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LIFE BY LEXUS 30


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isherhaven is slightly off the map. It’s a small village along SA’s Western Cape coast towards the Garden Route, a verdant strip of coastline known for its


beaches, golf courses and natural beauty. Nearby Hermanus is world-famous for its whale-watching, as pods of southern right whales drift into the bays to calve in winter and spring. Further up the coast, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna have been transformed from secret hideaways into holiday meccas where beachside mansions abound. But Fisherhaven’s lovely, calm lagoon, indigenous plant-covered dunes and beautiful mountain backdrop remain if not undiscovered, then largely undisturbed. Somewhat idiosyncratically, herds of wild horses roam free. By and large, Fisherhaven’s architecture tends


towards the conservative. Show-off beach villas don’t really feature. The reasons for that might include the prohibitive cost of getting building materials there


and of finding the skills to build anything ambitious. Clients of industrial designer Philip Nel of Inizio Homes found Fisherhaven’s off-the-beaten-track appeal perfect for the kind of build-anywhere steel- frame prefabricated construction that he pioneers. Originally specialising in furniture, Nel branched


out into custom-prefab home design when he was investigating building a home for himself. “It all started when I decided to do a place of my own,” he recalls. “The high cost of building and the quality of available properties tipped me into building a prefab house for myself.” That was in 2008, and he’s been refining his designs and approach ever since. Through Inizi, Nel now offers his clients a complete turnkey service, from architectural design right through to project management, manufacturing and construction. In SA, while prefabricated construction has been used for industrial buildings for some time,


1. The living area is light and unimposing. Monochromes, whites, creams and natural bleached wood predominate. The furnishings are deliberately minimalist and simple. A packing palette on castors serves as a coffee table. The rope mat subtly suggests the seaside context without being overtly themed. The artworks are by Claudette Schreuders and Frank van Reenen, among others. 2. The main bedroom opens directly onto the lawn. In this instance, the futon imparts a hint of Japanese minimalism. Because it’s a holiday home or weekend getaway, it was unnecessary to clutter the rooms with storage; instead, they’re open and calming to the eye. 3. One wall in the bathroom is glass and slides open completely, and there’s an outdoor shower. While a screen provides privacy, the openness and airiness make it a relaxing indoor-outdoor area. 4. The glass doors of the living area slide open onto a small deck, making for an indoor-outdoor connection that suits the holiday lifestyle and context. The south façade protects the nook from occasional blustery winds that are typical of the area. The grey fibre cement cladding is simple, but attractively patterned. “The skin of the building is removed from the inner structure to create a thermal break. This helps provide insulation and makes an effective sunscreen,” says Nel.


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