Tag: timber frame

House Carstens is in a Nature Conservancy area near Cape Agulhus, at the southernmost tip of Africa.

The house was designed for a challenging steep sandy site, in notorious weather conditions due to it’s exposed location at the tip of Africa. The main kitchen, living areas and main bedroom are on the first floor to maximise views sea views. Covered verandas, opening up to the living area with sliding doors, to both the south and north allow for outdoor living in either of the predominant weather conditions, namely summer south easters, and cold north western in the winter months.


Henton Homes


ITFB  Silver Award 2013


Building contractor: Pine Homes

The house was designed for comfortable beach living, to maximise sea views to the south and out to the bay and point to the southwest, and to allow for maximum penetration of winter sunlight from the north. Horizontal forms and gently sloping mono-pitch roofs resonate with the gently sloping and undulating form of the landscape. To minimise visual impact up from the coast, the major portion of the south façade is shaded, and the colour palette was chosen to blend in with the vegetation and sand.

The house has split levels, which allow it to step down the slope following the contours of the site. Appropriate responses sought to resolve the issues of north light from behind the house, the prevailing winds, and maximising views include covered outdoor deck areas to both the north and the south of the house, and elongating the plan form on an east west axis.

The house is ‘off-grid’ and power is produced by photovoltaic panels, with a battery pack and inverter, and a silent running generator providing backup power should there not be sufficient sunlight for several days. Hot water is heated by means of a Vacuum Tube solar panel, and is circulated by a small pump also powered by a photovoltaic panel. The sewerage has been split into grey and black water and the plan is to recycle the grey water for re-use. Rainwater is harvested from the roof, with all the downpipes leading to horizontal storage tanks fitted below the house.


SA Timber Homes & Projects, Issue 11, 1/2008  House Orban


Building Contractor: Knysna Timber Homes

The design concept was informed by the clients brief of maximising views of the Knysna estuary to south, the site presenting the constraints of being narrow and steeply south sloping, and our aim of maximising north light in winter to what would otherwise have been a cold south facing house. Contextual issues resulting from the steep southward slope of the site largely drove the resultant design. To remain within the regulation 8m height restriction offset vertically from all parts of the natural ground level, the pitch of the mono-pitch roof forms closely corresponding the slope of the ground below. To maximise views to the south and light from the north the house was spread over the full width of the site in an east west direction.

The house is a hybrid of timber frame and conventional masonry construction. The bathrooms, kitchen and garage above are on the north side. As a result of the slope and to facilitate solar passive heating and cooling the southern section of the house is constructed with well insulated timber frame construction, elevated above the ground on posts, while the northern service elements of the building, which were cut into the site, are built of conventional masonry construction, which serves as a massing element to take advantage of diurnal temperature fluctuations.

The house sits tightly nestled in amongst the vegetation and the decks were built to accommodate a large Fig tree whose branches have been allowed to continue through openings in the decking. Following the contours of the site closely the double storey house has split levels on each floor all connected via a central open stairwell.

House Hussey was designed by Jacques Cronje he was while a member of Tradon Architects and Consultants cc.


SA Timber Homes & Projects magazine Summer 2007 House Hussey



This project was done with Tracey and Donald Brink while I was a partner at Tradon Architects & Consultants       in Knysna.

The predominant structural material used was SA Pine, with roughsawn ‘wany edge’ planks used for the external cladding. An exception to this was the bathroom areas to the cabins, which were built on concrete foundations with stone clad brick walls.

The wany edge boards were ‘as they come’ from the sawmill, without any planing or finishing, giving a rough bush lodge feel to the exterior. The interiors were however, finely detailed and finished, to provide sleek and luxurious accomodation.





The house is situated on the southernmost side of Vleesbaai, a unique stretch of coastline in the Southern Cape in that it has sea views over the bay to the north.

The shape of the site, being elongated on a north-south axis, with a narrow sea frontage, informed the open plan layout with the living areas and three bedrooms all tightly being positioned against the north façade. The L-shape created by extending the main bedroom, with adjacant built-in braai, further out to the north creates a covered outdoor deck protected from the south-easter. Narrow sites often mean close proximity to neighbours, and to maintain privacy to the deck, a screen, with vertical angled slats, extends along the western edge of the deck, affording bay views to the north west while maintaining complete privacy from the west.

Due to the steep slope from the road down to the site, the garage was positioned higher than the ground level of the house, with internal steps from the garage providing direct access to the scullery. The design had to comply with the estate development’s strict architectural guidelines, and to remain within height restriction the upper level was designed to fit within the roof space. The solar panels for hot water heating have been positioned to be well concealed from view above the gables on the northern side of the roof.

Care was taken in the design to ensure that every bit of space was utilised efficiently; the roofspace above the garage, which is accessed from the first floor, is a childrens playroom, the passage to the guest loo doubles up as a study, and the area below the stairway is a storeroom. The open plan layouts with rooms and service areas leading directly off living areas has resulted in their being almost no passages.

There were many good reasons, other than the obvious environmental and insulation advantages, to chose timber frame as a method of construction for this project: the design guidelines, in seeking to achieve a ‘Cape Cod’ type look, encouraged the use of horizontal shiplap cladding; the quicker construction time of timber frame was a benefit to the owners who had use of their house much sooner than had it been built of brick, and the founding on a sandy site favoured timber foundation posts over conventional concrete footings – other than for the garage base which was built on reinforced concrete foundations.


Cosy Homes


Timber IQ Magazine March 2012 TiQ MAR 2012 House Marais

Technology in Architecture & Design magazine July / August 2012    TIMBER_FEATURE TIA 2012

Home  January 2014  Beach house bliss


Contractor: Noggin Homes

The site is situated in a coastal nature conservancy on the Garden Route coast. The site slopes down steeply to the east with sea views to the east and access from the west. The proposed house will be cut into the site along the west to minimise visual impact along the skyline and from the neighbouring properties. The nature conservancy’s guidelines allow a maxumum floor area of 150sq.m, so maximum use had to be made of every sq.m in the design.

The winter wind is predominantly from the south west and the summer wind from the south east. There is thicket of dense coastal shrubbery to the north west of the site, which will be left intact, both in terms of conservation as well as to provide privacy to living areas which can open up northwards & westwards onto the vegetation. The house is stretched out North-South to follow the contours of the site & maximise exposure to east views from all living areas and bedrooms; a covered deck to the northwest provides a sheltered summer option when the south easter blows and a sunny winter outdoor area, as well as a connection to the natural vegetation in that corner and a secluded access point to the pool.

Large sliding door openings to the east and west will allow a cooling breeze through the house, and slatted shutters to the west will allow ventilation and shading simultaneously.


Technology in Architecture & Design magazine July / August 2012    TIMBER_FEATURE TIA 2012


ITFB Gold Award 2010