Canadian keynote speaker, business advisor, editor of

Working globally, focusing on customer experience, design, trends, branding, innovation, tourism and retail

Tuija Seipell  (@tuijaseipell)

recent cool hunter

Articles written by Tuija Seipell and posted initially at

Since 2005, Tuija Seipell has been the editor of, one of the world’s oldest and most-read culture and design blogs. Her insights and observations connect with millions of readers each month, and some of her Classic articles have earned more than 8 million views. The massive TCH newsletter subscriber list reads like the Who’s Who of the global media, fashion, communications, design, architecture and lifestyle sectors.


KLOOF 119A: Private Residence, Cape Town, South Africa

Architect Greg Truen, director at the Cape Town-based SAOTA talked with The Cool Hunter about KLOOF 119A, a residence SAOTA designed for a client he knows well: Truen himself and his small family.

There was no need to interpret the brief as it was very clear: “To create a house that made the most of the mountain site and the views that surround the house while obscuring the busy street and the surrounding houses from the view.“

The sightlines are, indeed, worth preserving as the residence sits below Lion’s Head with views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, the city of Cape Town, the Boland mountains and the wine-growing region in the distance.

The architecture of the 850 square-metre (9,150 sq. ft.) residence takes full advantage of the views and also of the characteristics of the land on which the house is situated. Natural rock and stone, geometric angles and no visually annoying colour or material accents that break the spell.

To keep the busy street blocked away, the house’s street-front wall is an imposing, traditional Cape stone wall.

The entrance, a large metal front door between the stone wall and the house proper, opens into a small lobby connected to a courtyard garden.

The three-level house’s top level has the most impressive views and the key living spaces are located on this level: the open-plan kitchen, the dining room and lounge. The family’s work and bedroom spaces are on the mid-level with the garage, gym, cinema and guest room on the lower level.

Each level has its own gardens and courtyards. These gardens extend from the mountain surface down against the house, screening the neighbouring buildings and allowing light into spaces that would otherwise be dark and isolated.

Landscaping of the project is by Franchesca Watson Garden Design, known for elegant projects all across Southern Africa, North America and the Seychelles, ranging in scope from individual gardens to entire estates and hotel properties.

After living in the residence for about a year, Greg Truen is happy and still describes the project with words that echo the brief. “The spaces are simple use-zones articulated by level changes in the floor and ceilings. There are gardens on every level which extend into the view creating the impression that the building sits in the mountain landscape. The inverted pyramid roof allows for views of the peaks of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain and allows one to track the movement of the sun and moon across the sky.”

The classic and elegant interior design of this project is by Cape Town-based interior design studio OKHA.

Written by Tuija Seipell

Photographed by Adam Letch and Micky Hoyle