Bayside Update by GSQUARED

September 9, 2014

Bayside Update – A Vienna-based couple reinvent a fifties Camps Bay bungalow as a clean-lined summer villa with a spectacular state-of-the-art entertainment deck. The entire renovation was managed from Europe by a Viennese property developer who has been in love with Cape Town ever since she worked here as a model years ago. Evelyne Finger and her partner Florian Kralik, also Austrian, originally met in Cape Town and have spent every summer for the past 15 years here. They’re so enamoured of the city that they’ve been searching for the ideal house to buy for ages.

“We both agreed there is only one place to be,” Evelyne says, “and that’s Camps Bay’s wind-sheltered area, the Glen. When we first saw this property’s huge west-facing pool deck we both immediately decided it was the best in Cape Town. The whole reconstruction took eight months. The couple only visited Cape Town once during the building process. “We had great preparation drawings done by our architect, and an excellent reporting system.”

“The entire thing was done on Skype” says the Cape Town architect, Renato Graca. “I kept sending visuals of what we were doing and Evelyne would respond.” What made the revamp challenging from the outset was the fact that the plot was steep and the house situated about 15 metres above street level. Landscaping and redesigning of the site was necessary.

“Since the brief was to take a page out of the modernist book of Austrian American architect Richard Neutra,” says Renato, “we stripped the house down to the bare brickwork and concrete and used that as a canvas, creating clean lines and removing everything that did not have a function or real aesthetic merit.”

Simple changes were made to improve the flow of the place. The kitchen lacked dialogue with the rest of the house, so the wall dividing it from the dining room was removed and a beam installed to retain the roof structure. Striking black marble was put in as a splashback to contrast beautifully with the wood of the cupboards, and used on the bathroom walls as well.

Floors throughout, including on the pool deck, were replaced with a durable fine-textured Vianelli coloured screed and new ceilings with insulation and air conditioning installed in all the rooms. The wooden front door was replaced by a pivotal glass door to bring it in line with the glass doors in the living area. To handle the glare from the sea, solar vue glazing was put in.

An unusual feature fireplace of gas surrounded by timber cladding went in to replace the old fifties wood-burning fireplace in the living area.

However it was the enormous pool deck – all 100 stunning square metres of it – that underwent the most striking transformation.

“The feature that really changed the character of the house is the huge roof extension we added over the pool deck,” says Evelyne. “We put every possible feature into that roof. A misty water system for hot nights. Heat strips for cold. LED light strips for a spectacular evening atmosphere. Four integrated loudspeakers. A curtain rail holding white linen curtains. And inside the pool, simple lighting so that it becomes the focal point of the deck at night.”

The result is a glorious outdoor entertainment area with neverending views of the Atlantic coastline. . In the daytime the canopy gives shade and then during the late afternoon it lets the sun in before it dips into the sea.

In the house itself the interior design was team work between Evelyne and Renato. “We were aiming at a Fifties feel with an African touch,” says the architect. The furniture pieces he and Evelyne chose are all icons of interior design.

An Arne Jacobsen 1958 Egg chair stands beside the fire place. In the dining area Poul Hennigson’s multilayered artichoke lamp designed in 1958 hangs over the table, and around it are Eames DAW chairs from 1950.  The master bedroom has a memorable collection of furniture and decor accessories, among them Eero Saarinen´s 1946 Womb chair and ottoman and Verner Panton’s 1946 Shell Pendant  lamp.

Africa pops up here and there. A black-and-white shot of elephants. A protea wall lamp. A large and beautiful African pot. African prints bought by Renato when he was doing a job in the Congo, which make colourful cushions on the built-in sofa in the living room.  “I thought they were an apt gift,” he says, “for a couple  in love with Africa.”

+Big Idea One

The trickiest bit of the renovation was the massive canopy over the pool deck. “We didn’t want any pillars blocking the uninterrupted sea views and creating unnecessary obstacles on the pool deck,” says Evelyne. “So the architect and the structural engineer found a great steel structure solution that let the roof extension almost appear as if it was flying over the deck.” The architect calls it an engineering feat. “We used a cantilevred steel clip-on. It looks wonderful and really creates the dramatic feel of this raised deck.”

+Big Idea Two

The plants surrounding the pool deck not only obstructed the view but were difficult to maintain. \they were removed and instead the architect ran a seat with hidden lighting along the edge of the deck, which works brilliantly when there are lots of guests.



GSquared 082 781 7755


LA Developments O21 553 3617


PG Glass Solar Vue 0860 03 03 03


Crawford Joinery 021 638 1131

+Kitchen design

Joos Joiners 021 949 1776


Beauty Fires  021 461 9821

+LED lighting

Eagle Lighting 021 511 2640


Alan Dawson 021 712 1826

+Fibreglass relining of pool

Wayne Greenfield Suburban Pools 021 703 4474


Sauna King Philip Weaver 021 797 4196

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