The Illustrated Brief
Clifton ContemporaryHow to take a relatively small pump room that is used to house a disused jacuzzi, dilapidated sauna, various pool pumps and general storage in prime position on Clifton’s 2nd beach and convert it into a stylish utterly contemporary guest bedroom en-suite?
Well, considering this ‘store room’ has one of the most commanding views on this Atlantic side and the price that square meterage can command in the heart of Clifton, my client was determined to make better use of it!! He had a very clear idea of what he required … but did we mention that the existing ceiling was the underside of another man’s swimming pool? That it was prone to leaking? That the engineer insisted that we could not chase into the walls to disguise any pipes? And that it still had to house a functioning pool pump with pipes that needed to be masterfully disguised? Well our work was cut out for us.
Clifton ContemporaryThe key for me here was to design absolutely everything around the ‘what if something should go wrong’ factor. With so many critical pipes leading to and from this space, we needed to factor in the accessibility of everything, given that we were going for an extremely high end finish. Chopping anything up after the fact was simply not an option.
Given that we now had to use the existing space we approached the project rather like one would approach the interior of a yacht, where every inch of space had to count: The ‘pump room’ was moved right to the back of the space and our custom built bed base designed to house the re-routed pipes and act as additional storage space. pipes.
Clifton ContemporaryInsulation was key. Knowing a thing or two about sound, we looked at the most efficient way of soundproofing this space. It was paramount not to have any noise emanating from the pump room as it was positioned directly behind the bed. Ducting and proper venting and airflow had to be carefully considered as the build up of chemicals is extremely hazardous.
In addition the brief included aircon, suspended tv and surround sound, a steam room which we housed within the shower. A panoramic Atlantic sea view with each magnificent boulder perfectly visible, unless you were rubbing your eyes!
Clifton ContemporaryThe plumbing challenge in the bathroom, was that we were not able to access the main sewer line without creating a major disturbance, so my clever plumber and draftsman devised a plan to utilise the ‘sani split pump’. A method they use in a lot of tall buildings abroad, where this sort of access is difficult.
The pipe work had to ‘travel through the main bedroom’ and without going into too much detail, again soundproofing was vital.
Clifton ContemporaryOnce the space was stripped bare, the gremlins began to emerge. We were faced with leaking from the upstairs pool, and a veritable pond in the ground where the original jacuzzi had been.
Enter the fabulous engineer, and we applied our minds to this subsoil drainage issue. The solution was to create an agricultural sump so that in the eventuality of this recurring, it would drain away to the main storm water point.
Clifton ContemporaryWe were able to halt the other leaks successfully and by creating a duct along the bathroom wall to house a perforated pipe connected to the sump, possible future leaking would drain away.
The added beauty of this duct was that it housed extra pipe work both for the steam room and plumbing - we made it accessible for any eventuality through the cupboard (you know which story may have influenced that) … unfortunately Narnia was not on the other side!
Clifton Contemporary: the cupboard & the finishesEmbracing the sea view, practicality and comfort were key elements observed throughout the design and sourcing process. The 'magical' cupboard needed to be functional as well as provide access to the bathroom. As always, my joiner and engineer came up with a brilliant plan to custom make it around the underside of the swimming pool wall and to line it up perfectly with the existing space.
With the finishes we elected to go with walnut, quartz carpet and natural stone ... infusing the ocean with the interior.
The cupboard detail was a slider in white glass in three sections with walnut inlay.
Clifton Contemporary: the bathroom & the finishesOnce through to the bathroom the use of mother of pearl mosaics within the shower/steam room added a hint of bling, while the quartz carpet resembling tiny crushed stone was immaculately applied and wondrous to walk on.
The grey handmade stone shower seat, vanity and floating shelves create an unusual contrast with the use of walnut in the vanity, which again links with the interior of the bedroom. Even the taps for the basin, both imported from Spain, are in the shape of sea anenomes, with the huge mirror simply reflecting that magnificent view! The result … a light beautiful space to relax in and indulge all your senses.
What the client said
Penny writes from Europe:
"With me living in Spain during the renovations to our Cape Town apartment, I was concerned problems would crop up – how wrong I was!
We met with Sue on site to explain what we wanted to change – she got a feel of what our likes and dislikes were and the areas that needed close attention.
Back in Spain it was easy – what with Skype and photo images via e mail we were able to put together the end result without ever having to be present on site. Trusting Sue's professionalism, we were able to avoid any problems before they could arise: Sue sent images with information on all finishes and her ideas attached, and from there we arranged times online to discuss everything. Having the photos on the computer screen made it all the easier. A great way to renovate from a distance!
The build up to arriving and actually 'seeing' all in place, done and dusted – was amazing. Due to the regular contact we knew what to expect – but to actually see the end result took our breath away! Our expectations were most certainly realized."