Die Landhuis, a dwelling between the mountain and the sea at Hermanus
The clients agreed with the architect that it was a house and not a shelter that they were looking for. A house, like a farmhouse with many hidden areas where grandchildren could hide to read, to dream and just to be and not be found easily.
The main house is almost a square, with two wings jutting forward into a fynbos garden, providing shelter from the wind when one is sitting on the wide veranda in front of the house, and perfect privacy from neighbours on both sides. A small mountain pool-like swimming pool is on a lower level than the front gate which leads into another more informally designed fynbos garden with another small gate leading onto the street. The one wing comprises the plant house which also serves as a storing area for pool and garden equipment, as well as an extra room, bathroom and secret garden which can be used as servants’ quarters or an extra visitors’ suite, while in the second wing there are two suites, both with bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, a bedroom upstairs designed for two children, and a secret rose garden with a fountain.
One enters the property down an aromatic olive and lavender-flanked driveway, and reaches an automatic farm gate.
Most of the shuttered windows and doors in the house were made from sturdy teak salvaged from demolished houses in India, all clearly from the Victorian era. (India was under British control since 1858 and Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877.) These windows and doors contribute to the specific patina of the house. Thisisa dwelling in which anybody can spend a life-time, but certainly also a house where one can finally come to rest after many years of hard work - a beautiful place, a work of art in its own right, a balm for the soul and a tribute to its architect.