An eques­trian-es­tate home near Dur­ban cap­tures the essence of stylish fam­ily liv­ing


Clas­sic yet con­tem­po­rary, min­i­mal­ist but wel­com­ing, high in style, yet at the same time homely – this was the brief to ar­chi­tect Joy Brasler and Dou­glas and Dou­glas in­te­rior de­signer Wendy-Lee Dou­glas. The own­ers’ wish for this house in Sum­merveld, out­side Dur­ban, was for it to cap­ture the essence of modern farm­house liv­ing: ‘ We are sur­rounded by open space and coun­try­side [ here],’ they ex­plain, and wanted to ‘have the feel­ing of be­ing in the Mid­lands but close to the city’.

‘They en­vis­aged a life­style that could ac­com­mo­date horses and their col­lec­tion of cars, gar­den­ing, guests and a gen­er­ous, warm and busy so­cial life,’ says Brasler. So she re­con­fig­ured the lay­out of the prop­erty to al­low for a dam, a tree­lined av­enue and views across the pad­docks. The home it­self was de­signed to be bright and airy. ‘The out­door liv­ing ar­eas are lo­cated on the north­ern side and var­i­ous pro­tru­sions were in­tro­duced to al­low in­ser­tions of light and greened court­yards,’ she adds. Large ve­ran­das shade the pre­dom­i­nantly east and west fa­cades and are favourite spots for the fam­ily to un­wind.

Dou­glas worked closely along­side Brasler from the start, plan­ning the in­te­rior de­sign to work in syn­ergy with the ar­chi­tec­ture. ‘ Our fo­cus was to make the “bones” of the in­te­rior clas­sic in look and feel,’ she says. ‘ Wall pan­elling and oak her­ring­bone floors were cho­sen for their time­less ap­peal, and to this base, we added fur­ni­ture and col­lectible de­sign pieces from var­i­ous South African de­sign­ers to in­ject the con­tem­po­rary style.’

The colour pal­ette fol­lows a sim­i­lar for­mula: a neu­tral base of grey and white is en­livened with pops of bold black and vi­brant colour, with metal­lic ac­cents adding a luxe feel. Chairs, light fit­tings, rugs and ta­bles draw the eye through­out the home while tra­di­tional works of art, in the form of paint­ings and sculp­tures (of­ten with an eques­trian theme) add unique per­son­al­ity. ‘Some pieces were ex­ist­ing, but most were com­mis­sioned from tal­ented artist Kim Longhurst,’ says Dou­glas. ‘ We worked closely with her to cre­ate the per­fect pieces.’

Tex­ture and pat­tern add depth and in­ter­est through­out the space, of­ten in un­ex­pected places. ‘ We like to use bold pat­tern in ar­eas where you don’t spend a lot of time so that it doesn’t be­come over­whelm­ing,’ ex­plains Dou­glas. ‘ The en­trance­hall floors are strik­ing and make a great im­pact in the scale of the space, while the wall­pa­per in the guest toi­let adds a great in­jec­tion of pat­tern. Both are ar­eas you would only pass through mo­men­tar­ily.’

The fam­ily spends more than mo­ments in the open-plan kitchen and liv­ing room – here the aim of the de­sign was to make the kitchen blend into

the space by de­sign­ing the cab­i­netry to look like the wall pan­elling that runs through­out the home, and in­te­grat­ing ap­pli­ances and hid­den han­dle de­tails to cre­ate a seam­less look. ‘The mar­ble­clad is­land is the show­stop­per piece of the space,’ says Dou­glas. ‘It is de­signed in a U-shape, sim­i­lar to a sushi bar, to cre­ate in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the cook and the guests.’

De­spite these so­phis­ti­cated de­tails, the own­ers wanted the house to be a wel­com­ing home and Brasler and Dou­glas fo­cused on the own­ers’ life­style while de­sign­ing each area. Land­scape de­signer Lee Schriener of Lee’s Su­pas­capes then added the fi­nal touch by en­sur­ing a feel­ing of seam­less flow from the gar­den to the house.

The re­sult is a prop­erty that the own­ers truly en­joy. ‘Sun­days are fam­ily days,’ they say. ‘ We cook a late break­fast to­gether, spend time around the pool soak­ing up the sun and take late af­ter­noon naps and walks around the prop­erty.’ Joy Brasler Ar­chi­tect and As­so­ciates, 031-303-1457; dou­glasand­dou­

THIS SPREAD, CLOCK­WISE F ROM TOP LEFT Although style was high on the agenda, the fam­ily par­tic­u­larly wanted a house that felt like a home – and which in­cluded a num­ber of con­vivial zones for un­wind­ing. Seat­ing in this space com­prises a leather bench from Dou­glas & Dou­glas and a cou­ple of wicker chairs from Cane Time (cane­, with a mol­e­cule lamp from Hoi P’loy ( sus­pended above; Kim Longhurst cre­ated cus­tom art­works – such as these eques­trian-in­spired paint­ings in the study – that pro­vided the start­ing point for much of the decor. The desk is cus­tom made and pops of colour are in­cor­po­rated in a pair of chairs cov­ered in Har­lequin fab­ric from Black Fab­rics (black­fab­; in the bath­room, a coun­ter­top sink and tap from Clas­sic Trad­ing (clas­sic­trad­ cre­ate a sleek, modern look when paired with fin­ishes in black and brass; the main bed­room’s tran­quil colour scheme re­lies on greys and dusty blues. Gold lamps from Cé­cile & Boyd add a hint of glam­our while a built-in seat al­lows for to­tal re­lax­ation. The lounge chairs are from Dou­glas & Dou­glas, the oc­ca­sional ta­bles also from Cé­cile & Boyd, and the sideta­bles were cus­tom cre­ated; the bar on the pa­tio – by Steel Inc – was ‘a com­plete labour of love and took many man hours to cre­ate,’ says Dou­glas. ‘It’s made of pure brass, faceted with an an­tique patina fin­ish. We had to use a spe­cial rig­ging truck to de­liver it to the site. The il­lu­mi­nated ma­rine fish tank be­hind it com­ple­ments the de­sign per­fectly.’

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