New Houses

For most, creating your own new space is a remarkable, once in a life time opportunity - we love taking this opportunity with our clients and designing houses that are unique, beautiful, liveable.

To take someones dream and turn it into reality is enormously rewarding. A succesful design should reflect and enhance the clients lifestyle rather than being a monument to itself.

House Rosnovanu

Ballots Nature Reserve

The exceptional site with expansive sea and cliff views was a designers dream. The brief was for a holiday house that should feel cosy for a couple but stretch to a large family home at times with views the focus. The winding path through fynbos and forest reveals the house gradually. The entrance opens into the large, high ceilinged kitchen / dining / living room that steps downwards to take in the view exploding down the cliffs. The client wanted total privacy and the main bedroom is below the sitting room, nestled into the forest with superb views. The bath and shower feel as though they are suspended above the ocean crashing on the cliffs below. The family wing is off the entrance. A large sunroom forms the central point with a built in couch and storeage boxes for toys. The children scramble up a ladder to the loft room with custom designed bunk beds.

The 3 Gulls


A plot with challenges - on a street corner, small, nestling into a natural hollow and densely overgrown with indigenous bush. The house is placed in the middle of the stand, utilising the natural bush as a barrier to the streets. My client, like me, was a fan of Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language, a guide that I have used for over 40 years to inform the design. The exterior finishes of brick, ship lap planking and corrugated iron are used to articulate the complex form which takes on the pattern of 'cascading roofs' to ensure that the house does not overshadow the plot or the neighbourhood. My client, an artist, wanted a studio with views and lots of sun. The studio is the centre of gravity of the house and forms the apex. The house is inward looking with courtyards enclosed by corrugated iron walls. Floor levels follow the landform, retaining a close relationship with the mainly wild garden.

Earth Wind and Ocean

Ballots Nature Reserve

Making the most of the spectacular views over the Meulen River estuary at Ballots Nature Reserve, the stepped design makes use of the steeply sloping site to maximise sea, forest and rock face views. Timber construction facilitates the changes in level and large glass windows and doors frame the views. The interior is whitewashed timber boarding with white ceilings and trusses which promote a light, seaside atmosphere. Two bedrooms are located on either side of the living area to give maximum privacy and accentuate the compactness without compromising the spacious feel. The double volume living room is ameliorated by a low slung children's sleeping platform, reached by a ladder that forms part of the living room furniture and adds to the sense of adventure and excitement.

The Bees Knees

Ballots Nature Reserve

Built on the edge of a cliff, so close to the sea you can hear whales breathe, this small timber house was designed to wow holiday rental guests. Entering the house you feel like you’re in a ship. The sensational view is enhanced by careful window framing – along dramatic cliffs, of a vibrant cormorant colony, russet rocks, fynbos and endless ocean views.

Split levels open and expand the views downwards to the sea and rocks as well as to the vista of the headlands. The bathrooms and bedrooms are luxurious and indulgent.

Sleep, bath, shower, cook, lounge, eat – all with a view.

House Lohmann Euler

Ballots Nature Reserve

The brief from the German fashion designer client and her engineer husband was for a secluded holiday house to nestle low down in fynbos and forest, whilst maximizing the views.

Working with a creative client was stimulating and challenging. The client wanted everything black with hints of grey – walls, floors, kitchen counters, tiles. The result, offset against the soft green of the surrounding vegetation and the blue of the sea, is dramatic rather than severe. A lime green balustrade forms a startling contrast to the overriding black and grey.

House Richetta

Ballots Nature Reserve

Designed as a holiday home for a French family, the timber framed house nestles low down in the fynbos. A great deal of effort was put into ensuring that the eaves were as low as possible. The rooves cascade down in line with the natural fall of the ground. The house is designed on several split levels, connected by the lofty interior space.

Entered from the dining room, a wine cellar has been built into the earth under the house to create a stable temperature range. The clients have a soft spot for the pyramid shaped apex, reminding them of their years spent in Egypt.

House Kennedy


Situated on a quiet road behind Zoo Lake in Saxonwold, the brief was for a small but spacious house for a couple with two private spare bedrooms for friends and family. Connection to the park and views to the west for the sunset were important. A gallery for their collection of paintings became the focal point, with a coral wall creating the division between the owners space, the entrance and the guest rooms. Black slate tiles were used to offest their bright oriental rugs. Finishes are natural and not shiny, as few as possible that flow from room to room - soft black, grey, rose wood, forest green glass mosaics. Rooms are linked by spaces that are multi-purpose rather than long passages - the living area linked to a bedroom thorugh a walk-through study.

The Cats Whiskers

Ballots Nature Reserve

Perched on the cliffs, surrounded by indigenous forest and fynbos and overlooking the ocean, this house touches the earth as lightly as possible so that the impact on the pristine vegetation is minimized. The house is light and airy and has a strong connection with the outside - fling open the doors and windows and invite the outside in.

Views are a surprise and are enhanced through careful framing. The front deck has a dropped balustrade to allow unrestricted views down the cliffs and a small back deck nestled in the fynbos is protected from the prevailing wind.

The house had to comply with the strict building controls of 150sq metres bulk, fitting in 3 bedrooms all ensuite and still give a sense of space and lightness.

Plettenberg Bay holiday house 2013

Plettenberg Bay

The clients bought the steeply sloping stand in-front of their existing house to build an extension to the main house for friends but which could happily be used as a completely separate house. The view of the existing house could not be compromised and the new house must also have the best possible views. The idea was to make the house look as small as possible, fragmenting it into small parts to look down on. A fynbos roof garden was designed for the gently sloped and flat rooves on either side of a small corrugated iron steeply pitched roof. The result is a gorgeous view of an undulating fynbos garden with the sea and mountain peeping over the top. A link joins the two houses and this became not only a beautiful functional connection but also an elegant edge to the garden on the west side.

Plettenberg Bay holiday house 2003

Plettenberg Bay

The brief for this holiday house situated on a sloping site in a relatively suburban area of Plett, was to maximise the beautiful views of the Keurbooms river and sea, particularly from the living areas. A major challenge was to ensure that the houses behind retained their views. Coupled with the clients wish for it to be a low key, non ostentatious house, bucking the usual Plettenberg Bay trend, the house was designed to be as low and unassuming as possible. The exposed trusses with innovative bracket detailing, help to provide a feeling of spaciousness and airy lightness, evocative of long, lazy summer days. With cooking a passion, the kitchen had to be completely integrated with all the living areas and also have a view.

Grabouw apple farm


Being on a large farm, there were many beautiful sites to position the house. The Kogelberg Nature Reserve is located on the south boundary, and there are spectacular views to the west towards Sir Lowry's Pass. The challenge was to select a position where maximum advantage could be gained from the views while protecting the house from excessive heat gain. The house was positioned to face north but it takes its form from the slope with the house stepping down the site from east to west, allowing the living rooms to capture the magnificent views.The form is derived from a traditional farm house expanded around an internal court. Although it is a large house, it never dominates it's environment but rather compliments it. Spaces are interlinked and open plan, minimising passages. Finishes are simple and natural. The pitched ceilings create a spacious, airy interior which remains cool in summer and warm in winter.

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Henry Paine Architects
23 Southern Right Close
Ballots Heights
South Africa

About Us

Leading architects specialising in community projects, new residential houses and alterations, with a special focus on heritage projects.