This gorgeous seaside cottage in Simon’s Town, aptly called Blue Waters, is the weekend bolt-hole of Cape Town architect Michele Sandilands and her industrial designer husband, Roelf Mulder. It is casual, comfortable and covetable, and they come here to get away from it all with their daughter Anna and their dogs. Take a look and see …
Falling in love: When I first saw the house I fell in love with the columns and the windows. I love anything that is old! Initially when we looked at buying here, I wanted to buy in the village where I could walk to the shops or to the harbour, and just take in the quaint atmosphere of Simon’s Town. Then this house, which is about three kilometres from the village, came up for sale about six years ago and I was smitten. The view! What can I say?!
On renovating: The house is an original whaler’s cottage which was built in the 1920s. It would have had two rooms. When I renovated it, this was uppermost on my mind, so I opened up certain spaces to create two rooms and two bedrooms downstairs and a loft bedroom upstairs. The house lives very easily. We spend a lot of time entertaining friends in the open-plan kitchen, making a Moroccan tagine or having a fish braai (Roelf’s specialty!). The kitchen has expanding doors which open up to invite in the shiny blue sea and the beautiful view. Another lovely feature of the house is the picture rail on which we have hung our original artworks.
Lounging around: We love spending time in this room, playing board games or reading. In the winter, we light the fire and just relax. The mirror, from Delos, was a wedding present from my Dad. My mom, Sylvia, was a cine enthusiast and she took lots of short films. She lived in what was Northern Rhodesia at the time, and when she was engaged to marry my father, she visited Cape Town and stayed up the road from this house. I only discovered this by watching some of her old cines. I was very moved to discover that, so there is a connection there too, which is lovely. The two pencil drawings on the wall I gifted to the house.
Rooms with a view: All the bedrooms have lovely views of the sea and False Bay. Spending time here is like being on holiday every day. The house lends itself to unhurried conversations. The oil paintings in this room are by our friend Cha Davenport – of the rocks in the marine reserve, called A-Frame, right in front of the house. We often pack a basket of nibbles and drinks and steal across the road and walk down the short footpath to sit on the rocks and watch the sun going down over False Bay. It’s magical.
Lofty ideals: This loft bedroom is where Anna, who is a teenager, and her friends hang out. It leads straight outside to the garden at the back of the house, and to the elevated deck, which has glorious views of the bay. I’ve used muted shades of grey throughout the house, adding interest with accessories like pillows to add design elements and pops of colour.
All hands on deck: The house is on a steep hill and the deck is the same height as the roof. Anna and her friends often congregate here to chat and chill. We spend a lot of time here as a family or with friends, reading or entertaining, drinking in the view. When the weather isn’t good, or the whim takes us, we go into the village for a meal. We are regulars at The Salty Sea Dog at the wharf and also love fancier options like Mangata, The Lighthouse Cafe and Saveur. We also mosey down to the shops or for a stroll through the harbour.
Sea and sky: I only realised the house had this fantastic connection to nature once we had bought it. We have a canoe in the garage and I often paddle down to Boulder’s Beach. We also love swimming in the sea, which is warm, and Fisherman’s Beach is a stone’s throw away. You can also do a lovely walk to Boulder’s Beach and there are hikes, like the 2,5 km Elsie’s Peak Trail which has stunning view of False Bay, Fish Hoek and Glencairn, that we do often. It’s a great privilege to spend time here, to just regroup before returning back to city life.
Thanks for the lovely house tour, Michele!
Blue Waters is available to rent. For more information go to the Perfect Hideways website.