Beach Cottage Life 1.0

So I just had my ‘Under The Tuscan Sun’ moment.
I threw years of caution to the wind and bought a beach cottage. One that requires just a little renovation… ok a lot of renovation, but that’s the fun part right?

Let me fill you in on the missing pieces to this crazy puzzle.

I turned 40, and am (happily) without child and husband. One would think – in today’s world – that this isn’t a big deal. Apparently it is. After the millionth question from strangers, family and friends, as well as what can only be described as an endless torrent of what I am sure moms consider to be beautiful babies being sent to me daily through WhatsApp and Facebook, combined with a particularly stressful week at work in a sunny Jozi January – I decided to take much needed creative R&R and go and hit Design Indaba for a week in Cape Town.


There was a little property I had been eyeing out online for a month or so. This gorgeous cottage was unfortunately just a titch out my price range. It had my name written all over those high pitched roofs with a view over Long Beach and Table Mountain. As I was down in the fairest Cape and free on Saturday – I thought – why not pop in and go and take a little look-see?

Well it was love at first sight. But it was when the agent pulled the hidden door out of the ceiling and steps appeared, that I was absolutely sold. All I could think of was the heady mix of secret 7 and famous 5 adventures I used to read as a child.

It’s a curious little house, I think curious is without doubt the best way to describe it. She is known lovingly by the locals as “The Upside Down House”. It’s Kommetjie, of course they name their houses. I do so love this community!


The kitchen and living area are currently upstairs – so you can appreciate the view when chilling on the couch or cooking. Who am I kidding. When pouring wine! She has big balconies, a hidden cellar, white pines floors under old carpets, and the most amazing bones that I think will make for the most beautiful renovation ever. She is also North facing, so the sun streams in from morning to night, and even in the depth of cold winter she is warm and cozy.

So I rifled under the mattress and summoned up all my pennies from the piggy bank, closed my eyes and said…
“You can have it all”.

It was still not enough, not even nearly enough. … But the Universe smiled on me. The lovely lady who owned this amazing little space was in her 70’s, and was moving back to her flat in Sea Point to be closer to her daughter and Grand-Child. After a nail biting week convinced I would never be able to take over the keys to this dream property – the agent phoned me and told me she was all mine.

It still feels surreal. Even sitting on my own couch, drinking tea from my mug, it still feels unreal. Very dream like.

This whole process has got me thinking back to my last renovation project. I thought perhaps I should share this with you – as in Jozi, if you are renovating, or doing handy home improvements, I am your go-to girl for who, what, when and where. There are such amazing crafts-people out there, I think you need to know about these amazing folk, and let’s face it, good help is hard to find, so when we find them, we should share!


I am still feeling my way around Cape Town – so as explore I want to take you on the Beach Cottage renovation 1.0 project, I want to bring you on the journey. This is going to be so much fun. Cape Town is filled with the most amazing artisans and I can’t wait to discover them!

So this is where we now stand.
40+ a month or two.
Beach Cottage: Epic Success..
Babies & Bride: I am good with this for now. Every process in life is part of a grand story. Who knows what the next few years will hold. In the meantime, I am living my dream, of Beach Cottage 1.0.

Next week, I will open my BigBlackBook of Jozi numbers and let you know who, what and where for your next home renovation project.

About me

Creative Director + Photographer and founder/owner of BigCityLife. Ingrid Alice is a Creative High End Commercial & Portrait Photographer who has her feet firmly on the ground and her aesthetic in Wonderland. A true-to-life marketing leader, her approach to brand development and image creation has been shaped by seventeen years in the international creative and design industries. Her practice is grounded in engaging concept driven design and bold advertising strategies. A whimsical flower child with a Rock and Roll Soul.  LOVES horses, vintage cameras, travel and tea.


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