The house is our first in Hawaan, the premier gated Estate in Umhlanga, an upmarket suburb of Durban and situated behind a coastal dune forest on the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal.

Published in Habitat magazine in 2016.


Client owned the house next door, but wanted to have a new home on a better site.

The brief was to design a home with courtyards, terraces, wow entrance and pool.

A house of good architecture with well-defined forms sliding into and past each other. Every part of the house was to be special and bespoke.


The property experiences a sub tropical climate.

The forest in front is a nature reserve where animals are able to move freely into the Estate.


The designed house is situated on a carefully chosen single corner site, sloping towards the east and set back from the front row which fronts directly onto the forest.  

Panoramic sea views to the north, south and east are possible from the ground and first  floor. The Client was very astute in choosing a site where we were able to use the highest point on the site to his advantage.

The site is square in shape with houses on two sides and road on two sides, which together with the sloping site, enabled him to have two garage accesses. The house is on three levels because of the slope and two road accesses.

The town planning scheme allows a maximum of two storeys above existing natural ground. The coverage and FAR are 35%

The Estate guidelines have selected sites, where it was deemed the view from behind was not affected by allowing the houses on these sites to use the highest point on the site as the roof height determinant and not follow the slope of the land.

Also the top floor was not restricted in terms of area or width.

The Estate Architecture was established by SAOTA following the contemporary style of their work on the Atlantic seaboard in Cape Town.


The entrance was along the side towards double volume space with a feature tree within a water feature. The house is a series of axis’s and experiences of different spaces, preparing one for the eventual magnificent views from the open plan living, dining, kitchen, tv lounge, bar and covered terrace.

The house is a basic H shape on the ground floor and an L shape on top.

An externally screened rear courtyard shielding the west sun and views from the road behind flows out from the raised Dining area, but still has sea views through the large glazed sliding doors. A Guest Bedroom en suite and a children’s Rumpus Room also enjoy the views and access into the rear courtyard.

The lap pool in front stretches from the one side of the property to the other and has a clever cantilevered timber deck over the front building line area. A cellar below has glass portholes into the pool. The pool is linked to the house by a steel and balu pergola and a small flat lawn. This ground level has two Garages, a Scullery/Laundry and a service yard.

The main staircase is a subtle feature both inside and outside the house as it is placed behind the Kitchen where it functions as the private section of the house, used by family from the basement level of the side street garages right up to the top Bedroom floor. It has screened full length glazing facing the sea and the west and strategically placed circular porthole windows on the stairs.

Upstairs are 4 Bedrooms all en-suite with panoramic sea views and a  wide passage used as a Library and Study area. The Main Bedroom on the end has an open plan Bathroom and Dressing room towards the back and also a private Bathroom Courtyard with a sauna, jacuzzi and reading area. This courtyard gets sun all day and has sea views through the bedroom area. A planted roof over the covered  terrace below is in front of the main bedroom.

Total area of the house is 813 sqm and an approximate building cost of R10 000 000. Materials used included, clay imperial brick, various plaster techniques and paint types, off shutter concrete ceilings, aluminium windows and doors,  balu screens and decking left to weather grey naturally, natural stone flooring and clad walls, concrete roof , timber paneling incorporating doors , caeserstone, copper and stainless paneling, bespoke European kitchen.

The brief was received in 2009.

Full Architectural appointment with a Structural Engineer, two partial inputs from Interior Designers and a negotiated JBCC Contract with a Contractor.

Construction commenced in 2011 and was completed in 2013.

This is one of the houses that we believe best illustrates our quality of work and the end product was a result of wonderful insight, teamwork and effort from the client and all the consultants and contractors.

The client loves their new home to bits.

Published in Habitat magazine and House and Garden.