By Jess Binns, Project Consultant Catherine de Vincenzo, Property Coordinator Judy Fogarty, Photographer Chris Allan

Nestled in a sought-after estate on the northern shores of greater Durban, is this striking new family home. As you approach from the driveway, you are given only a glimpse of the house. Straight away you get the feeling that this structure is subordinate to its surroundings, taking its lead from the natural undulations of the site.

An impressive double-door entrance at the base of the front steps is flanked by young indigenous trees, softening the surrounding exterior elements of stone flags, painted render and timber decking.

Once inside, you immediately look out onto the main feature of the home, a central atrium courtyard. Surrounded by the house on all four sides, the artificial grass-lined space has become another lounge for the family.

It was the owner who conceptualised the design, with a clear vision for what he intended to call “home”. Having to factor in five young children, the functionality of each space was paramount.

“It’s all about accessibility and visibility,” he explains. “We need to be able to see the kids, wherever we are in the house.”

The open courtyard is a conduit between the main living areas, more so once all stackable doors are folded back. With the help of a local architect, the design was refined to reflect the family’s wishes, as well as to meet the estate guidelines.

“Throughout the build it became more and more apparent that this style of home was perfect for the plot; like a fine wine, this house just keeps getting better with age,” the owner says.

The home has an understated, quiet feel to it. There are no brash or harsh colours here; the natural surroundings guided the finished product. Grey tones, fresh whites and natural woods such as oak are a complement to the greenery outside. Trees in the courtyard are strategically positioned to lose the sharp corners of the building, and a number of the rooms enjoy views out to the horse paddock below.

As the owner puts it: “I would describe our home as nature-loving, relaxed and secure. It really is our piece of paradise.”