On an open piece of land, with a neighbour’s house to the south and two neighbours across the road to the west, architect Louise O Architects crafted this 750-square metre family home on a 1 300-square metre piece of land at the picturesque, secure and enviably equipped Waterfall Country Estate in Midrand.
The brief to the architect was to create a ‘contemporary farmhouse’ with primary emphasis on the entertainment areas, but which would also feature indoor / outdoor playroom spaces for the children. In turn, interior designer company Tiggs Crozet was tasked with creating a refined, contemporary interior with a generous measure of ‘lived-in warmth’.
Says architect Louise van der Walt: ‘I began by exploring the site, its unique characteristics and how these could be captured and incorporated intelligently with the client’s brief. We like to see problems more as challenges that can be solved creatively and in this instance, it was the extreme five-metre slope diagonally across the stand, which in the end informed the overall concept.’
Tiggs Crozet adds: ‘My aim was to ensure that the interiors would have a streamlined, modern feel that was in no way clinical. This was realised by using a palette that was a mix of quiet, sophisticated and timeless neutrals. It became my backdrop for an elegant and layered result; accents of colour and texture were added to ground the scheme and add a sense of drama. I drew inspiration from the look and feel of international, contemporary style signatures.’
The architect describes this structure as an ‘inverted’ double storey. ‘It’s quite different from the typical double storey family homes around it in that the bedrooms are all on the ground floor and the living areas sit above these on the first floor. The double volume entrance is carefully positioned between these levels so that visitors entering are naturally drawn to the upper-level living areas.
‘These elevated spaces enjoy views on the western side and spectacular sunsets from the ‘gin and tonic deck’ off the formal dining room. Because of the natural fall of the land and the split-level garden on the opposite side of the house, the living areas here open onto a large covered patio, pool area and garden at ground level. This extends into the estate’s communal green belt, where the children can enjoy further access to more outdoor space.
‘The bedrooms here all benefit from bay windows and French doors opening onto garden spaces; each bathroom has private landscaped courtyards which they directly access. This contributes to a boutique hotel / spa-like sense of calm and luxury.’
What was the major driving force for the architects in achieving the maximum throughout the overall project?
Louise van der Walt: ‘As architects, we aimed to use the stand to its best advantage so that the home could enjoy all the inherent, potential benefits that were particular to this site. The length of the stand faced north, but the views were to the west with the greenbelt to the east. We managed to maximise the north-facing aspect for all major living rooms and bedrooms, as well as open the main covered patio and entertaining area onto the greenbelt, while the deck off the formal dining room enjoys the western sunsets.
‘Coupled with how the house embraced the landscape, we also set out to design a classical contemporary home with a unique aesthetic that spoke of elegance and contemporary simplicity simultaneously. We achieved this through the layering of materials – which were finely crafted and detailed – within an overall simple but well proportioned form.’
Flooring by Oggie