Nova Constantia Rural/City Living

HomeResidentialNova Constantia Rural/City Living

This beautiful site opens up onto the Buitenverwachting Wine Estate and overlooks the most magnificent vineyards presided over by the Constantiaberg, part of Table Mountain, in the north-west.

With our Design motto of “Honesty in Architecture” the option to replicate the area’s heritage Cape Dutch styles was not an option. The concept was to simplify the design so as not to compete with the existing heritage styles nearby. Around the vineyards are a mishmash of housing styles and not wanting to add to this, we opted for a neutral design with natural timber materials.

The property’s owner is passionate about Koi and special attention was given in the hardscaping and subsequent layout of the garden to ensure that the water feature, timber deck walkway, bridge, and swimming pool merge into the existing landscape background.


Because of her history in the creative industry, we had a relationship with a very creative two-way flow of energy between client and architect’ – especially regarding the interior.


The design and planning of the house was not without its challenges that included:

  • Major views towards the west that if designed with large unprotected windows would cause considerable heat gain inside the house. ‘To prevent this large overhangs, balconies, shutters, sun screens (brise soleil), and double glazing was used in the design of the house. Existing trees were kept as much as possible to protect the house against the western sun and at least 3 full sized trees were planted. An added advantage was that the sun sets behind the mountains, effectively cutting out much of the light from the setting sun.’
  • Drainage – the water table on the site is very high and the soil has a high clay content. Therefore the best solution was to build the house (including pool) built on concrete piles with ground beams designed by the engineer. Various agricultural drains were installed to drain the high water table.


Noticeable upon entry into the hallway is the cantilevered staircase from a contrasting sun dried clay brick wall on the left.

Another cantilevered element is outside above the driveway where the walkway to the front door is covered by a hardwood entrance pergola supported against two walls and suspended from a single steel mast with 13mm stainless steel rigging cable. Because of the odd entrance position from the street, the challenge was to lead the pedestrian naturally to the front door.

All balustrades were custom designed with alternating stainless and hardwood stanchions, stainless steel cables and wide hardwood rails.



Given the effective use of natural light inside the home, which also ensures that the views to the north and the west remain visible at all times, a number of additional sustainability features were incorporated:

  • Sun panels were installed on the roof for the heating of domestic hot water supply in tanks, space heating facilitated by under floor water pipes in all rooms, and pool heating via a heat exchanger with the excess hot water.
  • Double glazing was installed throughout.
  • Sun screens (brise soleil) and balconies were installed above windows and doors.
  • LED lamps were installed throughout the project.
  • An additional layer of insulation, over and above SANS requirements, was installed in the roof space.
  • Motion sensors were installed in bathrooms to minimise use of lights.
  • Closed combustion fire places were installed for additional space heating.