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Misty Cliffs: Nature’s Reserve

Making the most of its mountainside coastal setting, this weekend retreat allows a busy Cape Town couple to switch off and immerse themselves in nature.

A Capetonian couple lounges poolside at their seaside home in Misty Cliffs, a conservation village 45 minutes away from the Mother City. Soaking in the sun on a deck tucked neatly into a patch of the Cape’s indigenous fynbos, the split-level balau perch is suspended from a cliff face overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s summertime and the two make the most of their weekend getaway, immersing themselves in this tranquil coastal sanctuary – a far cry from their more frenetic week life in Cape Town.

The home, set on three levels, has two bedrooms on the lowest level, and another tucked into the loft, under the A-frame reed-lined ceiling fitted with latch windows. ‘When these windows are all open, it feels like you’re on a cruise ship,’ they laugh, pointing to the ever-evolving oceanic scene outside, where Misty Cliffs’ surroundings are regularly engulfed in a mystical fog. Painted in a shade of green aptly named Cape Moss, the interior vacillates between fern, olive and pistachio hues, depending on the time of day.

The bold decision to paint all the walls and even much of the ceiling green was one of the only changes made to the original home when the couple took over. ‘It was like an old vintage Mercedes in your grandmother’s garage, with the cover still on,’ they recall of the discovery. The colour was suggested by close friend and furniture designer Gregor Jenkin. ‘He said the green would make the original yellow beechwood floors look considered,’ they explain, impressed that this turned out to be the case.

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Gregor, whose dining table and Quaker chairs make a geometric state- ment in the open-plan dining area, also created the innovative patinated and slatted steel shield that hangs from the fireplace mantel in the lounge.

Although a mix of vintage finds and local and international contemporary design pieces by the likes of Misha Kahn and Wiid Design, the style of the home is extremely considered, revealing itself as a contemporary take on a ’70’s bungalow, complete with fireside Falcon chair.

The couple’s affinity for art is obvious, too. In one bedroom a pencil drawing by Paul Edmunds hangs on the wall; in another you’ll find two Morné Visagie colour-testing paper collages. Additional visual artistic cues are dotted throughout, such as a glass-cast sculpture by Rowan Smith, resembling a broken brick, which stands atop a book in the loft, creating a rainbow of reflection across a rug made entirely of silk saris.

Situated a stone’s throw away from Cape Point, the home’s garden mirrors its setting, filled with indigenous favourites such as clivias, Cape saltbush and various species of fynbos. Garden- ing has become a favourite pastime for the couple, tending to the plant life that stretches across this double plot of land, all the way down to the beach.

‘It’s quite wild,’ they admit, pointing to the natural-stone pathway that leads to the ocean. Halfway down, they’ve built another deck, this one completely hidden from view under carefully preserved trees but offering uninterrupted views of the wild waves. ‘It’s like being submerged in the mountainside,’ they say, speaking of plans to build a hot tub here, the antithesis of the icy Atlantic in which the couple is currently learning to surf. ‘We engage with the ocean more than the beach,’ they admit. Together with their dogs, they enjoy the ocean vista provided by hikes in this coastal mountain range.

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No matter the day’s activity, every weekend results in some form of kitchen experiment, often shared with an intimate group of friends.‘The house is small, but it opens up very well,’ they say, gesturing toward the decks and balconies that protrude from every bedroom. Sunday brunch is a favourite for such gatherings, serving produce fresh from Saturday’s morning market or Foragers Deli in Scarborough.

It’s the simple life that makes this home come alive: fire-making, sun- lounging, garden-pruning. ‘Home feels like a nature reserve,’ they state. ‘It’s our retreat.’

By Lynn Chemaly


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