Set in a residential community in hot and humid South Africa, this design by Nico Van Der Meulen Architects combines stunning glass-walled luxury with a careful integration of well-made outdoor features. The home is designed to take advantage of the sun’s position throughout the year, with windows and awnings positioned to let in as much light as possible by winter and to provide shade during summer. It also contains a number of unique touches, such as a private hallway leading to the master suite which runs above the home’s pool. All of this contemporary creativity is made even more impressive by the fact that the dwelling isn’t even a new construction; it’s a renovation of what was once a date brick family house. In fact, more than 1,600 square feet of floor space was added during the transformation of the house, which still shares the structural bones with the original building.
Inside, the transformation of the residence is equally as impressive. The architecture firm’s own in-house interior design studio, M Square Lifestyle Necessities, oversaw material and furniture selection, blending colors and textures to produce an interior that is comfortable and luxurious, yet definitively modern at the same time. Many of the original rooms of the abode were pushed outward and upward, and entirely new rooms were added as well. Wood, stone, glass, and metal are all found throughout the house, with no one material asserting dominance. The only major theme inside is the focus on outward views provided by the house’s large windows, overlooking the courtyard and other sections of lawn.
Once a humble suburban family home, this dwelling has been radically reinvented under a contemporary design philosophy. On the outside, glass and metal beams rule the day in squared-off geometric fashion, giving every room significant window space.
It’s extremely hard to tell that this modern abode is a renovation, since every aspect of its architecture has been entirely reinvented and expanded by the architects. The house itself has gained glass walls, exposed metal structure, and square footage, while the property around it has been landscaped in an entirely new fashion with grass-level wooden decks and serene water features.
The master bedroom occupies a separate wing of the house entirely, using a bridge-style hallway elevated over the dwelling’s pool to truly distinguish it from the rest of the rooms. The bridge is open-air by design, but can be closed off with glass wall panels during winter or foul weather.
The bedroom bridge effectively obscures the view of the parts of the house which lie beyond it, creating a courtyard with the pool at its center. This fully-contained outdoor space is the exterior center point of the residence, with direct access from the master bedroom, kitchen, and living room.
Swimmers can pass right underneath one of the house’s hallways in their pool activities, while they’re always only steps away from the amenities of the first-floor public rooms and within the gaze of upstairs bedrooms.
Just off the kitchen, an outdoor dining room enjoys the protection of a large patio roof and privacy of a courtyard location with all of the fresh air provided by a lack of walls. On warm nights, this luxurious wood-paneled room can take the place of a similar dining room inside for relaxed evening meals.
The courtyard is usable at any time of day or night, with bright lights installed in the deck ceiling, pool, and even various pieces of outdoor furniture.
By night, light streams through the wood slats at various points of the house. The slats serve a very real purpose, too, oriented to keep sun out during summer and let it in when winter comes.
The front of the house features far less glass than the view from any other angle, since the home located in a populated suburban neighborhood. The grounds are well-kept, and the lawn is interspersed with low-lying gardens, especially along the structure’s edge.
A few water features at the front of the house give a suggestion of the aquatic focus beyond its privacy-preserving walls, in addition to a small wood-slatted entry foyer reminiscent of the pool deck in its courtyard.
The house has three major interior spaces, as well as a number of other minor rooms. The largest of these sections is a daytime living space stretching two stories tall, with two sitting rooms, a kitchen, and a dining room. This central space is also a transit zone, with pathways to the courtyard, the home’s front door, private upstairs rooms, and the separate master suite.
The advantages of having an accomplished interior design company within an architecture firm becomes fully apparent inside, where every little detail of each space is well-thought-out, customized, and coordinated with the luxuriously serene modernity seen on the building’s exterior.
The dwelling’s main space is divided in two sections by the continued visual cues provided by the bridge hallway at its interior edge, with sitting rooms on one side and kitchen amenities on the other. Windows inside this two-story public room look out over three different edges of the residence.
The staircase wraps around as it ascends in three flights, terminating at a landing which overlooks all the home’s public spaces. A hallway which lead beyond the landing, above the garage and over to private second-floor rooms.
Under the staircase at the front edge of the home, a second living area makes use of the remaining floorspace on the bottom level. Take note of some of the details which make this house distinctly luxurious, such as the stone-filled basin underneath the steps and the fully wood patterned door at the room’s interior side.
This second sitting area is smaller and more closely arranged than the first, with a single-story height underneath a top-floor room. The environment within is suited more for family gatherings than hosting guests, which would take place principally in the other living space.
Nico Van Der Meulen Architects