House Boz is a spacious and luxurious residence designed by Nico van der Meulen Architects situated on a hill within a secluded nature estate in Pretoria, South Africa. The clients requested that this stunning contemporary four bedroom house had an emphasis placed on the design of the living rooms. Ensuring that the magnificent views were optimized was of utmost importance and the design of this 8,288 square foot (770 square meters) house responds well not only to the client’s requirements but also to the context of the site.
The concept of a bush lodge arose from the vastness of the site and the natural setting of the stand within the estate. Werner van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects was inspired to design a house that resembled a bush lodge in the way it responds to nature and its immediate surroundings. Translating this concept into a contemporary home was almost effortless thanks to the location, orientation and natural beauty of the site.
Phia van der meulen and the M Square Lifestyle Design team strategically linked spaces through their use of various natural materials in the interior spaces. The design exposes the truth of the materials by using them in their purest form such as incorporating in situ-concrete, quartzite cladding and rusted mild steel in the design.
Regardt van der Meulen’s original steel sculptures were chosen for the project, as they fitted perfectly with the steel theme of the project.
Approaching the stand via a long driveway, you are afforded the opportunity to appreciate the design from a distance before actually getting close enough to appreciate its spaces. The striking square and rectangular forms are strategically positioned to capture your attention while the rusted steel boxes and stone-cladded walls aid in camouflaging the house creating a sense of unity between building and site.
The stretched screen walls seem to want to reach beyond their borders while floating steel boxes are gracefully suspended in mid air. The prominent east-west and north-south axes link and connect all the spaces while this point of collision and interception of the axes becomes the center of the home and it is here where we find the living room and covered patio. Thanks to the views being orientated towards North, the entire Northern facade has the ability to open up and live out onto the expansive views thus also naturally lighting and heating the house in winter, while carefully designed overhangs and brise-soleil keep the summer sum out.
The entrance hall positioned between the double garages is distinctively located alongside a partially covered atrium that gently introduces you to several views through the house as you’re welcomed in. The koi pond introduces water as you approach the front door while various podiums add depth and dimension to this space. An elevated sculpture podium and interlocking planters bring this atrium to life. At the same time it makes it possible to sleep with open doors as it is impossible to get into the atrium once the Mentis grating gate to the driveway is locked.
Every design decision communicates and reinforces the concept, as can be seen in the selection of materials used and the way the internal spaces relate to the outdoors. Limiting the choice of materials to predominately natural materials and earthy colors, it is evident that even the smallest of details make reference to the concept in a very unique way. Initially the site revealed itself as a mound of quartzite rock which was excavated and hand cut for the gabion walls and the stone cladding used throughout the house.
The double volume entrance hall is framed by a back-lit perforated skin of scaffolding boards bolted to a wall, creating the perfect backdrop for the sculptural looking concrete staircase with steel inlays and the sculpture under it by Regardt van der Meulen.
The interiors feature linear and monolithic forms that complement the architect’s vision for this house. Many of the functional elements were designed to become beautiful features that visually connect the spaces and create links throughout the house rather than just remaining purely functional. An example of this would be the way the staircase relates to the aluminum ceiling which features in both the main living room as well as in the main bedroom.
The selection of furniture pieces once again continued this theme where splashes of orange were used in the living room making reference to the orange seen in the rusted metal cladding. The overall charcoal color range used in this house complements the shades of grey found in the off shutter concrete walls.
The kitchen overlooks the lanai and garden while the frameless folding doors create an invisible threshold between the inside and out. These doors, when completely open, allow for the kitchen and dining room to overflow onto the lanai and bar, making entertaining effortless and enabling adults to keep an eye on children in the pool, a mere meter away.
The lanai with a sunken jacuzzi is snugly positioned between the pool on one side and a stone-cladded wall on the west which screens the afternoon sun to ensure the lanai’s temperature remains moderate. It is these design decisions that truly set this house apart from the rest.
All four en suite bedrooms are situated on the first floor with all of the bedrooms having their own private balcony. The three children’s bedrooms are situated on the western wing of the house while the main bedroom is located on the eastern wing. A suspended walkway with steel sheeting as floor tiles, overlooking the atrium links the two wings and creates a sense of privacy for the main bedroom.
Challenges arose during the construction process; however Nico van der Meulen Architects clearly pushed the boundaries on this design. This house prides itself in its design for luxury indoor/outdoor living in the heart of nature where internal spaces effortlessly expand beyond their often invisible borders to a world of beauty outside.
The variety and combination of textures used in this design create a synergy in this home which makes it truly unique.
