IN PICTURES | Ultra-mod meets farmhouse chic in this Cape home
A decision to focus on quality of life led James and Clare Templeton to build their dream house in the coastal village of Noordhoek
Fifty years ago, Noordhoek, near Cape Town, was a valley known more for its fertile farmlands than anything else. Since then, the growth of a community of people seeking a semi-rural environment and a lifestyle that embraces mountains and sea has made it a popular place to put down roots.
The area attracted James and Clare Templeton for these reasons. The couple had been living in Johannesburg and moving to the Western Cape meant they could breathe a little. "James always said one day he'd move to Cape Town and since he's crazy about the sea and riding his bike on mountain-side roads, it made sense," says Clare, who loves that they can see the brilliant turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Noordhoek beach from their new home.
Clare and James are something of an anomaly. They loved their home which was built from start to finish, even managing to celebrate their wedding during the year-long process. "We're so lucky. We worked with incredible people to make our home happen. I'm in awe of the professionals and craftsmen we worked with," says Clare.
An important part of their brief to architect WP Bosch was to create a two-storey home that embraced the natural surroundings. The architect and local builder, Lee Slabber, fulfilled the brief and more, demolishing the original house down to foundation level and starting again.
"When we first saw this house it was pretty darn ugly, but we knew the site was really special. There was this crazy, overgrown garden with rusted wheelbarrows. WP Bosch brought our needs and wants together beautifully with his design," says Clare, who explains that while James loves ultra-modern design, she wanted more of a farmhouse feel for their home.
Their architect managed to combine both James and Clare's desires and transformed the space into something they both felt was made for them. Aspects like the stone driveway, slate-coloured tin roof, magnificent external stone masonry and the dramatic view of garden and pool on entering the house feel delightfully old-school, while the double-volume steel windows and the monochrome palette of raw and polished cement, exposed brick, tempered steel and natural textures feels thoroughly modern and elegant.
The couple love to entertain and the kitchen forms a central part of their home. "We wanted something special that was a showpiece without being over-the-top," says Clare of the central island made of a single piece of tempered steel and an impressive slab of oak.
They also commissioned a local boat builder to design and build their kitchen cabinetry. The result is a seamless and thoughtful design. "This kitchen has seen a lot of wine," says Clare with a laugh.
And while it's clear that the Templetons have an eye for beautiful things, comfort is also an important factor in their lives. The living area is an informal space, with a huge low-slung sofa ideal for marathon TV sessions and the inside living area flows easily onto the outside patio, effectively doubling the living space in the summer months.
"We worked with local landscaping legend Tone Alexander, who helped create our garden. We love how peaceful it is," says Clare. Like many of the contractors and service providers the Templetons worked with, Tone has become a friend. "He arrived on our first night with Champagne and a chocolate cake."
While the downstairs half of the couple's home is all about work and play (a wine cellar and glassed-in office were two essentials in the brief to WP), the upstairs zone is all about breathing out and private time. Perhaps it's the sea view, the soft jute carpeting or the oversized master bedroom and matching monochrome bathroom (the sleek black bath is a beauty) that make the serenity palpable.
Patches of afternoon light fall in just the right places; a gigantic leather upholstered bed in the master bedroom begs to be leapt on, and here and there a cat stretches in repose. It's no wonder the Templetons love spending time together in their new home.
And it's also no surprise that they have a steady stream of house guests. "We love having people to stay. Our Joburg friends and family love it too and they can see exactly why we've moved to the Cape," says Clare, whose enthusiasm for her new life and home, with her new husband, is absolutely evident.
"The reason I think our home ended up being perfect for us is because, despite our constant stream of ideas and being on site just about every day, WP kept encouraging us to stick with our earliest thoughts of what we wanted, and it worked. We feel it's a perfect balance of style and comfort and we couldn't be happier."