Thursday, May 23

Stylish, yet relaxing

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Yzerfontein proved the perfect place to build a holiday home with a comfortable feel

Owners of Cape Town Productions, a company which facilitates international photo shoots coming to Cape Town, Denise Cowburn-Levy and her husband of 27 years, Gavin, have a daughter, Kia, 20 and a son, Joshua, 16.

“I kind of stepped out of the mainstream of running the business a few years ago to follow my passion, which is cooking, and created Ginger & Lime, which offers interactive cooking experiences out of our Fresnaye home converted for the purpose, and which has extended to Yzerfontein,” says Denise.

“I discovered Yzerfontein 18 years ago, when searching the West Coast for the perfect place to build a white clapperboard house, firstly for our own family purposes, but then also as a location for photo shoots for our company.”

Denise adores the wildness of the West Coast, the simplicity and the way that time seems to stand still: “I love all the seasons out here; the powerful crashing stormy seas; then also the way the sunset colours paint the sky, long after the sun has set.”

It is light and airy. Picture: Shannon Sweetman

Yzerfontein has changed, but in a good way, Denise feels. “I like the crisp clean look and feel of the new houses springing up along the coastline. I particularly love that there are new creative businesses emerging, like our incredible artisanal bakery, quaint rustic pubs and small decor shops. The growth is creating more opportunity for expansion to cater for a new consumer.”

There are now three houses under the Beach House Collection umbrella but HOME concentrated on Thyme & Tide, which is a short walk from the beach and all its windswept glory.

How did this home realise Denise’s vision?

“I had in mind my large extended family and fabulous friends, each being able to have their own bedroom en suite to enjoy, and also secretly hoping one day it would be filled with the pitter patter of grandchildren’s feet. But seriously, one day we do hope to spend more time out there; therefore, we want to make it ‘visit and sleepover’ friendly.

“I realised having a seven-bedroom house makes it a great venue for business purposes as well.”

The main lounge area. Picture: Shannon Sweetman

What was the inspiration for the decor, style and design?

“I wanted a warmer, comfortable feel. Kick off the shoes and stretch out on the couch, and I feel these couches are so inviting for just that. The warmth of the different woods used contrasts well with the practical stark kitchen counters. I wanted the open areas to be linked but separate, so that even if the house is full you don’t feel it, as there are so many breakaway areas. I also thought to go for a more sophisticated and international feel.

I wanted to maximise the morning light by having large sliding doors opening off the main dining area and leading onto a deck which is bathed in the morning sun. I didn’t do this with the other two houses and really regret it.

Did you work with architects and/or interior designers?

I worked with Werner Slabbert at Rustic Homes (who had just bought the company from Pieter who built the first two houses), and Bobby Welman was the architect for all three. They were a pleasure to deal with and Werner has the patience of a saint. I did know exactly what I was looking for and what I wanted, so it was a matter of them making my vision work – no easy task.

Denise, Gavin and pet Goomba. Picture: Shannon Sweetman

What did you want to achieve in this space?

I wanted a space with good flow in the communal areas, with easy access to the wraparound decks. The view of course is so much part of it, and the indoor-outdoor flow. For Gavin, the main thing was to have a great braai area, therefore that space really works, with a CreteStone work surface and a prep sink.

I love how the Beach House Collection just evolved in an organic way.

What advice would you offer readers?

I would advise anyone building in an unknown area to actually try to stay there for a few days.

See where the light comes from and goes to – really important in Cape areas, where the wind blows – and how you can create special wind-free outdoor areas, as we have.

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