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The Quarry House occupies a site that looks like it’s been scooped out of the mountain. It’s the old Bellevue Quarry from which came massive blocks of coarse Table Mountain granite for the building of Herbert Baker’s Rhodes Memorial in 1912. Three-bedroom, three-bathroom The Quarry House ‘grows’ out of it, rising vertically on a massive stone base through three floors until at its highest level it’s a deck that floats across the site. Up here it’s conceived as a series of wooden pavilions, which, because of their mullioned windows, appear even lighter than the wooden superstructure that supports them.
On a flank of Table Mountain, The Quarry House is in a wooded neighbourhood called Higgovale. Just above the city centre, and yet spiritually a million miles from it, it looks east towards the morning sun and out to the Hottentots Holland mountains in the distance. The owner, a South African, London-based theater director, wanted to go up as far as possible: ‘The house seems to float above Cape Town. At night it seems like you’re in a glider suspended above it.’ A long, rectangular swimming pool slices through the deck, one end buried in the house itself, the other reaching out into the view. All around there are trees. ‘I planted liquid amber, pin oak and lots of indigenous trees.’ They clamber down the site, shielding the house from the road but easily a part of the arboreal character of the district.
A swanky lift whisks you from ground level to the deck at the top – ‘who wants to hump suitcases up three floors?’ You step into the living area, at one corner of which a long galley kitchen leans out onto the sunny deck, hovering close to the pool beside it. The entire floor beneath this is occupied by the main bedroom suite below which is a second en suite bedroom. The third bedroom suite, occupying a pavilion on the other side of the site, is connected to the rest of the house internally. In the main suite the bedroom is separated from the bathroom by a high, upholstered headboard. While the former is an oasis of calm, the latter offers more drama than most people experience in a lifetime: the shower shares a wall with the deep end of the swimming pool. Three metres high and made of glass, is the shower an extension of the swimming pool, or is it the other way around? The pool tiles are bottle green, so are the bathroom tiles. Visually the two are inseparable. And as the sunlight sweeps down through the pool, it penetrates the bathroom below, the shadows mottled and mysterious as the breeze ruffles the surface of the water one storey up. The view of the pool from this angle is surreal when swimmers are cooling off in it – like a painting in which torsos and legs are moving about.
This is a sophisticated home with a sense of the owner’s creativity at every turn. If you’re seeking a languid retreat after indulging in ‘bright lights, big city’ it’s the perfect spot.
What we love!
• The zen-like feel of this treehouse in the city, with iconic Table Mountain as your backdrop.
• Higgovale – such a smart, stylish, quiet neighbourhood yet only ten minutes in an Uber to town.
• The ‘work of art’ headboard in the main bedroom – created using leaves and incredible iridescent beetles by East End artist Louise Rebecca Law it is a fascinating and beautiful piece.
• The cityscape at night from the deck – utterly magical!
What you need to know…
• The lift makes this an easy house for anyone with low mobility. The living space is all on one level and all three bedrooms are accessed by the lift.
• With no pool net and some fairly steep steps outside this house only works for kids over 8 years old.
Reviewed by Paul Duncan
No children under 12 years allowed
Sleeps 6 (no children under 12 years allowed)
R5 500 - R12 000