rules of engagement
Decorator David Carr and architect Peter Cohen’s guide to how they maximised the potential of every room in this Jo’burg home
‘Though the steel beams were a structural requirement, we decided to turn them into a decorative element by leaving them exposed,’ says architect Peter Cohen. By doing this he effectively unified the space by repeating the industrial linearity of the windows and doors as well as the steel pillars that run down the exterior walkways.
Don’t fudge the flooring
only two flooring materials were used throughout the house: timber (in the bedrooms and living areas) and concrete (in the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as the exterior). ‘This was the perfect way to marry the warmth that the client required with a more contemporary industrial feel,’ explains Peter. ‘This in turn meant that modern furniture pieces and antiques alike sit comfortable in the space.’
Blur the indoor/outdoor divide
Peter has created a clever architectural dialogue between indoor and outdoor spaces that distinguishes their individual identities while at the same time melding them into one space. ‘exposed brickwork is a defining quality of the exterior, though it is repeated internally to enhance a sense of openness,’ he says. ‘The slender proportions of the steel columns, however, allow for the least amount of visual obstruction whilst letting the most light into the interiors.’
Take chances with decor
‘The main living area was informed by the clients’ collection of fine art,’ says decorator david Carr, who championed a massive gillian ayres by hanging it above the fireplace while also giving pride of place to eileen gray works, too. Traditional pieces were also given an update; a mid-century chaise was reimagined in sunshine yellow while an heirloom coffee table was paired with modern Perspex pieces. ‘despite breaking all the “rules”, these elements work in creating an effortlessly lived-in and undecorated look,’ says david.
Design with history in mind
Both Peter and david drew on the architectural vernacular of the highveld in their design of the home, giving it a sense of belonging within its surroundings. ‘steel was critical to the design because it recalls the old industrial buildings of Jo’burg,’ explains Peter. ‘In these modern proportions it maximises both space and light.’
Let furniture pieces guide you
‘The kitchen was designed around two large French antique cupboards that were sourced before the first plans were even drawn up,’ says david. ‘The lighting, faux-rusted wall tiles, even the door proportions, are informed by these cupboards.’
Create spaces that transport
david and Peter decided to make ‘a little piece of rural France in the middle of bustling sandton’. This was achieved by creating a potager using an assortment of found objects while the exposed brick wall gives the space a sense of permanence.
Experiment with ceiling levels
‘different volumes create a variable experience in the home,’ says Peter. he achieved this by leaving the roof trusses exposed in the lounge and playroom. he also painted them a similar tone to the flooring, effectively making them a decorative feature.
Function can be personal
‘Much like the kitchen, the bathrooms are more than just functional spaces,’ says Peter. david agrees, ‘this is as much a space for bathing as it is relaxing with a cup of tea.’ here, walls were given a similar cement treatment as the floors to create warmth, while velvet upholstery breaks any austerity.
Go bold with fabric and pattern
‘The main bedroom enjoys a colourful mix of pattern and texture,’ says david. From damasks to chunky linen, they work together to create a sense of unity. ‘It came together perfectly.’ Louis David Art n & Design % 011 483 0628; Peter Cohen Architect % 083 267 7200
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