What is it about living by the sea that holds such eternal appeal? Could it be those early morning moments of waking up with the sun, slipping out of your sleeping attire and into a bathing suit, grabbing a towel and wandering down to the shoreline, performing a few sun salutations before submerging yourself into the invigorating salty blue? Could it be the ever changing moods, tones, currents and colours of the ocean, that somehow nurtures a reassurance of our own temperament? Could it be those barefoot frolics on the boardwalk with our favourite people, for hours on end, lapping up the rays as the waves lap over the sand, marking their perpetual patterns of life? Could it be the culture of the community that comes with it; the clusters of cafés, curious vintage stores and dusty bookshops, ice cream hatches and quaint garden nurseries with their blooms spilling out onto the walkways? Could it be all of it, alongside the romantic notion of the person we become beside the sea? The living, breathing creative connoisseurs of our imagination, birthed into motion. With wild sun bleached hair and a salty swagger in our steps, we find ourselves living our best lives.
That’s exactly what happens in the village of St. James. Where the venerable preside amongst the quirky, the gulls flock around fishermen boats, the seals surf the waves, the mountain and sea air meet like lifelong acquaintances, as the days foster a timeless existence of belonging. Rooted just behind the road, tucked into the ankles of the mountain and overlooking the deep, abiding blanket of blue, Condover earnestly welcomes you in and promptly opens the chapters to your own anthology of a life beside the sea.
Set on two levels of brilliant bright colours, with an edgy, slick, pop art affair happening in every space – yet nurtured by nostalgia at every turn too – this hideaway makes a bold and endearing statement, thanks to its voguish owner – a well-reputed sovereign of style. Four bedrooms occupy the top floor with more curious artwork taking a backseat to the views looking up towards the mountain behind, out into the garden below or all the way over the ocean to False Bay and beyond. The main bedroom being ensuite with a free-standing ball and claw bathtub gives way to the rest of the family to make use of the indoor-come-outdoor shower room where the bedrock has been exposed and the gatherings of moss and creeping ivy only add to the romance. Tall windows swamp the rooms with natural light that lasts until the mid afternoon when the sun disappears behind the mountain and the colours of the sea begin to change once again. Time to light the fire and occupy the downstairs living spaces where window seats, big comfy sofas and long recliners are the perfect reading nooks. A baker’s banquet is spread across the dining table, as a game of ping pong works up an appetite for the platters of fresh seafood that’s grilling in lemon with dollops of butter and dill and capers and charred artichokes on the weber outside. A quick saunter down to the sea for another dip before gathering on the large lookout deck, tipple in hand and hot buttery ciabatta in the other. Some are still inside playing games, others are on the stoep watching the boats sail by, whilst the rest are on the deck, licking those greasy garlic fingers and catching the last of the day’s hidden rays. As the evening settles in so does the salty air. Thoughts of that good novel and those comfy beds occupy your intent. You’ll slip back into that seaside sleeping attire and drift off with the chapters of your own anthology of what living your best life is simply all about.
What we love!
- Spending ample time on the stoep, or an early morning coffee on the large deck, or upstairs on the little balcony, or beside the window on the bench or on a blanket on the daisy lawn, listening to the life of the village pass by with the odd chirp from the seagulls and the odd curl of the waves below.
- The fact that this little bolthole is a quick 40-minute getaway from the noise of the metropolis. The drive itself from the city centre to the seaside is spectacularly beautiful, and just enough time to get the salty appetite wet with anticipation.
- The community is a bouillon cube of culture. Narrow lanes behind old stately homes and bungalows are met with endearing folks that gesture with a cordial chin tilt and raised eyebrows of expressions that warmly greet you a hello, and, an isn’t life lovely, feeling!
- The irrefutable style and sincerity of the home that comes with the owner’s 20 years of occupying the property. Collections of straw hats and repurposed outdoor table tops that depict the remnants of giant clams having been shucked open, then placed above fireplaces. Hanging sarongs in the kitchen, notable prints of artwork and family works on canvas. It’s a bit like living on the East Coast of France. But very much in Africa!
- For those that don’t fancy venturing out every day, onto the footpaths or mountain trails, spending time in bed or on one of the comfy recliners is time well spent. Doing what you love doing most, with some words and some music.
What you need to know…
- Although the property is directly on the main road, it feels completely secluded and private, with uninterrupted views of the ocean.
- Folk Café – for some seriously good coffee and delicious treats is a 5-minute amble down the road.
- The glorious little town of Kalk Bay – only a 10-minute walk along the main stretch – is home to some of the quirkiest shops, delicious delis and sublime bakeries the Cape Peninsula has to offer.
- Danger Beach – not entirely adequately named – is 500 metres away for those white waves to surf, and sand to lay on and applaud from. St. James’ pool is only 300 metres away and Dalebrooke is about 1500.
- Behind the property, up a few flights of stairs, and across Old Boyes Drive road, is the start of a walking trail up the mountain, into nature that offers phenomenal look-out points over the Peninsula. If the mountain trails are too high to climb, there’s the boardwalk all the way to Muizenberg – about 900 metres from the house. There is a long stretch of beach all the way to the delta – about 4km of white sand that you can walk in the mornings. Other wonderful walks exist in the other direction towards Kalk Bay’s harbour, passed all of the tidal pools and sandy coves towards Fishhoek.
- There is a garage to park your car off the street.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie