Kommetjie home with a laid-back island style

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The design of this Kommetjie home, and its décor, was inspired by the owners’ love of laid-back island style.

Photographs Francois Oberholster l Production Marian van Wyk


Jodi and Allan Lawrence with their kids Luke (19), Meg-Rose (17), Benjamin (13) and Levi (10) and dogs Jackson Brown and Enyo

WHERE: Kommetjie, Western Cape

SIZE: 410m²

A decked walkway and lush garden create a welcoming ambiance, which hints at the style of the rest of the house.

In the open-plan living area, a change in floor level demarcates the dining room and lounge. The distinction between the two is emphasised by the contrast between the timber floor in the lounge and the new andesite tiles in the dining area, which were imported from Indonesia and laid in a herringbone pattern. A large sliding window welcomes light and air into the space, while the doors stack away completely so the living room opens onto the pool and outdoor entertainment area – an essential element of the renovation.

For Jodi Lawrence, co-owner of homeware business 8 Degrees South, and her husband Allan, a dated house on a double stand in Kommetjie just outside Cape Town proved irresistible. The couple were able to see past the yellow facebrick exterior, old timber windows and doors weathered by sea air, and the old-fashioned kitchen and bathrooms – and fell in love with the home’s potential. “The fact that it’s a short walk from the beach was also a drawcard,” Jodi notes

She and her business partner Lola Casey set about transforming the house, guided by the natural laid-back style they favour at 8 Degrees South and décor items handmade in Bali, Lombok, Malawi and Cape Town.

“The inspiration for 8 Degrees South and this home is a traditional Balinese style with lots of handcrafted items, natural textures and neutral colours,” explains Lola. “The aim was to create a house that centres around the swimming pool and enhances the easy indoor-outdoor flow that is so integral to Balinese villa design.” Although they didn’t need to change the footprint of the home, raising the pool to the same level as the house was necessary to achieve this flow.

They removed the existing fibreglass pool and built a deck around the house; they positioned the new pool accordingly and built a guest flatlet under the gazebo, where adding the deck left a void. A covered stoep flanks the pool and creates an outdoor living space protected from the elements.

“Adding a series of timber pergolas to the exterior of the house instantly, and relatively inexpensively, modernised the façade,” says Lola. The yellow facebrick was plastered and painted grey and the old doors and windows were removed and replaced with more durable aluminium. Stacking doors and large, sliding windows throughout open the house up to the outdoors. Cushions from MRP Home

In Bali, the houses are all built around a courtyard; installing a new pool on the same level as the house has created a similar effect here. The striking Balinese ceremonial umbrellas are available from 8 Degrees South. Floor cushions made from MRP Home rugs

The house is filled with plants that add to the indoor-outdoor connection. Open shelving allows practical items to double as décor in the kitchen and rattan pendants, part of the extensive range imported by 8 Degrees South, provide task lighting above the island.

A natural flow

“We wanted the indoor-outdoor feel to extend to the bedrooms and bathrooms; the bedrooms all have sliding doors that open onto the pool, while the bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor areas,” says Jodi.

The guest bathroom has a door to the garden, which allows for sand and sea to be rinsed off before the couple, their four children and two dogs enter the house – one of the practical, family-friendly elements of the design evident throughout the home. “It creates the Balinese washhouse feel we love,” says Lola.

The bathrooms were all gutted and refitted. Crisp white fixtures and minimalist subway tiles on the walls contrast beautifully with textured floor tiles and plenty of natural elements, including timber cabinetry.

The andesite stone tiles in the living areas have been laid in a herringbone design. “They were originally 400 x 600mm and were cut up to create this effect,” explains Lola. The textured grey tiles are adjacent to a warm timber floor that provides contrast between the kitchen and dining room and the lounge.

When redesigning the kitchen, the goal was to create a social space where the family can come together to prepare and enjoy meals. A stainless-steel island with a built-in hob ensures that the cook is part of the action in the living area and stone countertops echo the look of the floor.

The décor enhances the home’s ‘inside-out’ aesthetic with a palette of natural hues and muted tones. Interest is created with the use of detailed textural pieces, many of which are available through 8 Degrees South. “We love the fact that all our items are made one piece at a time, using natural materials – no two products will ever be exactly alike,” say Jodi and Lola, who have used items such as rattan mirrors and grass wall hangings as artworks.

Most of these items are bought on their trips to Indonesia to commission furniture and homeware, pack containers and simply soak up the inspiration; other pieces are sourced in South Africa and Malawi from artisans practicing age-old traditional handcraft. “We’ve built personal relationships with our suppliers and we enjoy collaborating with them on custom items,” says Lola.

Texture and layering

Rattan pendant lights highlight areas such as the dining room table and entrance hall and hang over the bathtubs, while woven jute rugs demarcate zones in the open-plan living space and soften bathroom floors. Wicker, rattan and teak furniture pieces both inside and outdoors catch the eye, while touches of black contrast with the softer shades.

In the bedrooms, more colour is evident with pink in Meg-Rose’s room and a rich emerald hue in the main bedroom. Similar furnishings outdoors enhance the flow and zones dedicated to lounging and dining make the pool area ideal for entertaining. A pair of cane hanging chairs and a hammock perch at the water’s edge and loungers shaded by Balinese ceremonial umbrellas offer the perfect spot for relaxing before moving to the 10-seater dining table to enjoy a meal.

The pool area incorporates another staple of Balinese design with lava stone wall tiles behind the pool and Sukabumi tiles in the pool. The balau decking was chosen, as were most features outdoors, to withstand the harsh elements that come with such close proximity to the sea. “The house is perfectly orientated to make the most of the magnificent sunsets and watching the day slip away is a family tradition,” says Jodi. 

The guest bathroom has a glass ceiling, so it feels as if you’re bathing in the open air – even on the coldest winter evening.

In the guest bedroom, a rattan two-seater couch turns a corner into a reading nook and an intricately carved mirror creates a focal point.

In Meg-Rose’s bedroom, touches of pink create a feminine feel, which works well with the delicate rattan mirrors that feature on the wall above her desk. Hanging pendant lights rather than table lamps are a clever space-saving element.

A large sliding window in the main bathroom creates a natural atmosphere. The main bedroom and en suite are open plan and the monochrome floor tiles in the bathroom tie in with the black-and-white patterned headboard (below).

With a neutral palette as a backdrop, Jodi and Lola have created interest with texture and layers of contrasting items. Large scatter cushions from MRP Home

We love the way that, although the house has a Bali feel, there is still plenty of South African influence. – Jodi


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April 2023

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