Design Insights


And the result is nothing short of inspired

“If you build it, he will come,” goes the quote from the acclaimed film, Field of Dreams. But it’s a phrase that could well have been applied to the construction of this unique Glencairn home, structured entirely from shipping containers.

Initially, the sight of containers perched precariously on the mountain slopes had neighbours intrigued, say the creators and current owners. There was disbelief that it would even be possible to create a sturdy structure from these unusual materials.

The terrain also did not lend itself to building innovation, with its uneven levels and rocky outcrops. But for the owners, who never gave up on their vision, the mountain would form an integral part of the design.

They did their homework – including extensive research of container home construction, both in SA and internationally – to ensure that it meets National Home Builders Registration Council standards and is fully compliant. Drone footage and 3-D modelling software allowed for a holistic understanding of the building site, and the construction requirements.

The result is nothing short of inspired.

The couple has produced a home that is, quite literally, the stuff of dreams. Seven shipping containers have been successfully welded together to create an elevated, double-volume structure with 180-degree views of the sea and mountain. Initially viewed with some skepticism, the home now attracts curious visitors who often stop to take photographs, or chat with the owners about how humble shipping containers can be repurposed into a coastal architectural masterpiece. Containers are increasingly being accepted as a form of durable building material, and are seen as being on a par with brick for longevity.

The aim of the project was to create a home that was not only sensitive to the environment, but that was consciously made of repurposed and upcycled material. Who would have thought that a squash court, the stern of a pirate ship from a movie set and discarded flag poles from Hout Bay could find a new lease on life in a contemporary container home that has become somewhat of an attraction in this South Peninsula suburb?

Upcycling is evident throughout – from the Oregon pine floors reclaimed from a heritage property in Stellenbosch, to the woodchips used outside that were taken from stables in Noordhoek. Even a piece of graffiti on a rocky outcrop has been turned into an artistic focal point for the outside area. The stairs that curve upwards do so to accommodate a massive mountain boulder that unapologetically forms part of the interior décor. Fold-back glass doors allow for a seamless flow from outside to the main living area. An indigenous garden completes the symbiosis between the living space and the surrounding landscape.

The clever use of reclaimed materials means that the home exudes a sense of understated luxury. A customized kitchen, with ample space for entertaining, has top-end finishes. Three of the four upstairs bedrooms boast panoramic sea and mountain views. Repurposed figureheads, taken from a film set, add a touch of dramatic glamour as the frames for bathroom mirrors.

But it is the breathtaking view, also visible from the freestanding bathtubs in both bathrooms, which steal the show. Large windows on both levels of the elevated home allow the magnificent sea and beach views to create an ever-changing natural backdrop throughout.

This close proximity of the house to the beach means that the music of the ocean – be it the crashing of the waves or the hypnotic sound of whales breathing during the birthing season – serves as the soundtrack for this coastal gem. There’s also no need to negotiate traffic or look for parking, especially during the season when the beach is packed with visitors.

In addition to the masterful use of upcycled materials – from the Beechwood floors to the recycled balustrades picked up at a local builders’ yard – it is the overwhelming sense that this home was a labour of love, from conceptualisation to completion, which sets it apart.

It will appeal to a buyer with the same sense of adventure and optimism; someone who sees that there’s beauty beyond the conventional. Not to mention the added appeal of owning what has become a landmark property in Glencairn.

Pam Golding Properties is marketing this inspirational home in Glencairn Heights, for R5.175 million. For more information about this, or other exceptional properties in the Simon’s Town area, please contact Pam Golding Properties area specialist Jeanne Cowan (083 443 8108) .

Click here to view a video about this unusual home.

Share the News