AR­CHI­TECT’S PLAN: RU­RAL BLISS

This con­tem­po­rary farm­house was de­signed for fam­ily liv­ing and en­ter­tain­ing

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A con­tem­po­rary farm­house in Cen­tu­rion

When Jacques and Karien Gresse started house hunt­ing, they had their minds set on South­downs Es­tate in Irene, Cen­tu­rion. “It’s within walk­ing dis­tance of our son’s school, with easy ac­cess to Jo’burg, Pre­to­ria and the air­port,” they say.

With only a few stands avail­able at the time, they weren’t spoilt for choice and even­tu­ally bought a pan­han­dle with a north-east en­try. They knew the stand wasn’t ideally suited to the sin­gle storey they wanted, but this didn’t de­ter them and they started to ex­plore the es­tate, tak­ing note of all the homes they liked. “Co­in­ci­den­tally, most of these were de­signed by Devil­liers du Toit, so we knew which ar­chi­tect to ap­proach,” they re­call.

Their brief to Devil­liers spec­i­fied a laid­back home ideal for fam­ily liv­ing, with am­ple space for en­ter­tain­ing.

“We jok­ingly told him that we wanted a braai and en­ter­tain­ing area with a house at­tached to it.” Apart from their per­sonal pref­er­ences, the struc­ture also had to ad­here to the es­tate aes­thetic. “This is based on a down-to-earth farm style, be­cause it’s lo­cated on a work­ing farm,” ex­plains Devil­liers.

In re­sponse to the brief, Devil­liers ar­ranged the rooms in a U-shape with most of them lead­ing onto a

pri­vate court­yard. Be­cause the Gresses specif­i­cally re­quested that there be plenty of nat­u­ral light, he in­cluded high ceil­ings and gable win­dows. “The stand isn’t north-fac­ing, and this way nat­u­ral light f loods deep into the rooms,” he ex­plains.

As a nod to the agrar­ian sur­round­ings, the de­sign in­cor­po­rates ma­te­ri­als such as cor­ru­gated iron, lo­cal Irene stone and f lush-jointed stock bricks on the ex­te­rior. “In­side, the house fea­tures the same stock bricks as ac­cent walls to tie in with the ex­te­rior, and pig­mented screed f loors re­in­force the earthy feel,” he says.

De­spite the nar­row stand, the re­sult is a home with a re­laxed at­mos­phere, where the en­ter­tain­ing area f lows out to the gar­den. The Gresses say that Devil­liers ex­e­cuted their brief per­fectly. “The house is warm and so­cial, and it has great f low, all com­ing to­gether at a cen­tral meet­ing point, which is ex­actly what we had in mind.”

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