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Case Study – Private Residence in Hermanus, South Africa

Private Residence in Hermanus, South Africa

Sector: Residential

Service: Architectural Planning & Project Management

Location: Voëlklip

Date of Completion: December 2016

The Brief:

The clients from Johannesburg, a CEO of a multi-national company and a retired accountant, wanted to build their retirement home in Hermanus, Western Cape. The site they selected was at the base of the Overberg Mountains bordering the Fernkloop nature reserve. It had beautiful mountain views to the North and sea views to the South. The brief was to design a house that had two functions. Firstly they wanted the top floor to function independently from the ground floor but they also required the house to be able to open up and function as one complete home when they had family or guest living with them.

They wanted a contemporary home with classical coastal architectural elements and open plan living areas. The brief called for a mudroom, kitchen, living room, covered patio, 3 en-suite bedrooms and a garage on ground floor. The main living space on first floor needed to incorporate a large open plan kitchen, living room, study, master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, roof garden and covered patio. The clients wanted to maximize on the limited area available on the small site, but also wanted to have the garden and pool sheltered from the extreme Cape weather where guests could relax.

The house needed to incorporate as many green architectural principles as the budget would allow. Firstly it needed to comply with the mandatory SANS 10400 building regulations. Additionally it needed rain water harvesting, PV panels and battery backup.


  • The site was on a steep, rocky slope
  • Client wanted the building to be off the grid
  • Had to incorporate natural materials
  • Clients wanted facebrick detailing on architectural elements like the chimneys
  • Gardens needed to be indigenous and low maintenance.
  • Spaces needed to be open-plan

The Project:

The project was designed and project managed by the Kevin Els Team. The contractor was KAD construction from Hermanus. The construction took 9 months to complete with site work starting in February 2016 and final handover in December 2016. We had site meetings every fortnight to inspect the building progress and to address the inevitable challenges faced by the contractor.

The architects provided full architectural construction drawings and detailing of every aspect of the home from lighting to fireplaces to kitchen designs. We incorporated locally harvested, crushed abalone and mussel shells into the plaster on feature walls. Used local building materials such as rocks, timber and stone. We also used local subcontractors and suppliers wherever possible. The project was a great success with very few snags at the end. Most importantly we managed to fulfill the clients’ brief and stay within budget.

Client Testimonial:

20th June 2018

Dear Kevin Els Team,

Just a short note to record our satisfaction with the work Kevin Els Architects performed, and the outcome achieved with our new home in Hermanus.

The design brief was very specific, involving an upstairs apartment for our retirement, above a holiday home for the family and guests on the ground floor. The location in Voelklip is quite demanding, and the location of the house on the plot and the levels had to be just right to comply with the municipal building regs. We had several change requests before building started, all of which were easily and perfectly executed.

The home as built makes the best of the available ocean and mountain views. Your assistance with selection of building contractor – inspired choice – and ongoing project management ensure that the house was extremely well constructed. All over-budget PC items were down to our choices. The build took a little over eight months, and snagging was minimal.

Most passing cars slow down, and pedestrians stop, to admire the house. We have had comments to the effect that it is one of the most beautiful homes in Voelklip. We have found it warm and comfortable, and that it lives very well. All the guests who stay in the downstairs apartment have expressed their delight with its quality and roominess.

All in all, a job well done – thanks again.

Kindest regards

Corallie and Rod Pringle



Hermanus Architecture

Hermanus Architects

Hermanus Architects

Hermanus Architects

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Hermanus Cape Town Architects

Hermanus Cape Town Architects

Hermanus Cape Town Architects

Hermanus Architecture

Hermanus Architecture

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