The mysterious vanishing house on the coast

In South Africa’s ‘Garden Route’ coastline, five hours east of Capetown, the McGowan’s designed this exquisite house themselves on the site of a former cottage, using plenty of glass to create a semi-transparent building arranged around a double height living room. The couple both used to live in Clerkenwell, London, Trevyn was an actor turned interior designer and Julian was a theater set designer. The two embarked on a interior design company together called Site Specific, but through trips to Trevyn’s roots in South Africa, the two decided to move and never looked back. They had originally thought they might just renovate the cottage, but it soon evolved into a much more ambitious project. Julian, who is not an architect, had visions of his own, so he drew up the plans of how he envisioned the home to look.

The house opens up to views of the sea to the front, and banks of folding glass doors to the rear creating a seamless flow between the interiors and the rear garden and its more sheltered terrace. There is a choice of outdoor zones, from a beach-side canopied deck to a rear terrace partly shaded by trees, and a roof deck complete with outdoor fireplace and a bathtub large enough for the whole family. The residence was kept in neutral colors to help transpose the bold and colorful artwork and designer pieces with their unique textures and mixed hues. The home has been furnished with a mix of junk-shop finds and 20th-century classics, with art by Marc Quinn who is a friend of the family, as well as others. Much of the furniture is by South African designers such as Heath Nash and Gregor Jenkin.

Photos: DOOK

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