After some breaking down and building up, this home now opens up onto an inviting patio – you can see all the way from the kitchen to where the guests are gathered.
By Marian van Wyk • Photographs Francois Oberholster
WHERE Cape Town
SIZE ± 50m2
“The stoep is a huge part of what we love about our home,” says gallery owner Charl Bezuidenhout, talking about the Tamboerskloof house he shares with his wife Izelle Venter and their children, Izak and Conrad.
Previously, the only access to the living areas inside was through the front door, and the spacious stoep on top of their double garage was disconnected from the house. To top it all, they couldn’t open the windows of the old lounge as the burglar bars had been badly installed. “Even so, we still enjoyed socialising there, despite the ugly old tiles and the long walk to the kitchen,” says Izelle. So they decided to fix it.
Last year, Izelle called in the help of interior designer Etienne Hanekom and gave him the following brief: “Sort it out!” And he did. Izelle wanted the stoep to become a focal point, offering easy access to the house and defining the style in the rest of their home.
This is where the stacking doors came into the picture. “Combining the interior space and outdoors into one living area was the right thing to do,” she says, “especially with children who rarely sit still! The more open doors, the better. The alterations made the entertainment area much more versatile.”
The stoep gets sun almost all day long because a massive (and, unfortunately, half dead) tree died during the building process, much to Izelle and the children’s disappointment.
In winter this is a huge plus, but for the summer season Etienne had to make a plan to create shade. He designed a pergola, and some greenery in planter boxes will soon cover the slats.
“Our stoep is still in the early stages of its greening process, but the climbers are becoming more hardy and will be perfect in a year or so,” explains Charl.
When the changeable Cape weather co-operates, you’ll find Izelle sitting at the table reading the newspaper or busy on her laptop, the boys riding bicycles around her and Charl cooking up a storm on his Weber. “I was always one for a wood fire braai, but 10 years ago I realised that a Weber is much less hassle and cooks just as well. I love lamb chops, wors, chicken in soy sauce and a good ol’ traditional braai roll but these days Izelle makes fancy braai broodjies…”
Izelle adds: “The four of us love hanging out here and when we entertain, our first choice is the stoep. We are in love with the space.”
The stoep is located on the roof of the double garage. These are the changes Etienne made:
• A mish-mash of steel- and timber-framed windows were removed on both floors. The window opening on the lower level was enlarged to make space for a big stacking door that now connects the living room to the stoep. On the upper level, sliding windows were installed to complement the style of the home.
• A large flowerbed in front of the old window that separated the stoep from the lounge was filled in and the half-dead tree removed; new planter boxes were added on either side of the stacking doors.
• The old tiles were removed and new tiles laid both inside and outside – the same colour was used in both areas but in different textures for a seamless flow between the two spaces when the doors are open.
• Under the table, tiles were laid in a pattern to resemble a rug.
• A pergola made with lengths of square timber provides shade in the afternoon, but also lets in morning sun. Climbers planted here still need to grow more densely to improve the shade.
Etienne’s tips for an inviting stoep
• Make sure there’s enough shade.
• Grow as many plants as possible, not forgetting flowering plants for a pop of colour.
• Comfortable chairs are essential. If you don’t have storage space for lots of cushions, weatherproof plastic or synthetic cane furniture is ideal.
• A water feature is a good idea if you don’t have a pool; it creates a tranquil atmosphere and will mask street noise in the city.
• If your budget allows, a waterproof speaker for background music is a good idea.
• Lighting is important for atmosphere, but make sure it doesn’t shine in people’s eyes. Accent lighting on plants or LED strip lights on the pergola frame will look pretty.