Photos: Courtesy of Nico van der Meulen Architects
House Dukken is an open plan glass and steel home designed by Nico Van Der Meulen Architects, situated in Meyersdal Eco Estate, Johannesburg, South Africa. Gracefully positioned within a secured nature reserve that affords you the privilege of appreciating the comfort of outdoor living, this particular home was inspired by its own setting. The clients requested a spacious modern home that expressed its appreciation for outdoor living. Situated in a private eco estate, it was crucial that this dream house opened onto the garden. Consequently the design developed into a layout that encouraged such a lifestyle. With views to the garden from almost every room, and large living areas that seamlessly flowed out onto the covered patio, this 7,254 square foot (674 square meters) home merges the thresholds between inside and outside. As the site slopes towards the street, terraces were built with gabions and natural rocks to enclose the north side, with the highveld savannah beyond it where game roams.
The concept incorporated the idea of floating elements which resulted in distinctive features that distinguish this house as a Nico van der Meulen masterpiece. The concept is clear and evident from the moment you arrive as your attention is drawn to floating planes hovering above you, as if suspended in mid air. Upon closer inspection these planes appear to be the main roof structure which at first seemed to be more of a decorative feature rather than a functional requirement. It is this very principle in design that creates beautiful and practical houses which become architectural works of art.
The site has a southern entry which was favorable in that it allowed for the entire northern facade where all the living rooms are positioned to open up onto a private north facing garden. The site sloping upwards towards the north also resulted in the garden having to be stepped and terraced with gabion walls creating interest even in the landscaping.
Having a garden that is on a different level can often pose the problem of a disconnection between the covered patio and the pool/garden area. It was of utmost importance to ensure that the house and garden still related and interacted as one space rather than two disconnected areas. This was achieved by leveling the pool area and terracing the upper parts of the garden.
The best part of this design is the way the entrance entices your curiosity with long stone cladded screen walls and once inside, the transparency and openness of this home that lies behind these solid entrance walls creates interesting contrast.
At the glass front door, an interesting contrast is created by the transparency and openness behind the solid entrance walls. You can catch a glimpse of the floating staircase as you move through the house, giving the home an airy feel.
Moving through the house and catching a glimpse of the floating staircase, you are drawn in by the transparency and openness of this home. Escorted graciously through the living spaces into the garden, you are once again introduced to what seems to be a floating block hovering in mid air which in fact is the main bedroom. The concept of floating elements was evident from every perspective and vantage point making sure this home always captivated your attention.
Natural materials were carefully selected and strategically placed throughout the home serving as gentle reminders of the serene location this house finds itself in. The selection of materials assisted in ensuring the house blends in discreetly with its natural surroundings while earthy colors unify the site with the home. Splashes of color were used to liven the interior spaces with emphasis given to textures and furnishings.
Photos: Courtesy of Nico Van Der Meulen Architects
Gardens Cape Town house is a contemporary renovation and addition by Grobler Architects of a semi-detached Victorian cottage in the Gardens area in Cape Town, South Africa. Renovations to the cottage included conversion into a home office with guest suite. Period features and finishes were reinstated with new external timber doors, sash windows and shutters as well as new services, joinery and external landscaping.
An existing 1970’s extension to the rear of the property was then demolished with a new 3-storey 2,045 square foot (190 square meters) contemporary addition to the existing cottage. Accommodation included a basement double garage and an open-plan ground floor with kitchen, dining and living areas leading onto a terrace with koi pond and indigenous planting. The master bedroom was located on the first floor with planted terrace, dressing room and master bathroom with private courtyard.
Finishes included white marble and black granite surfaces to the kitchen and bathroom, white duco sprayed joinery, porcelain floor tiles and white epoxy floor finish to the first floor.
Photos: Clinton Grobler
Leobo Private Reserve ultra-cool luxury villa surrounded by 12,000 acres of pristine African wilderness in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Unlike any other game lodge, the villa is only available on an exclusive use basis, totally private and yours to enjoy. The main house is simply stunning. Designed by award winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, this private house is state of the art and even has a fully automated research-grade observatory tower to view the night sky in world class conditions.
There is a full team of staff to make your stay one of complete luxury and relaxation, including butlers and a talented private chef. The house will take your breath away, but the real star of the show is the 12,000 acre private game reserve / playground on your doorstep. The Leobo Private Reserve is fantastically well equipped for fun – there are quad bikes, dirt buggies, horses, mountain bikes, motor bikes, helicopters, clay shooting, fishing and more, all to use at your leisure, with no rules or time constraints.
See the abundance of wild game on horseback, quad or from the comfort of a Land Cruiser, all with the commentary of an expert. The experienced bush guides can take you animal tracking and show you the wonders of nature on the reserve. Forget timetabled game-drives. Here it’s just you and the bush (with of course the team of experienced staff) so you can do what you like, when you like.
