Forest dreams come true…


It was his yearning to give his children a similar upbringing to his own that motivated Jason Skewis and his wife Sally to move back to his hometown of Ballito. The decision led to them designing and building the home of their dreams in a beautiful, lush, coastal forest estate.

It was about five years ago, Jason says, that he and his wife started talking about moving to Ballito. A true North-Coaster, Jason attended So-Hi, Umhlali Prep and Northwood and says he wanted to give his own family a taste of what he grew up with. They have two children, Josh (7) and Olivia (4). “We have a strong support base here, with both my brothers and their families and my dad living nearby. We wanted to bring our kids up with their cousins and our friends’ children,” he says.

Their interest in building a home in Elaleni Coastal Forest Estate was piqued while at a kids’ birthday party in May 2018 when one of their friends showed them a brochure for the estate. “We put our house on the market to see what would happen and it sold in five days. We needed to find somewhere to live, quickly!”

From the moment Jason and Sally arrived at the estate, he says, they were blown away. “It just felt right from the beginning. We had looked at other estates, but couldn’t find anything right. The idea of building also seemed like a good one after looking at other already built places.”

After looking at a number of different sites on the estate, Jason and Sally chose a plot close to the boundary line that is very private and has an avocado tree right at the front -something Jason says he’s always wanted. They invited their architect (Julia Rutherfoord) and builders (Rob Paterson and Karl Wang from KR Projects) to view the site before making their final decision.

When it came to designing the home, Jason says they chose Julia because her work resonated with them. “She has designed some of our friends’ homes and her attention to detail is amazing. She gave the design a great deal of consideration and managed it relative to the budget we gave her.”

Sally Skewis did the interior décor herself, having had years of experience in the industry.

Wanting a home that was spacious, but not massive, he says their priority was to create a space, within their budget, where they could interact as a family and move around freely when friends and family came to visit.
“We didn’t have any special features in mind. This is where Julia came in. She had a vision for what she wanted to create in certain spaces, like our main entrance courtyard, which is quite a feature. There were things she included that, ironically, we didn’t think would be important and even questioned including (like the wooded cladding on the underside of the patio roof and the stone cladding on the front wall), that have ended up being amazing features of the home.” Julia also designed a ‘glass’ living area that allows it to open up completely, creating an even more spacious feel.

The building team from KL Projects converted Julia’s design into the final product and Jason says he was blown away by their work. “They were amazing in terms of managing our costs and the communication was fantastic throughout the build. I really appreciated Rob’s attention to detail. He might be the only other person more OCD than I am!”

Special features include the beautiful entrance courtyard and wooden cladding on the underside of the patio roof.

Sally did the interior décor, having had years of corporate experience in the industry. “She is very talented and was thrilled to be able to put her years of experience into her own home.”
After giving their builders a very ambitious target of finishing the home in seven months, the family were thrilled to be able to move in even earlier than scheduled, and they were only the second family to move into the beautiful estate. Elaleni is a gated estate that is lush and rich in nature and the Skewis family are thrilled to be living there. “It’s been so great living here and I know that when I am away on business my family is safe living in our beautiful new home.”

Details: Elaleni Coastal Forest Estate:, 032 866 0100, [email protected]; KR Projects:, [email protected]; Julia Rutherfoord:, [email protected]

Text: Leah Shone