The Ridge, July 2017.
In every sense, this private home is an exquisite take on contemporary style that opens up to reveal carefully considered spaces representative of the relaxed indoor-outdoor lifestyle ideally suited to South Africans.
This new home is nestled in the heart of Umhlanga Manors upon the very last greenfield site available in the area. The challenges of low height restrictions, a confined site area and reasonably steep gradients governed the design of this compact, single-storey residence. Fine attention to detail and spatial innovation in the development and design of the project, also translates into the interior design and finishing of the home.
The Architects on the project, Sphere Design and Architecture, evolved the Gray House home into a contemporary take on a verandah aesthetic, making use of clean lines and simple design principles to achieve a series of transitional spaces. To cope with the space limitations, the home was designed to open out onto a central outdoor living area, creating a private, insular space that blurs the threshold between indoor and outdoor living. Entertainment, family living and movement through the home are centered around the courtyard, which forms a calming pause space. Sphere then layered this understated simplicity with the meticulous design of a bespoke kitchen, bathrooms and joinery details which, together with careful lighting and textural variations, create a clean-lined yet warm atmosphere
High volumes, a minimalist palette and large openings in the façade maximise the feeling of open space and tranquility, while the careful use of screens and landscaping provide privacy for the very discreet clients.
Sphere also placed an emphasis on sustainable building principles through the use of careful orientation, maximising natural light and ventilation as well as a low maintenance landscape solution. These basic principles are supplemented with an extensive solar energy system that allows the home to function off the municipal grid.
The interior, decorated by M&M Designs, continues the theme of relaxed yet refined living with a focus on subtle style, combined with statement furnishings and designer finishes. This translates into a reflection of the external space, which influenced the natural materials, and calming colour palette of the walls.
Not everything about this home is low-key. M&M successfully combined diverse textures, also featuring statement decorative accents, including a wooden chandelier above the dining room table, industrial sliding cabinet doors in the kitchen and bold wallpaper in the bedrooms to create an interior that is engaging and unique. They achieved this seamlessly while ensuring the relationship between minimalism and personal expression is always maintained.
The décor creates a meeting place for nature and sophistication through accessories as well as the use of natural materials like wood, wicker and leather. M&M have succeeded in creating a leisurely and refined living space.
This home epitomizes the balance achieved with successful collaboration between landscape, architecture and interior design.