Sleeping six, rates at Leobo Private Reserve range from $28,803 to $70,078, from here.
Pearl Valley 276 has been designed by interior architecture firm Antoni Associates as barefoot luxury living on the exclusive Pearl Valley Golf Estate located near Paarl, just 30 minutes outside of Cape Town, South Africa. The home was designed for a young family re-locating to the Western Cape, looking to change from city living to a more relaxed country lifestyle in which to bring up their young family. Designed around a central pool, this home focuses on family entertainment with an emphasis on the use of natural materials. The interiors boast a sporty elegance and laid back coolness.
The owners approached Antoni Associates to create an interior that was modern but with an emphasis on ‘barefoot luxury’ and the use of natural materials. The design approach by Mark Rielly and Jon Case was to focus on the use of natural organic materials such as timber and stone. These tactile materials add a sense of homeliness and warmth to the contemporary architecture. Timber flooring was used throughout, which contrasts with the raw off-shutter concrete ceilings, warm stone and marble cladding.
The owners of this home love to entertain and wanted the house to reflect their lifestyle. The informal family spaces include an open plan kitchen, informal dining and open bar, all linked to the entertainment lounge. A feature marble clad two-sided fireplace divides and screens off the family lounge from the spa room. These areas of the house flow out onto the outdoor entertainment deck with a sunken outdoor boma (a typical South African outdoor enclosure). Here timber seating is casually arranged around an open fire.
The furniture is modern and complementary to the experience of the home. The clients’ love for color has been introduced with injections of bold prints and vibrant fabrics. Bespoke furniture from OKHA Interiors is featured throughout. A combination of bold and discreet lighting was used to create a “wow” factor and the layering of lighting set various moods. Subtle lighting has been incorporated in all recesses and feature bulkheads to give a warm glow to peripheral edges. Concealed lighting has also been used to highlight and accentuate the organic natural finishes.
Photos: Adam Letch
Clifton House 2 is an incredible modern property nestled on a hilltop site in Cape Town, South Africa, designed by Peerutin Architects. Solving the design problem of the site being on a steep slope, the architects created as large an outdoor living space as possible while ensuring the occupants live primarily over a maximum of two floors. “Here, there was an additional constraint; due to the agreement with neighbors over subdivision of the property the house had to be wholly below Nettleton Road.”
The client wanted an architecture that was bold and earthy, as well as light and uncluttered. It also needed to optimize the beautiful views of Camps Bay, the 12 Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean and work for a family with a young child as well as for extensive entertaining and outdoor living. The Garage and Entrance level is accessed via a gentle cascade of steps or the vehicle ramp. From there one can proceed down using the lift which reveals glimpses of views over Camps Bay, or the timber clad stairs, which guides the visitor down while viewing part of the client’s extensive art collection.
The home opens up towards the landscaped garden, rim-flow pool and expansive outdoor entertainment area, including a sunken fire-pit and an outdoor play area.
The spaces are divided into a family living area and a more formal living/entertaining area. The family area links open plan kitchen to living room, study space and playroom while the formal lounge accesses the media room and bar.
The visitor is able to by-pass the private bedroom level, using the lift or the stairs, to arrive on the main Living level of the home.
The next level is the bedroom level housing the client’s bedroom suite and the children’s wing. The bedroom suite contains a private Bali Lounge, double bathrooms, his and hers dressing rooms as well as Pyjama Lounge with Kitchenette.
The lowest level of the house contains an office, a Gym with bathroom, steam room and Sauna, two guest rooms and, in a separate wing, two staff suites.
Photos: Peerutin Architects
Nestled in the cliff-top estate “The Cove at Pezula Estate” outside Knysna, on the west coast of South Africa, this home was designed by SAOTA Architects. The residence was integrated into the topography and natural color of the fynbos, maintaining a seamless connection with landscape and ocean. The contemporary interiors of this incredible family home was designed by Antoni Associates, featuring sea views from large expanses of windows to the East and South.
The idea was to create a living space with a single roof element floating over it that responded to the slope of the site. The roof is set at a high level so that it is hidden from the living space, creating the illusion that one is surrounded by the landscape. A triangular cut-out in the roof connects one with the sky. A solar analysis was done to eliminate direct sun from the building. A skylight hangs into the space to mitigate the scale of the double volume. Care was taken in selecting performance-glass that would minimize the impact of direct sun.
The choice of materials, off-shutter concrete, Rheinzink roofing, timber cladding, stone and exposed aggregate, allows the building to fade into the landscape as the materials age. One enters at the upper level of the double volume, looking towards the ocean. A grand stair draws one onto the living level which holds the kitchen, dining room and living room.
