For James and Clare Templeton, a decision to change pace and focus on a better quality of life led them to a small coastal village near Cape Town, where they built their contemporary, farmhouse-inspired home
words Justine Hewitt styling Tara Sloggett photography Warren Heath
Fifty years ago, Noordhoek, near Cape Town, was a valley more known for its fertile farmlands than anything else. Since then, the growth of a like-minded community of people seeking a semi-rural environment and a lifestyle that embraces mountains and the sea has made it a much sought after place to put down roots. The area attracted James and Clare Templeton for exactly these reasons. The couple had been living in fast-paced Johannesburg and moving to this part of South Africa meant they could breathe out a little. “When we met three-and-a-half years ago, James always said one day he’d move to Cape Town and since he’s crazy about the sea and riding his bike on the hilly mountainside roads, it made sense,” says Clare, who loves that they can see the brilliant turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Noordhoek Beach from their new home.
Clare and James are something of an anomaly. They loved their build from start to finish, even managing to celebrate their wedding during the year-long process. “We are so lucky, we worked with so many incredible people to make our home happen, I’m in awe of the professionals and craftsmen we worked with,” says Clare.
An important part of their brief to architect WP Bosch was to create a two-storey home that embraced the natural surrounds. The architect and local builder, Lee Slabber, fulfilled the brief and so much more which involved demolishing the original house down to foundation level and starting again. “When we first saw this house it was pretty darn ugly but we knew the site was really special, there was this crazy overgrown garden with rusted wheelbarrows. WP Bosch really brought our needs and wants together so beautifully with his design,” says Clare, who explains that while James loves ultra-modern design, she wanted more of a farmhouse feel for their new home.
Their architect managed to combine both James and Clare’s desires and transformed them into a space where they both felt it was made for them. Aspects like the crunchy stone driveway, slate-coloured tin roof, magnificent external stone masonry and the dramatic view of garden and pool on entering the house, feel delightfully old-school while the huge, double-volume steel windows and the elegant, monochrome palette of raw and polished cement, exposed brick, tempered steel and natural textures feels thoroughly modern.
The couple loves to entertain and the kitchen forms a central part of their home. “We wanted something really special that was a bit of a showpiece without being too over-the-top,” says Clare of the central island that is made of a single piece of tempered steel and an impressive slab of oak. They also commissioned a local boat builder to design and build their kitchen cabinetry. The result is a seamless and thoughtful design. “This kitchen has seen a lot of wine,” laughs Clare. And while it’s clear that both Templetons have an eye for beautiful things, comfort is an important factor in their lives. The living area is an informal space, boasting a huge low-slung sofa, ideal for marathon TV sessions (“we are sports fanatics and love watching big matches or tournaments together”), and the inside living area flows easily onto the outside patio, effectively doubling the living space in the summer months. “For the garden, we worked with local landscaping legend Tone Alexander, who helped create our garden and we love how peaceful it is,” says Clare. Like many of the contractors and service providers the Templetons worked with, Tone has become a friend “he arrived on our first night with Champagne and a chocolate cake, isn’t that amazing?” she says.
While the downstairs half of the couple’s home is all about work and play (a wine cellar and glassed in office were two essentials in the brief to WP), the upstairs zone is all about breathing out and private time. Perhaps the view of the sea, the soft jute carpeting underfoot throughout the upstairs floor or the oversized master bedroom and matching monochrome bathroom (the sleek black bath is a beauty), but the serenity is palpable. Patches of afternoon light fall in just the right places, a gigantic leather upholstered bed in the master bedroom begs to be leapt on and here and there a cat stretches in repose. It’s no wonder the Templetons love spending time together in their new home. And it’s also no surprise that they have a steady stream of house guests “we love having people to stay, our Johannesburg friends and family love it here too and they can see exactly why we’ve moved to the Cape,” says Clare whose enthusiasm for her new life and home, with her new husband, is absolutely evident. “The reason I think our home ended up being so perfect for us is because despite all of our constant ideas and us being on site just about every day, WP kept encouraging us to rein it in and to stick with our earliest thoughts of what we wanted, and it worked. We feel it’s a perfect balance of style and comfort and we honestly couldn’t be happier here”.