Clifton beach, Cape Town.
Clifton beach, Cape Town.
Image: 123rf

The R6.1-trillion residential-property market has shown some resilience since the hard lockdown. When normal activity resumed, homeowners thought long and hard about the meaning of life and started rejigging their residential accommodation by relocating, revamping or repositioning. The well-heeled set from Gauteng made a beeline down to the west and east coasts.

These ex-Gautengers are largely choosing estate living and sectional-title developments for security and lock-up-and-go benefits. Lockdown cabin fever inspired people to look for a “piece of land with some green and a view of the sky”. Security is always top of mind, and estate developers have the provision of this down to a tee.

The product in demand is open-plan houses or clusters, with the kitchen flowing into a dining/living room with folding doors that welcome nature in the glorious summer months. Kitchens are well appointed with standard high-end finishes and appliances that went to private school (Miele, Gaggenau, Smeg).

In most modern sectional-title units, the main entrance is through the kitchen and developers understand the need to wow the potential buyer with granite worktops, kaleidoscope splashbacks, and cabinetry that makes you feel you could pull off a Jamie Oliver cooking session.Interior designers play with the eye with clean lines that give a sense of space. Amplify that with an interplay of colour and light and you feel you are in a space where you can breathe.

The open-plan area is most often wood laminated, evoking a sense of natural material in the built environment. The window frames looking out onto the garden are brushed aluminium at the coast or varnished timber inland. The aim is to frame the view of the garden. Landscapers are working miracles on patios and exclusive-use areas as small as 20m2, creating a Zen-like space with large-format textured concrete tiles interspersed with washed white pebbles and manicured lawns.

Bathtubs are back in vogue for long soaks

Bedrooms have become sanctuaries where the homeowner can retreat into affordable luxury. The room sizes need to be able to accommodate “royal” furniture (king- or queen-size beds). Feature walls bring depth to a room by using either a darker colour or greater texture such as wallpaper for contrast with lighter walls. The light choices range from LED downlights to bespoke bedside lamps that create a focal point and frame the bedside. The practical need for storage lends itself to a creative interpretation of the dressing room to resemble a favourite boutique with good lighting and a full-length mirror.

Bathrooms, after kitchens, are designed to make a grand statement in terms of quality and tactile engagement. Beyond the “his and hers” twin basins, showers are sensory pleasure zones with high-pressure nozzles, shiny faucets, and a bench to sit on. Bathtubs are back in vogue for long soaks. Developers have upped their game in remembering that 100% of their customers are human beings who crave safe spaces that speak to their aspirations while meeting their basic accommodation needs.

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