A spiral stair connects the living level to a private lounge and the master bedroom on a mezzanine level. This spiral staircase drops through the floor to a lower level which houses a guest bedroom, home theatre and a living room. An L-shaped wing houses the two children’s bedrooms.
In-keeping with a sustainable design approach, a huge underground cistern was created under the garden terrace to harvest rainwater, while a heat pump and water-based under floor heating system conserve energy.
Photos: Micky Hoyle Courtesy of VISI
Clifton Beach House is an incredible beach front property designed by ANTONI Associates that combines elegance, luxury and sophistication along one of the most pristine white beaches in Cape Town, South Africa. The client project brief was to renovate a ground floor double level apartment in a newly constructed luxury complex. The design of the original unit felt constricted and the Client wanted to add a fourth master bedroom suite. It was decided to reduce the size of the double volume and to increase the footprint of the apartment. Added to the brief was a wine cellar, a new study and a gym with sauna. The apartment was completely gutted and had to be re-configured throughout.
The design of the apartment complex resulted in a triangular shaped terrace wedged between the two sides of the building. The designers introduced a timber pergola that provides a shaded area as well as privacy from overlooking apartments. South African lifestyle allows for many months of outdoor living and the extensive terrace allows for areas for outdoor dining and lounging. A narrow lap pool extends the entire 20 meters width of the terrace. A sensual curve staircase leads to the first floor. Here, the designers created a sumptuous master en-suite bedroom. The master bathroom is luxuriously finished in white veined marble, chromed tap ware and stainless steel detailed vanities.
The apartment is entered on the lower ground floor where a formal entrance lobby was created by screening off the open plan kitchen. Here the designers introduced a screen wall with an enlarged portal window to create a view into the apartment. Despite reducing the size of the existing double volume some of this was retained in the entrance hall which is enclosed by frameless glass. A new sleek white contemporary kitchen was integrated and flows into the formal dining and lounge area. An elegant fireplace was placed in the formal living area and overall, there is a simplicity and purity of form with a basic palette of black and white. An eclectic mix of bespoke furniture and the placement of the Clients’ collection of South African art and sculpture gives the interior a curated experience.
The apartment is unique in its detail and quality of finish, the spaces are restful and sophisticated and reflect a living environment that is seductive and inspired by living.
Photos: Courtesy of ANTONI Associates
The SGNW House is a contemporary single family property designed by Metropole Architects, located in Zimbali, South Africa and was completed in 2011. The scope of the design project entailed clients who wished to create a dream house for their site in the Zimbali forest estate. Several bodies of water, including Koi ponds, water features and a rimflow swimming pool appear to coalesce into one, and flow through the house and out into the forest. The stacked roof is fragmented and linked with flat roof slabs, in correspondence to the spatial arrangement of the rooms below, which both scales and articulates the massing of the house. The main bedroom suite cantilevers six meters over the patio below, providing protection from the weather, as well as “wow” factor. Large amounts of glazing optimize views of the indigenous bush that encapsulates the house, and together with the palette of raw materials including natural timber, off shutter concrete, water and natural stone cladding, offset the clean architectural lines with a warmth and Zen like ambiance.
Photos: Grant Pitcher
French photographer Jean–Marc Lederman purchased this fabulous villa near the town of Llandudno at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. The original home was a boring two-storey brick box, but the view were spectacular and captured the spirit of the area. Lederman renovated the home, giving it scale and magnitude, he had long dreamed of living in a house that would have resembled the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Before beginning renovations, Lederman wanted to get a feel for the space, so he lived in the house for a year, studying how the light moved during the day and depending on the season. The first step of the architectural transformation was the basement, which was turned into a photo studio, then he created a spacious terrace with a swimming pool and an attached garage. The results of the design experiments seem to have been a success, the owner enjoys his photography studio and his daughter loves spending time on the terrace by the pool, and friends have found that the house is the best barbeque in the area of Cape Town
A few years after moving into the home, a fire on the top floor significantly damaged the roof and the ceiling. Instead of repairing the damage, Lederman decided to use fire in their favor and left the living room ceiling charred and the walls shabby.
Addressing the interior decor, Lederman first acquired modernist furniture and a few legendary items-chaise longue LC4 by Le Corbusier’s design, Pierre Jeanneret couch and Charlotte Perrian, Cassina, the Barcelona bench by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll, and several vintage chairs 1960 ‘s.
The stairs are Bali teak and the railing is beached sea trunks and boughs.
He chose wooden tables from the island of Bali and ethnic cushions.
“I also don’t want to forget that my house is located in Africa, so I added in the interior several tribal sculptures placed on the walls and paintings by contemporary South African artists”.
Photos: AD Magazine