Restio River House / SAOTA


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch
  • Architects: SAOTA
  • Location: Pringle Bay, South Africa
  • Architects In Charge: Philip Olmesdahl, Riaz Ebrahim, Nasreen Larney & Werner Lotz
  • Consulting Engineers: Moroff & Kühne
  • Interior Designer: ARRCC and Home Owner
  • Area: 300.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

Text description provided by the architects. Perched on the banks of the Buffels River, close to its mouth in Pringle Bay – a small coastal town less than 100km from Cape Town, South Africa – this house has an easy living permanence that shakes off the salty winds and lets in the sun and the natural beauty of the surrounding indigenous vegetation and mountain valley.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

The architecture is clean and robust. It has a gravitas to it. The materials are hard wearing and resistant to the tough coastal climate and its winds that periodically sweep the bay.  The planning of this SAOTA-designed family holiday home is nuanced and sophisticated, built to fully grasp the daily rituals of holiday living.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

The individual open-plan rooms flow seamlessly, forming one extended living zone and central space. The welcoming kitchen and lounge area is at the centre, with a sofa in the kitchen large enough to seat the entire family. The living rooms have a direct relationship and the flow between these spaces add a unique dynamic to the house. A sense of mystery is created through the various spaces glimpsing each other.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

Five years of living on the property before building, presented insights to the complexities of the site. This came with an opportunity to study and carefully consider the relationship of the house to the sun in path. The house faces due north with a large stairwell that floods morning light into the kitchen area. The westerly facades of lounge and terrace look towards Cape Point, the most southerly tip of Cape Town’s False Bay, and offers fantastic haloed sunsets in the early evening.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

The character and interior architecture of the kitchen area demonstrate a fresh approach to living. With the addition of some custom made pieces from ARRCC interiors – including the sofas and dining table in neutral tones – the house is geared to the enjoyment of weekends away. There is a sophisticated eclectic mix of easy-living and comfortable furniture. Shades of white and grey fabrics are accented with original Moroccan Berber rugs and colourful kelims, complimented with solid French oak coffee tables and lacquered round timber stools. The use of soft leathers, white linens and rich textures create an immediate sense of calmness.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

A warm but playful and quirky element to the home is added with the likes of the punched brass cladding to the lounge fireplace as well as the graphic lighting installation from Flos. The dining room features a custom-made table by James Mudge that is accentuated by the Lindsey Adelman pendant light. The black Magis chairs is softened with sheepskins throws.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

Artwork have been carefully curated and include artists such as Deborah Poynton and Albert Coertse. The art is limited to key areas of the home for maximum impact. The neutral colour palette and modest furniture pieces of the bedrooms allow the incredible views to be the focus as ever-changing artwork each day.


Plan 2

Plan 2

Behind the scenes, the home is technologically enhanced with the latest audio lighting and systems that can be automated for time of day – with the beauty being in the understatement and absence of seeing it. Finishes to the home include the use of terrazzo floors. Beach house style is integrated with modern finishes, in the likes of the marble-layered panels that extend up the bathroom walls.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

Built at good elevation with lots of access to the surrounding fynbos, the natural choice for landscaping was to incorporates as much indigenous vegetation as possible – surrounding the house and in the internal courtyard. The addition of three iconic South African trees – Milkwood, Coral trees and Waterberry’s – make this an iconic, true-to-style South African family holiday home.


© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch

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