


The living spaces occupy the lower floor, and timber shutters screen the network of bedrooms—saving the space from the intensity of the afternoon sun. An upper-floor bedroom wing takes after the aforementioned dune, at least as far as appearances go, with a natural sand-coating finish.


Located on Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, the house plan was conceived to loyally and strictly adhere to the contours of the original dune that once stood here, with the mound toward the southern end of the site—hence the floating-box feel. Beachyhead (that’s right, a name straight out of a little kid’s fanciful imagination) seems like the archetypal holiday home with ocean views as far as the eye can see and a mountainous backdrop. Given the location, that is just what you would expect. But SAOTA chose to make it something more; an elegant capsule enclosed in stone, timber and sand-textured coating.
Beachyhead_1a_Int005_Dining_Kitchen_002_mvdbConcrete floors by Elektapainting.


Wooden floors by Original ParquetBeachyhead_1a_Int016_Bedroom_001_alBeachyhead_1a_Ext001_005_al
But what’s a beach house if it doesn’t exploit location to maximum effect? Not much of one, and Beachyhead doesn’t make the mistake of not taking advantage of its very advantageous site. Its asymmetric structure has made the southern end of the house higher than the northern one. And SAOTA sculpted a vertical opening between both ends, creating a column for light to filter through into the heart of the interior spaces. “Stairs are delicately suspended within this carved opening, also allowing views through it and [are] lit from a skylight above,” explains architect Phillippe Fouché.


Then there are the ocean views, accessed from most of the rooms in the house—the bedrooms, the bathrooms (thanks to small skylights), the entertainment terrace and the column-free living room. Large mirror surfaces at the ends of the rooms further accentuate the space and strategically reflect the outdoors.
And when the homeowners don’t want to spend time gawking at the views, there is enough to keep one distracted: A game room and an audio-visual room located in a stone plinth. That leads out to the lower-level terrace with a pool and a tanning deck for a lazy day. What more would you need for that perfect vacation?

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