Natural Wonder

A charming beachside cottage in South Africa boasts impressive carbon footprint credentials—but scores big on style, too.

Cement Walls

Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Go Low-Maintenance

Keeping in line with the desire for natural materials, the walls and floors are formed from a mixture of white beach sand and cement, creating a soft, off-white back-drop for the vintage-chic interiors. Another bonus? It never needs repainting. Simply wash the walls down to freshen them up.

The rugs are Moroccan kilims from Moroccan Warehouse in Cape Town.

Salvage Materials

Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Repurpose When Possible

As you might expect from a project with such green credentials, the mantra "reduce, reuse, and recycle" was constantly borne in mind. The old teak-framed windows came out of a hotel in Cape Town, while the ceiling beams were salvaged from the harbor there (and even have clusters of barnacles still clinging to their petrified grain).

The seating in the living room is strategically placed around the cozy fireplace for increased intimacy.

Fresh Paint

Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Make it Pop with Paint

Like many of the pieces that were selected for the home (salvaged from roadsides or Cape Town junk shops), the dining table was given a fresh coat of paint. With a locally made metal chandelier and chairs painted the same shade as the tabletop, the room takes on a contemporary-meets-French-countryside look.

The chandelier is from Garden Bleu; the chairs are by the du Preez family.

Kitchen Appliances

Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Splurge on What's Important

While the rest of the home embraces simplicity (and cost savings) with rainwater capture and solar power, the kitchen is outfitted with modern conveniences. Propane-powered stainless steel appliances, an apron-front sink, and hardwearing honed black granite countertops give the space and resources needed for regular meal prep.


Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Blend in with the Beach

The cement/sand mixture that makes up the interior walls extends outdoors, where a rustic wood dining set and inviting hammock overlook the ocean. Afternoon sun gives the cement exterior a brighter white hue, making the home appear as though it's an extension of the beach below.

Material for the pillows was sourced from flea markets in France.


Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Let the Landscape Shine

Muted colors, a low profile, and subtle textural contrast on the exterior's whitewashed walls and gray-painted tin roof ensure that the structure fits in with neighboring dwellings and harmonizes beautifully with the landscape. A crushed-shell pathway winds down to the sand.

Flowering bushes lining the path to the beach are salt tolerant and ideal for seaside landscapes.

Master Bedroom

Photo: Mark Williams , Styling: Nathalie Williams

Think Locally

Many of the home's furnishings were made nearby. The metal four-poster in the master bedroom was created by a Cape Town craftsman; the patchwork throw on top was stitched together from past-season fabric samples the decorator had in her studio.

The four-poster bed was hand-forged by Rust & Roses.

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