Photographs Francois Oberholster l Production Marian van Wyk
Charles and Candice Nortje; their golden retrievers Grace, Delilah, Lily, Summer and Bluebell; and their Westie George.
The Nortjes designed the kitchen in collaboration with their architect Steve Lennard. It was installed by Phil Bettison, a woodworker and cabinet maker who lives in Kommetjie. “It was important to us to support as many local suppliers and artisans as we could,” says Candice. Tolix stools from Beach House Living; fridge from Smeg
Candice has been collecting kitchen appliances in shades of aquamarine and mint for years.
"Our home is our haven away from the chaos of the outside world. There really is no place we’d rather be…” says Candice Nortje, who lives in the seaside village of Kommetjie.
With a keen eye for décor and knack for curating, a sanctuary is exactly what Candice has created in the Nortjes’ delightful family home situated in the Klein Slangkop Eco Estate bordered by pristine beaches and the Table Mountain National Park.
“It really is nothing short of idyllic and it feels as if we’re permanently on holiday, even though we’re just 45 minutes from Cape Town.”
Candice is this year’s winner of Home’s Rookie Stylist competition in partnership with MRP Home – her entry stood out from the more than 1 700 Instagram entries we received, all of which showcased beautiful nooks in our readers’ own spaces. It’s no surprise that Candice’s entire home is equally impressive and full of décor inspiration.
For years, Candice and her husband Charles walked past the stands in the estate, dreaming of their own perfect beach house surrounded by fynbos. In 2013, they took a leap of faith and made an offer; building commenced in 2014 and they moved in in 2015.
Building close to the beach presented a unique set of challenges. “There are rigorous measures in place to ensure that the fragile coastal ecosystem is disturbed as little as possible while construction is underway,” explains Candice. The Nortjes followed the estate’s construction guidelines to the letter, with exterior cladding – one of the classic elements of the Cape Cod aesthetic – incorporated into the design, which was executed by architect Steve Lennard, who also lives in the development. The house is essentially built on beach sand, so the ground floor was constructed using bricks and mortar for strength and stability. A concrete slab was poured and the upper floor, boasting timber-frame construction, was built on top of that.
Once the timber framework had been built and insulated, the exterior of the house was clad with Nutec boards in a traditional shiplap design. The cladding is extremely durable and withstands corrosive sea air remarkably well. “It requires surprisingly little maintenance, which makes it ideal for our coastal home,” says Candice.
Down to the details
When the Nortjes were ready to move in, Candice had a clear picture of how she wanted to decorate their home.
“My aim was to create a stylish seaside haven that isn’t your stereotypical beach house but rather a timeless space with casual charm.” To this end, she ‘layered’ their home with white items of furniture and objects in a pretty pastel palette reminiscent of tidal pools, sea glass and driftwood.
Candice had been collecting little treasures for their dream beach house for many years before it became a reality. “My eye is instantly drawn to anything mint, turquoise or aqua – finding things in this palette is my superpower! Some call it obsessive, but I prefer to think of it as a total commitment to my aesthetic,” says Candice with a grin.
“I believe the things we surround ourselves with can be random and meaningless or they can convey the very essence of who we are and what we love.”
Rearranging their curios is one of Candice’s favourite pastimes, so the shelves and surfaces in the Nortje home are thoughtfully decorated with ever-changing vignettes. The result is a house that doesn’t just make a design statement, but also tells the evolving story of the people who live there. “Styling our home is a constant work in progress. It keeps things vibrant and interesting, and also brings back precious memories.”
A porthole window in the entrance hall adds a nautical touch. The frosted-glass compass design by Window Art is symbolic of how the Nortjes navigated their way to their dream home. They opted for engineered oak flooring throughout the house. It looks like real wood but is more resistant to fluctuations in temperature and humidity, making it the ideal choice for coastal conditions. “It’s also extremely hard-wearing and copes well with the sandy feet and wet paws that walk on it daily,” says Candice. Flooring installed by Forest Flooring
Carafe and glassware, turquoise enamel buckets used as herb planters and Pastel Hamman Stripe Beach Towel in turquoise from MRP Home
Mint bread bin, turquoise plant pot, cake stands and domes from MRP Home. Candice found the blue bar fridge at her local Checkers.
Aluminium security shutters from Plantation Shutters proved to be the perfect window treatment. “They are incredibly versatile, providing varying levels of light, safety and privacy that curtains and blinds simply cannot,” says Candice.
Picture ledge shelf and house-shaped display shelves from MRP Home
White cookie jar, mint ceramic coffee canister, cake stand and dome from MRP Home
CANDICE’S TIPS FOR STYLING IN A SPECIFIC PALETTE
• If you’re onatight budget, collect items over time and invest in a few special pieces that you really love.
• Select a showpiece then build around it with items in the same hue as well as neutral tones to create balance.
• When styling a collection of monochrome items, create visual interest with a variety of shapes, sizes and textures.
• Collections have more impact when styled as a group, instead of scattered randomly around a space.
• Create visual boundaries and eliminate clutter by styling objects on a shelf, in a cabinet or on a tray.
• To create a timeless feel, choose items that speak to your heart, rather than those currently on trend
In the living room, Candice opted for a basic framework of white furniture which she layered with accessories in shades of aquamarine. A sliding door with a porthole window conceals the scullery. White L’aubagne chandelier from Ambiente Luce; grey tub chair from Block & Chisel; turquoise nap station from Ora Pets; Tweedle Weave Scatter Cushions in teal and mint from MRP Home
When it came to choosing the interior finishes, Candice kept things clean and simple. “I wanted to create a bright, breezy atmosphere throughout, so I went for a predominantly white palette. ‘Vitamin Sea’ wooden words from Bokke & Blomme
The bookshelf in the home office downstairs is Candice’s pride and joy. “It tells the story of a couple who enjoy travelling, reading and cooking and have a deep love for the ocean and the magnificent creatures that live in it.”
“We’ve actually seen whales from our bed! I don’t think many people can lay claim to that privilege,” says Candice. Headboard from The Bedroom Shop; pedestals from @home; blue pendants from Fidders; mint scatter cushion from MRP Home
Candice and Charles added a layer of frosted vinyl to the double-glazed skylight in the bathroom to soften the light and manage the heat. Shower head from Victorian Bathrooms
A skylight across the entire back half of the bathroom floods the space with light. Bateau bath from Victorian Bathrooms; white ceramic birds on top of room divider from MRP Home
Paint colour on door: Plascon Surf’s Surprise
Seafoam doggie bandana from Kingsley & Gray
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