By Karien Slabbert, Project Consultant Lorna Ioakim, Property Coordinator Gina Waldman-Balkind, Photography Irma Bosch

When the young professional couple decided to build their family home in this country estate, they saw it as a long-term investment in a quality lifestyle, and a safe place to raise their two young daughters. The estate presented the ideal solution to country living with easy access to bustling Sandton, Johannesburg. The fact that they had nature on their doorstep sealed the deal.

Their brief to the architect, who is well known for his work in the estate, was to create a contemporary French home that reflects a timeless design aesthetic, rather than a fleeting trend. “We wanted an easy-flowing and simple design, not a lot of corners and turns,” explains the owner. “Our architect read us very well,” he notes, “and we made only minor changes to his original design”.

The house was designed around the owners’ focus on an inclusive lifestyle. “We maximised the space of our living areas, which lead to the large verandah, while the bedrooms were kept compact,” explains the owner, adding that the double-volume interiors offer a sense of freedom. “The house is geared towards open-plan living, which allows us to remain in touch as a family at all times, especially while our children are still young.”

The centre island in the open-plan kitchen epitomises this approach, allowing the owners to remain part of the action when entertaining. “Our guests love pulling up a chair and sharing in the cooking experience.

Opening up the sliding doors also allows for the chef to connect with the guests on the verandah,” he says.

Be it with their children, family or friends, the owners want to create a laid-back, comfortable environment where people can kick off their shoes and stay for dinner. “We didn’t want anything to come over as flashy or bling. Rather, we wanted a warm, welcoming home that reflected our personalities.” The muted palette and a well-curated mix of comfortable, yet stylish furniture, are an expression of this design narrative. “Our interiors are decorated with personal items that we have collected over the years. Every piece tells a story and has history. With two kids running around, we believe in practical and comfortable furniture,” explains the owner.

The couple followed the same mindful approach with their garden, where indigenous grasses and aloes merge seamlessly with the Highveld setting, while a copse of combretum trees steals the show. “The pre-existing trees were a real bonus when we found our stand, and we wanted to incorporate them in to the design. They’ve become a real talking point.”

Whether it’s mountain-biking, lunch on the verandah or going for a walk along one of the green routes in the estate, the active family of four loves spending quality time together. “It’s a great location for an outdoor lifestyle,” says the owner of their little slice of paradise.