Capetonian couple Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro are lounging poolside at their seaside home in Misty Cliffs, the conservation village just 45 minutes from the Mother City.
They’re soaking in the sun on a deck that is tucked neatly into a pristine patch of the Cape’s indigenous fynbos vegetation. This split-level balau perch is suspended from a cliff face, almost hovering above the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Justin and Cameron are making the most of their weekend getaway, a far cry from their more frenetic week life in Cape Town.
The couple – who own Whatiftheworld Gallery, the vibrant Neighbourgoods Market, hotspot eatery Superette, and Tiny Empire, a slick co-working space – welcome the full immersion of this tranquil coastal sanctuary.
The setting is equally impressive in winter. ‘We light up the fire inside and watch the storms come in,’ says Justin. ‘It’s like a log cabin. But then, in summer, we open all the doors and windows and it becomes really beachy.’
The home, set on three levels, has two bedrooms on the lowest, and another is tucked into the loft, under the A-frame reed ceiling. It is fitted with latch windows.
‘When these windows are all open, it feels like you’re on a cruise ship,’ jokes Cameron, pointing to the ever-evolving oceanic scene outside, where Misty Cliffs’ surroundings are regularly engulfed in a mystical fog.
These white billowy clouds provide a constant transformation of the home. Painted in a shade of green aptly named Cape Moss, the interior vacillates between fern, olive and pistachio hues, depending on the light of day.
The bold decision to paint all the walls and even much of the ceiling green was one of the only changes made to the original home when the couple took over.
The colour was suggested by close friend and furniture designer Gregor Jenkin. ‘He said the green would make the original yellow beechwood floors look considered,’ says Justin, impressed that this turned out to be the case.
Gregor, whose dining table and Quaker chairs make a geometric statement in the open-plan dining area, also created the patinated and slatted steel shield that hangs from the fireplace mantel in the lounge.
Although a mix of vintage finds, local and international contemporary design pieces by the likes of Misha Kahn and Wiid Design, the style of the home is extremely considered, revealing itself as a contemporary take on a 70s bungalow, complete with fireside Falcon chair.
The couple’s affinity for art is obvious, too. In one bedroom a Paul Edmunds pencil drawing; in another two Morné Visagie colour-testing paper collages.
Additional visual artistic cues are dotted throughout, such as a glass-cast sculpture by Rowan Smith, resembling a broken brick, which stands atop a book in the loft, creating a rainbow of reflection across a silk rug by Mae Artisan Rugs.
The garden respects its natural setting, planted with indigenous favourites such as clivias, Cape Saltbush and various species of fynbos.
Gardening has become a favourite pastime for the couple, who tend to the plant life that stretches all the way down to the beach. ‘It’s quite wild,’ Justin says, pointing to the stone pathway that leads to the ocean.
Halfway down, they’ve built another deck, this one completely hidden from view under trees that were carefully preserved, and offering full-frontal views of the wild waves.
‘It’s like being submerged in the mountainside,’ says Cameron, while Justin speaks of plans to build a hot tub here, the antithesis of the icy Atlantic in which they are currently learning to surf. ‘We engage with the ocean more than the beach,’ Cameron says.
Together with their dogs, they also enjoy the ocean vistas provided by hikes in this coastal mountain range.
No matter the day’s activity, every weekend includes some form of kitchen experiment, often shared with an intimate group of friends. ‘The house is small, but it opens up very well,’ says Justin, gesturing toward the decks and balconies that protrude from every bedroom.
Sunday brunch is a favourite for such gatherings, with fresh produce purchased from Saturday’s morning market or Foragers Deli in Scarborough.
It’s the simple life that makes this home come alive: fire-making, sun-lounging, garden-pruning. ‘Home feels like a nature reserve,’ says Justin.
‘It’s our retreat.’