By Karien Slabbert, Project Consultant and Property Coordinator Lorna Ioakim, Photography Bronwyn Greeff

“When my husband grew up, it was on a smallholding. We’ve always dreamt of a country-style home where we could be enveloped by nature,” the owner says of their home in Serengeti Golf Estate. Here they can enjoy the Highveld grassland landscape on their doorstep. “The beautiful sunrises and sunsets never cease to amaze us.”

An added bonus is that the couple’s three married children and four grandchildren also live in Serengeti, which creates a sense of community. “It’s the ideal setup. Although we live on our own, our children are a stone’s throw away, so we see each other often,” says the owner.

While planning their new home, the couple had a warm, inviting, open-plan design in mind. But mostly, they wanted their home to be a friendly, welcoming haven – “a happy place with a wow factor”, as the owner explains.

The architect articulated their brief to a T, designing a spacious, modern country-style home where laid-back style meets classic charm. A rustic finish was used for the exterior, and wood and stone cladding was added to create a richly textured aesthetic with a neutral underpinning that blends seamlessly with the natural surrounds.

The spacious double-volume interiors are geared for relaxed, integrated living. Thanks to the home’s lofty proportions and open design, the upstairs pyjama lounge offers a bird’s-eye view of the double-volume lounge, dining room and kitchen. Another design-savvy move was to opt for an enclosed dining area with stacking doors that open up to the pool area, so that the couple can enjoy nature in all its bounty and beauty, come rain or shine. “In summer, we fling open all the doors, so that it feels as if we’re sitting outside.”

The couple loves entertaining friends and family, which informed the open-plan interior layout. Downstairs, the kitchen is designed to make sure that the cook is always part of the action. “I love cooking and it’s nice to be able to chat to friends while I am busy organising a braai, or a cooked meal.”

There is also ample space for friends to stay over after a get-together. “With three en-suite bedrooms and one bedroom with a separate bathroom, our friends know they are always welcome to stay over after a long night, instead of driving home.”The decor reflects the owners’ personal style and personalities. “When we first moved in, I couldn’t decide how to arrange my furniture. I did a lot of research on the Internet and paged through countless magazines to get the right look for the interiors.” But a woman is allowed to change her mind (as many times as she likes). “While searching for one thing, I ended up with something else,” she quips.

As the owners like to travel, their home is filled with keepsakes from their visits across Africa, while many of the artworks were sourced from Clarence in the Free State. “Everything just came together in the end,” she notes of the perfectly curated interiors.

The busy couple, who have been married for 44 years, are real jetsetters. “We’re still involved in our family business, but we go on holiday about two or three times a year, so our lock-up-and-go setup suits our lifestyle perfectly.” Joie de vivre, indeed.