The Smith family story is a familiar one. A young, up-and-coming couple, recently returned from a long stint living overseas, wanting to raise their children on our beautiful North Coast. They allowed us a sneak peek into their newly built Simbithi home.
When Megan and Gareth Smith returned to South Africa after living in the United Kingdom for 15 years, they struggled to find a family home on the North Coast that ticked all the boxes for them.
After viewing more than 60 homes, they decided to build their dream house themselves instead. And, with Gareth’s dad being a builder, his sister an interior designer and having many friends in the building industry, the construction of ‘Smith family HQ’ turned out to be a real ‘family affair’!
“We looked everywhere – in estates and at free-standing homes – and just couldn’t find the right house. Although we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, we knew we hadn’t found it.”
With all their contacts in the building game, the next obvious step was to buy a piece of land and build a home that had everything they were looking for. “We fell in love with Simbithi and with this particular piece of land,” says Gareth.
The decision to settle on the North Coast was an easy one for the couple, especially because Megan spent her entire childhood here. “We always came back here for holidays and, subsequent to us moving here, most of my family has relocated here too now,” says Gareth.
They have two children, a daughter Holly (6) and son Campbell (2½) and when they set out to design their home, one of the most important requirements was that they could see the kids playing outside at all times. That’s why all the rooms in the home open out onto the garden and swimming pool area. They also insisted the home be single storey. “That part was really important to us after living in tiny, double storey ‘shoebox’ type homes in the UK for so long!”
Gareth is an investment banker and travels to London every six to eight weeks, which is one of the reasons they decided to build in a secure estate. “We needed a place where I would feel safe, where our kids could run around in the garden and where we could have a dog,” says Megan.
The land was bought and construction started in September last year. The house went up in no time. “It took us six months and one week to build this home and we’ve lived here for five months now. We visited almost every day throughout the build, even throwing money into the foundations during the big cement pours. This home was built exactly the way we wanted,” says Gareth.
The house was designed by local architects, Neospace Architects, built by WBB Construction and the interior design and décor done by Inside Out Home Boutique.
Although it has a very contemporary feel, the interior décor includes one or two older, more sentimental family pieces as well. The home’s colour palette is neutral with lots of white and shades of grey, making it easy for potential future buyers. The Smiths added beautiful bright pops of colour with some funky wallpaper, artwork and oversized scatter cushions to make it their own.
“My sister helped us with all elements of the interior design, from deciding where to put lights and plug points to the soft furnishings. Some other interesting elements include the shadowline ceilings and ‘frameless’ doors,” says Gareth.
The garden features an incredible gabion rock retaining wall, which took as long to build at the house. It is made of rock that has been broken and placed by hand and held together with wire. It took 240 tons of rock to complete. They have also included a fun pergola (nicknamed Kings Park), which not only provides shade but also privacy from the neighbours.
Built alongside a conservancy area, the Smith family love spending time in their garden, where they often spot duiker and bush buck. “Simbithi is such a great place to live and raise our children,” says Gareth. “Since building our home, our circumstances have unfortunately changed slightly and we are now looking to potentially sell this very special house . . . if the right buyer comes along!”
If you are interested in viewing the Smith home, contact North Coast Real Estate (NCRE).
Details: NCRE: 032 880 0099, [email protected]; Neospace Architects: 032 586 4023, www.neospace.co.za; WBB Builders: Wally Smith – 084 993 0716; Jemstruct: 076 707 684, [email protected]; Inside Out Home Boutique: Hayley Smith 031 312 1285, 084 347 4473, www.insideouthb.co.za
Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Chris Allan Photo