The wild South-African coastline is the perfect setting for this cleverly designed beach house, geared towards ultimate relaxation.
Who lives here: Caroline Maritz, a former fashion buyer and trend forecaster, now a yoga teacher; her husband Manie, and their children.
Style of home: A contemporary U-shaped beach house with six bedrooms and a pool in the centre.
There are not many places in the world where you’re guaranteed to see dolphins and whales from your own house every day. But the deep icy waters of South Africa’s Britannia Bay, an unspoiled cove with whitewashed beaches, make this the ideal playground for these charming mammals. It’s this view that Cape Town couple Caroline and Manie Maritz chose to prioritise when building their remote holiday home here. “I wanted to be able to see the ocean from wherever I stood in the house,” says Caroline, a former fashion designer, buyer and trend forecaster, who now teaches yoga.
When the couple discovered the plot more than a decade ago, Caroline’s vision for the house was so immediate she sketched the basic design for it on a scrap of paper while driving back to town after putting in the offer. “I wanted a U-shaped courtyard house, with a pool in the middle,” says Caroline. “The west coast is known for being windy, so this was a great solution but I also loved the idea of the home facing onto the pool and being able to watch everything from my kitchen, which is where you’ll usually find me because I love cooking.”
What was initially a purely practical decision has in fact had a profound impact on the way you experience the space – the kitchen and living area are edged by water on both sides as a result. The glass doors on either side open up completely, which Caroline says makes it feel you are “living on a boat”.
Architect Luke Scott was tasked with interpreting the couple’s vision, drawing on their love of simple Australian beach house designs. Luke also had to accommodate the area’s building restrictions – white walls and pitched roofs – into the design.
Durability and low-maintenance living were high on Caroline’s wishlist. “The house is built for families on holiday,” she says. “The kids can run in from the beach into the pool. All my bowls are wooden and the floors are concrete screed. When you’re relaxing, you don’t want a space you need to fuss about or worry that things will get broken.”
The house sits on an isolated 630 square-metre plot, but the entire property is decked (another solution to thwart the wind and sand). A recent addition to the home is a square ‘book nook’ that perches on the beach-fronted deck, providing a sunny sanctuary and a place where guests can retreat.
When the bad weather rolls in, Caroline says the house is an equally enchanting space to inhabit, thanks to the steel doors and windows that seal the house. “It faces north west, so when we get a winter storm the house is directly hit,” she says. “The waves look like they are going to engulf the house; the wind, thunder and lightning is incredible and wild.”
The home is designed for friends to holiday together without feeling cramped: the bedrooms are divided into separate zones. On the lower floor, there are two bedrooms and a bathroom. The floor above, where the main living area can be found, is also home to the master bedroom and bunk room. Tucked behind this, you’ll find a staircase that leads to two more bedrooms. “It’s great for weekends away as each family can have privacy,” says Caroline.
Other clever touches create memorable experiences. The fireplace, clad with sandstone bricks from Table Mountain, roars on wintery days, and it’s where everyone gathers after rambling walks on the beach. The heated outdoor shower is a much-loved feature, ideal for rinsing off after surfing or swimming. Caroline describes her retreat as “heaven”, and declares she relaxes as soon as she walks through the door. It’s easy to see why.