location: Zimbali Estate, KwaZulu-Natal | architecture: Kevin Lloyd of Kevin Lloyd Architects assisted by Karin Roestorf and Rowan Parry | interior design: Anne York Interiors | photography: Peter Oravecz

Zimbali Coastal Forest Estate was originally sugar cane land and part of an old colonial farm. This location was one of the last sections of the estate to be released and it presents some of the best views of the Indian Ocean and beach.

On a site size of 1 532 square metres, architect Kevin Lloyd crafted a family holiday home of 500 square metres; excluding yards, roof terraces, decks, pool and carport / pergola area. The coverage permitted here is 35 percent and the built structure includes all covered areas, basements and garages.

The brief to the architects was for a modern Zimbali family home, which would maximise indoor / outdoor living, while taking every advantage of what are sweeping vistas. What resulted is a substantial build with five bedrooms en suite and essentially open-plan living areas that access generously covered outdoor areas, terraces and a courtyard. A prerequisite was for an interior signature with a mix of traditional and contemporary style, which would incorporate relaxed holiday living – typical of the Mediterranean cultures.

Kevin Lloyd recalls: ‘This site was south-east facing with ocean views and inland views to the south-west. Access was from the north in the bottom corner and the site sloped steeply to the south and across its span more gently to the east. To achieve this special house, of clean form and uncluttered spaces with the maximisation of view opportunities from all rooms, was challenging. This included the courtyard with floor-to-slab and wall-to-wall glass shop fronts that provided fantastic views, yet with privacy, sun and weather challenges that needed to be addressed. The folding and sliding movable fins, aluminium shutters and timber-slat hinged panels provided a perfect solution that allow views, but with privacy and security.

‘Entertaining and kicking back were key to what the client wanted here. The areas had to belong to the family both individually and as a group, everyone was to have their special space with its own story. Artists were employed to paint murals and to sculpt pieces, which had meaning to individuals and the family as a whole.

‘The Greek ancestry of the client family, together with my experiences of travels to the Greek islands and other Mediterranean regions, led me to want to make the structure part of – and integral to – the site. Hence, we dug the building into the slope to create the ‘outdoor room’: a courtyard with the built forms on the perimeter. Across the Mediterranean, buildings often use the roof as a fifth elevation and for outdoor rooms.

‘We always strive to make our clients’ homes unique to them and their site. Most new builds now tend to be in estates with architectural and planning guidelines, created and managed to ensure control and uniformity based on an architectural style, which is popular and marketable. This presents a challenge, yet we have been successful in most cases and specifically here in achieving an interpretation unique to our brief and design concept.

‘Zimbali ‘Balinese’ architecture is slowly being morphed with more flat concrete roofs, grey concrete, timber elements and dark grey / black tones. The double pitch clay roof tiles, dark timber and sombre earthy colours are being replaced with the above-mentioned style.’

‘The concept for this house was presented before these changes became popular. Because of its steeper slopes, the golf course section of Zimbali was more suited to rectangular forms, which enabled the second story in the roof space where the Arts and Crafts movement was employed to drive the architectural language. Yet it was not popular as the roof space / second story presented a challenge insofar as including the many large bedrooms clients demanded upstairs.

‘However, I’ve always been very inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. Here, it provided the direction for the clean, rectangular and gable-ended building form, together with the continuous shuttered bay window style, thus complying with the double pitch requirement. The flat roof spine visible in the courtyard also complies – where flat roofs were allowed as linking elements – and is treated as a shuttered element.’

The interior design team was part of the project from the outset so as to ensure a totally integrated solution to the clients’ brief. They had worked previously for the family and understood the intimacy required in their personal spaces.

Anne York and Michele Roux of Anne York Interiors handled this project. They say: ‘The house is used regularly for weekends and holidays and is shared with the extended family, friends and business associates from overseas. It provides a perfect venue for the clients in being so open, sunny and airy with various indoor and outdoor options for relaxing and entertaining.

Newsletter Sign Up