PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink WORDS Tracy Greenwood
Dieter Losskarn’s sprawling house on the slopes above Hout Bay harbour is a motor enthusiast’s dream.
Of course, there is a front door, but Dieter prefers to use his four-car garage to usher in guests. Little wonder, really, because his singular passion in life is motorcars, and the Checker taxicab that enjoys pride of place in the garage, all sunshine yellow paintwork and shiny chrome, sets the tone for what’s to come.
Obsessed with wheels since the age of 11 – when he first laid eyes on a yellow taxicab in a movie and vowed that one day he would have one – Dieter is palpably excited when he talks about the car. “This cab is the one from the movie Carlito’s Way,” he says, referring to the 1993 Al Pacino thriller set in New York. This garage is no cluttered storage space of junk and tools. It is a room where Dieter spends time playing music and chilling out.
The garage-cum-lounge sets the style tone for the rest of the house. High-gloss polyurethane floors reminiscent of those in fancy car workshops – in a shade Dieter calls crème brûlée – feature throughout the house, from the garage to the open-plan bedroom and bathroom on the top floor, with enviable views across the bay.
Dieter’s home is a repository of “rustworthy” objects, from old enamel advertising and street signs collected on his travels through Africa, Germany and beyond, to oil tins and petrol pumps. Even the interior doors were left outside to weather and rust, and only once Dieter was satisfied with their look did he hang them in their frames. True to the warehouse theme, the upstairs living areas are warmed by pops of colourful paintwork and the use of decorative elements like Nguni hide rugs.
Dieter’s narrative continues in his scrubby coastal garden, where, sandblasted by the elements, stands the remains of a 1960s Mercedes-Benz 200SE. “I used to smoke fish in it,” says Dieter, “until the southeaster blew the bonnet clean off; now it’s my braai.” Next to the driveway is the remains of a Chevy bakkie. Its presence may be inspired by the vintage car wrecks in the Namib Desert, but again Dieter has put it to good use: it serves as a garden shed.
Pretty much the architect and interior designer of the space, Dieter only called in the experts to bring his detailed sketches to life. “I wanted my home to reflect my personality and the things that matter to me,” he says. The result is an open-plan industrial-stylespace with an abundance of raw steel and traditionally masculine touches, a dwelling that has been designed to maximise the expansive views across the bay and serve as a gallery for Dieter’s collection of curiosities… especially the enamel signage.
“The signs are souvenirs from my travels, which makes them something of a memoir for me. They tell my story,” he says.