Vision of the Developer
We chatted to Linda Schmiedeke, the developer of 26 Marais and a Hout Bay resident, to get an in-depth understanding of her background and her vision behind the concept of 26 Marais.
Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself and some projects you’ve worked on?
A: When I was very young, I was usually found playing outside and building something in one form or another. My Norwegian grandfather actively encouraged these interests and gifted me my first proper tool set for my fourth birthday. Together, we repaired and maintained his summer house on the Oslo Fjord. One of my fondest childhood memories was the building of a small playhouse with my cousin for us to play in. He has followed in his father’s (my late uncle) footsteps and is now an architect; so clearly the love for design, aesthetics, and construction runs in the family.
After several years of running our family farm in the UK, I bought and moved into a flat in London; the renovation of which became my first project. Shortly after its completion, I decided to sell up and move back to Kent; where I designed and converted a series of stables into a cottage for myself. Fast forward a few more years, following my brother’s wedding in KwaZulu Natal in early 2000s, I fell in love with South Africa and moved to Hout Bay with my family in 2003. Since this relocation, I have been involved with the design and construction of numerous high-end residential properties here in Cape Town. My passion for property is equally shared with my stepfather and partner in this endeavor: Michael Simonow.
Q: Please can you give me some background to the estate?
A: 26 Marais Rd is a consolidation of five erven in Scott Estate, Hout Bay. This area has proven to be one of the most sought after in the valley, and thus ultimately a prime location for this small and exclusive security estate.
Q: What makes 26 Marais Rd a unique lifestyle and investment proposition?
A: The views are unbeatable: every single plot in this development has unobstructed picture perfect views of the bay and surrounding mountains. The lay of the land is superb; as the property slopes from South to North as well as East to West. This means that the homes built on the lower portions will not obscure the sea views of those positioned on the upper slopes.
It is envisioned to be a small, private, and intimate security estate in one of the most in-demand areas in Hout Bay. It is also perfectly sheltered from the infamous Cape South-Eastern wind. It ensures for pure tranquility for all residents whilst allowing them to enjoy the sunrise from behind, as well as the sunset in full frontal view framed by the bay.
The estate is also perfectly positioned in that it’s in very close proximity to the beach, hiking paths, world-class restaurants, a lively harbour market, grocery stores, breweries, as well as good schools. With such a vibrant and friendly community, Hout Bay is really a wonderful place to live.
Q: You mention that 26 Marais Rd places emphasis on sustainability, please can you elaborate further?
A: Right from the development’s commencement, we have been cognisant of minimizing the harmful environmental impact that the project could cause.
After our purchase of the land, the initial house was dismantled and every element of its structure, that could be repurposed, was reused.
Throughout the civil works process, we made use of all the natural materials available on site, thus avoiding the need for unnecessary importation and additions to landfill.
Ultimately, our passion for environmental sustainability, in turn, motivated our decision to hand dig and crane off many of the trees that were in the way of the proposed civil works, which ordinarily would have been felled. These have been planted elsewhere in the valley and continue to flourish today!
The building guidelines encourage homes to be built using thermally efficient doors and windows, solar panels, energy-efficient lighting, and grey water reticulation systems etc. This ensures that all plots will be as off-grid as possible, substantially reducing their respective day-to-day running costs and negative impact on the environment once the construction is complete.
Landscaping guidelines advocate for indigenous planting only, to protect the local ecosystem whilst creating a nurturing environment for local wildlife to thrive.
Q: What is your rationale for using one architect for 26 Marais Rd?
A: I have worked closely with Francois Geldenhuys for several years, and I can assure that he is the clear for choice for the sole architect to be commissioned to design these properties. Aside from his creativity and talent for house design, he is extremely easy to work with, he listens and pays close attention to the wishes of his clients, he understands the importance of light and physical impact of the building footprint, and just has a real gift of bringing views and natural light right into the home whilst maintaining individual privacy.
The decision to work with one architect further benefits the homeowner as each unit will be designed to fit coherently with the others, through the architect’s thorough understanding of the lay of the land and the interaction between the buildings. Emphasis will be placed, not only on the individuality of every plot’s design, but also on ensuring maximum privacy for each home. I simply cannot recommend Francois enough.