By Janine Jorgensen, Project Consultant Michael Daly, Photography David Ross and Barend Roberts
To escape to the country often means going away for a weekend free of traffic and bright city lights. The owners of this house, however, don’t have to venture far, as their country retreat is, in fact, home.
Situated on a golf estate between Pretoria and Johannesburg, the property offers uninterrupted rural views, which the designer wanted to incorporate into the design of the house. Another factor that had to be taken into account was the estate’s parameters for building, which included a pitched roof and specific natural materials. And the owners wanted plenty of space for outdoor living and entertaining.
From all of this, the design evolved into a “contemporary farmhouse”, says the designer. It is airy, due to double-volume ceilings, and practical, with an open-plan layout, while exhibiting a modern style that is free of unnecessary decorative elements.
The house was positioned to face north, so that it would benefit from garden vistas in every room and natural light all year round, with overhangs providing protection in summer, but allowing the sun to enter the rooms in the winter months.
The ground floor is dedicated to open-plan living, with the kitchen, dining room and sitting area flowing easily into one another and – when the frameless, folding doors are open – to the outdoors, where the lanai becomes an extension of the space. Here there are additional dining and seating areas, a bar, and a braai for entertaining or a casual family meal.
Linking the upstairs to the ground floor is the timber staircase, a feature in its own right as it floats above the floor plane, with the wall clad in natural stone to form a backdrop for the striking sculpture at the entrance of the house.
A bridge with a glass balustrade connects the two upstairs sections of the house, with the en-suite children’s bedrooms on the western side and the main bedroom situated on the east wing. The bedrooms all have access to the outdoors through their own balconies.
With such spaciousness, and an extensive use of glass, the interior designer chose furnishings for a welcoming, comfortable ambience, making use of warm, natural materials, such as wood and stone; and motifs of nature, including a nod to the rural environment with a pair of sheep sculptures in the living area.
In each area, a limited palette of softer colours has been used, such as the white and wood kitchen or grey-toned master bedroom, which adds to the atmosphere of tranquillity.
The finishes also remain true to the architecture of the home, emphasising modern, clean lines that would not detract from the beauty of the surroundings.
The overall result is visual continuity in every aspect of the house, both inside and out.