By Karien Slabbert, Project Consultant and Property Coordinator Lorna Ioakim, Photography Nic Baleta

When shaping a family home, there are certain prerequisites – comfort, functionality and practicality usually top the list. But it takes a clear plan and keen eye for detail to weave in elegant touches. The owners of this modern barn-style home in a country estate managed to strike the perfect balance between sophistication and liveability.

“As we have small children, we wanted our house to look good, but it also had to be practical. With this in mind, we chose decor that’s stylish, but not too fussy – we really live in our house and use our spaces,” says the owner.

The laid-back, welcoming vibe is tangible throughout the light, airy spaces. With three children running about, the home is always abuzz with activity. “It’s a fun space where we can enjoy each other’s company,” says the owner.

The house is geared for integrated, open-plan living, and the kitchen, living areas and patio seem to merge seamlessly. The owners made sure that the various zones throughout the house optimised the available floor space. The kids’ playroom is tailor-made for endless hours of fun and games, while mom and dad kick back and relax in the lounge or on the large patio.

“We’ve also created work spaces, a study area for the children to do their homework and a home office. As we have a large, extended family which visits often, we built on a guest room that’s separate from the house, so that everyone has their privacy,” explains the owner. The artful design of the home was informed by the long, skinny property. “We wanted to use the space wisely and not build a double-storey house in the one corner, with a football field for a garden,” explains the owner.

The architect’s solution was a series of “barns” that house the main areas, which are connected with passages and courtyards. Most of the rooms face north, which ensures ample natural light.

In terms of the exterior, the owners had to keep within the guidelines of the estate. “Our house is a mixture of farm-style design with modern features like large windows, exposed trusses, and a fair amount of steel and aluminium.” The owners relish the fact that they live in the security of an estate. “It has changed the way we live. There are no high walls or electric fences around individual houses to create a sense of security. It’s a safe haven in a metropolis like Johannesburg. We feel as if we live in the countryside, yet we’re still connected to big-city living.”

What more can one ask for than a slice of countryside, with the city on your doorstep?