* This article first appeared here in the Saturday Citizen.
Scarborough is often overlooked for some of the larger towns on the Cape peninsula – all the more reason for its appeal as an escape far from the maddening crowds – while still easily accessible at less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Since Scarborough is a conservation village further expansion is not permitted. As a result, the town is truly tiny – much smaller than the town’s British namesake – and a lot warmer too. Hankering after a seaside break I decided to visit the quaint village and couldn’t have been happier, discovering a three-level ocean-facing staycation in the form of Synergy Treehouse.
The dream property began its life as simply a boma or fire pit in the forest where Craig, the previous owner, wanted a place of sanctuary in the trees to enjoy evenings under the African sky. Synergy then developed into a man-cave that would be the envy of every surfer and ocean-lover – a double-story glass-encased home in the trees.
Sharing the story Craig notes: ‘The tranquillity of the garden and trees was established long before Synergy Tree House was thought of. This garden offered me a sense of grounding that was the starting point for the first of many visions for the home’s design. My priority was to create a well-groomed garden that takes little or no maintenance… and it had to be a place that shelters and feeds our diverse insect and bird life indigenous to the area.’
The property stretches upwards from the road, following the steep contour of the land. The ground level is home to the master bedroom, and then the pool deck, surrounded by sun loungers. A modern glass spiral staircase connects to the living area above with the lounge, bar, kitchen, and main dining deck. The boma with its cushioned seating continues the theme of outdoor-living.
Extensive decks wrap around the building both connecting the various spaces and giving plenty of space to soak up the outdoors. With the amount of glass – and the fact that almost every glass wall concertinas open – the transition between the inside out outside is completely blurred. The glass also adds to the illusion by constantly reflecting what it sees, with trees and oceans magically appearing in the house.
Lastly, the second bedroom is suspended high above the trees, with its bathroom built into the adjacent rocks. With these three levels, there are countless spaces for relaxing, all seamlessly flowing into each other. It’s difficult for this not to be a conscious-expanding experience as you’re gently ushered into the natural environment.
As the house gently cascades down the hill so does a central waterfall. With a touch of a button the water starts its journey on the deck, then behind a sheet of glass, flows down one of the walls in the master bedroom and then still under glass, makes a final journey along the floor before emptying into the pool below.
It’s clear that no expense has been spared with fitting out Synergy Treehouse. From the chic light switches that switch on or dim with a brief touch, to top-end appliance hiding behind the neolith-clad kitchen cupboards, to the TVs that at a touch of a button, appear magically from behind the beds.
Scarborough boasts its own postcard beach and borders the southernmost section of the protected Cape Point Nature Reserve and behind the village, the mountains of Table Mountain National Park form a formidable backdrop. In this wild setting, it is easy to leave behind the tangle of city life and embrace something truly out of the ordinary.
Make sure to bring all you need – there aren’t any grocery stores in Scarborough itself. A few properties away, however, you will find The Village Hub, which sports a coffee bar, small deli and shop, and restaurant that also offers takeaways. Do your best to blend in with barefoot locals gathered around tables discussing the best surf breaks for the day.
The striking vision for an uncluttered but classy union with the surroundings has been beautifully achieved at Synergy Treehouse – something current owners Bea and Patric can be infinitely proud of. After all, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic environment, than a three-level luxury house, perfectly hidden in the trees, with views out over the Atlantic Ocean. synergy-escape.com