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Glory in deep south

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When Nicole and her son moved to Fish Hoek from Sea Point, she found the views were even better

After raising her six-year-old son Matthew alone in a 53m² apartment she owned in Sea Point, public relations communication manager Nicole Chamberlin was hunting for a home with a bedroom for him.

“It was frustrating and heartbreaking to see him live in the lounge,” she says. “I’d given up my bedroom for him until he was four, but took it back again with my sleep disturbed by my wandering nocturnal cats seeking adventure on Signal Hill.

“I found Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Green Point and Camps Bay way beyond my reach, which left me with the southern suburbs and False Bay area.

“Seeing as we spent many weekends in Hout Bay and Noordhoek, I focused on Noordhoek, thinking I could transfer Matthew from Reddam Atlantic to Reddam Steenberg.

“I put my name down with more than 26 estate agents, spent hours scanning property at weekends, driving up almost every road in Noordhoek while Matthew napped. My budget was maximum R3.5million, but prices escalated rapidly last year, with many asking close to the R4m mark.

“I extended my search into Fish Hoek, connecting with just one agent, Lorraine Webb of Fine & Country, who made me her pet project. I fell in love with the bay, the array of beaches on the doorstep, better views than I’d had in Sea Point and a casual, friendly neighbourhood. I couldn’t ask for a better suburb for my son to grow up in.

Nicole Chamberlin and her son Matthew. Picture: Nicole Chamberlin

“And voila, one Saturday morning I walked into the most magnificent home up on the mountain. I stepped into the lounge, saw that view and was sold. I ran downstairs to see the bedrooms and both had views. I made an offer the next day, in person, to the owners with tears in my eyes.”

Nicole and Matthew live with two elderly cats, Jewel and Romeo, two three-month old kittens named Tears, Versace and Merlin, and two tortoises, Giorgio and Armani.

What did the home look like when you bought it, compared to now?

It was old-fashioned – curtains, carpets and furniture they had left. I changed the curtains in my first month. The wooden windows, sliding door frames and doors were an antique orange. In my second month last August I got to work, painting them chocolate brown myself at weekends. I want to change the sunroom into a laid-back music lounge with wooden floors and glass windows. It’ll be the hub of the home.

What other changes do you plan?

First I’ll rip up the old carpets and lay wooden floors throughout the home except for the lounge – to keep that winter warm feeling – and bedrooms.

Did you work with an interior designer?

I’m still researching couches. I’m on the hunt for a stunning L-shape and have my eye on one. Just a tad bit more budgeting and it’s mine. Next up is a dining room table where we can eat as a family, instead of wolfing down food on bar stools in the kitchen. Even though I’m addicted to home decor magazines, I will enlist the skills of a professional interior designer.

I am a futurist and can visualise the end result. I see it turning into an Italian villa, painting the outside a sea blue (which I will outsource) with the same dramatic white pillars, white gutters and chocolate shade of wooden windows. In time I envisage glass shutter doors.

My dream is to build a pool with a dramatic wooden deck and a fountain feature where the current sand bath is – that was the garden – but only when and if the water issues abate.

The main bedroom has views across False Bay to the mountains beyond. Picture: Nicole Chamberlin

What dictates your decor style?

I rely on my mum, who has built and bought homes in Switzerland, Perth, Melbourne and the Cotswolds. I can’t wait for her to crack into gear when she visits in April. My dad, a chartered account, will assist with my budget.

What things of beauty in your home please you most?

The view. It’s worth driving all the way to town each day and back. Seeing the moon rise over the ocean is a special moment.

Every time I go upstairs I look at the ocean, watch the size of the waves, how busy the beach is, the hourly changes as people canoe, sail and fish.

I take Matthew down for a daily swim and I’ve signed him up for classes at Fish Hoek Lifesaving Club on Sundays. It’s a great way meet locals.

What do you like best about your home?

Witnessing my son’s enjoyment in the home is priceless, having this huge open space to in which to play.

I can’t wait to have a beautiful outdoor patio set downstairs. Watching my cats enjoy the freedom of a fynbos garden is just wonderful.

I’m an avid gardener. With water issues my latest passion is finding succulents to plant.

We are also enjoying having instant access to the mountain right behind us.

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