Cove 3 is located in Knysna, South Africa and the setting is pure magic with its stunning hilltop location and amazing panoramic views. It is designed by Greg Truen and Roxanne Kaye of SAOTA, with the interior design by Mark Rielly and Tavia Pharaoh of Antoni Associates. “The brief was to create a home for a Johannesburg based family that could eventually be used as a family home but would initially be used for holidays. The site enjoys spectacular views and it was important that the connection to these views was maximised,” says Greg Truen, Project Partner. From its entrance, Cove 3 appears to be a single story home but with its location on the edge of a hilltop, the home travels down the slope to create three distinct volumes.
The architects chose materials that would allow Cove 3 to blend with its surrounding environment. The materials used throughout the home were off-shutter concrete, Rheizink roofing, timber cladding, stone and exposed aggregate. Water is this location is a constant concern so a huge underground cistern was positioned under the home’s garden terrace to harvest rainwater. A heat pump and a water-based under floor heating system is used to reduce the Cove 3’s energy requirements.
The main entrance opens up to a hallway with a bedroom suite, complete with sitting area off to the right and the 3-car garage off to the left. A second hall leads from the garage to a larger and grander master suite that extends all the way to the back of the home – overlooking the expansive hilltop ocean views.
The sitting area in the bedroom suite is contained within the concrete section of the home. The raw beauty of the concrete construction is celebrated on both the walls and the ceiling.
The bedroom is divided into zones of sleeping, bathing, dressing and more. A headboard wall creates the division between the all the bathroom areas, except the soaker tub. It’s positioned right next to the bed and alongside the wall of glazings and only a wall of curtains separates the two areas. It is the same floor plan used in the bedroom suite one level down.
The master suite, while completely separate in location from the two bedroom suites, keeps a visual connection via the walls of glazings that wrap three sides of the zone. To ensure privacy the dropped ceiling over the king bed is curtained.
The master bedroom features a wall of glass between the ensuite and the sleeping area – to ensure uninterrupted views of the coastline from both zones.
The layout of this top volume is ‘L’ shaped with the garage and master suite on one side and a large bedroom suite on the other. Only the grand entry stair divides the two arms of the ‘L’ but this is not the only approach from and to the master suite. A large spiral staircase also connects the two volumes.
With a grand staircase at the front of the home and a spiral staircase midway through the social volume traveling both up and down, the dynamics of the social zone is one of connectivity and constant motion. This free-flowing atmosphere is further enhanced by the minimalist choices of furnishings and accessories. “The interiors are uncluttered and reflect the easy living requirements of the clients. Spaces are sparse, and have been furnished minimalistically which emphasize the strong architectural lines and volume of the architecture. The furniture is modern, and a number of bespoke pieces were sourced from the designer’s retail outlet OKHA. A neutral palette of ivory, stone and shell complement the natural architectural timber and concrete finishes selected throughout,” says Mark Rielly of ANTONI ASSOCIATES.
Just outside the living room, accessed by large expanses of operable glazings, is a terrace surrounded on two sides by the home’s pool – and on a third by a garden terrace. The second level bedroom suite opens up to the grassed yard.
A Jacuzzi is positioned just next to the pool and with views everywhere you look and the experience is definitely that of a holiday home.
The social level contains one of the two large bedroom suites to the right of the entry stairway and two children’s bedrooms to the left. The primary living area contains the kitchen, dining room and living room and while these zones are contained within the structure, the large expanses of operable glazings expose the home to the terrace, pool and views. This creates such a strong connectivity to the outdoors that the indoor and outdoor lifestyles are completely woven together as a singular entity.
A third volume at the base of the spiral staircase contains a lounge, a guest bedroom and home theater.
A detailed solar analysis was done to achieve as much direct sun as possible. As a result, a mid-level horizontal sunscreen was added to the main level’s double height glazings while a timber screen protects the home’s skylight.
Photography by SAOTA, John Devonport and Micky Hoyle courtesy of