THE PERFECT BALANCE
This house was designed to capture natural light and link the indoors to out
A KZN home designed around family heirlooms
Having lived on farms for most of their lives, the owners of this house at Brettenwood Coastal Estate on the KZN North Coast wanted the illusion of lots of space. “We found the perfect site on the edge of a protected green belt with beautiful views,” they say. Their brief to architect Julia Rutherfoord and builder Karl Wang of KR Projects was to emphasise the views and allow for indooroutdoor living with as much natural light as possible.
“The sea and wetland views are to the south, which is not great for light, so we designed courtyards on the north so that warm light illuminates the interiors. We positioned the house so that there’s a completely open feel but it’s private as it’s far down from the road, on a bank surrounded by a tropical garden,” says Julia. To enhance the setting, she
THIS SPREAD, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Large pieces, like the antique armoire in the living room, were placed on the plan to ensure they would be focal points. “The soft greens and whites of the colour palette go a long way towards enhancing the indoor-outdoor flow,” notes interior designer Tessa Proudfoot.
The patio on the protected side of the house is used for entertaining all year round and features a built-in braai and storage cabinets.
incorporated lots of natural textures such as stone cladding and timber decking and screens in the architecture.
Interior designer Tessa Proudfoot has worked on several of the owners’ homes over the years and they enlisted her expertise once again. “The architecture leans towards contemporary but in a subtle, easy-living way,” she says. “There’s nothing pretentious about any of the rooms and nothing that can be termed fashionable or trendy, which, in my opinion, is exactly what a house should be. Building is so expensive these days that styles need to last.”
To enhance the timeless feel, Tessa included many of the owners’ treasured pieces, including an extensive collection of art and antiques. “From the first architectural drafts, we positioned the key pieces on the plan to ensure that they
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The courtyard is protected from the elements and allows natural light into the interiors. Natural textures and colours enhance the sense of space.
“The beautiful copper bowl with the orchids in the entrance hall was used by my husband’s great aunt and then his mother to make guava jelly for the last 100 years or so,” says the owner. The dining
room is often used for entertaining. The light fitting from Tessa Proudfoot and Associates is the perfect counterpoint to the classic furniture and Persian carpet. The carved mirror is from Cécile & Boyd.
would fit easily into the rooms rather than end up as white elephants taking up space,” she explains. “The interiors are in traditional old Natal style. Colours are cool and calm to counteract summer heat and humidity and the furniture is classic. There’s a mix of textures (dark and light woods, rattan and cane) and potted palms and plants abound!”
As the owner didn’t want the house to feel too oldfashioned, she and Tessa chose baskets, glassware and mirrors as well as contemporary planters in monochromatic patterns to add some modern touches. “To avoid turning our home into a museum, we also updated the chairs and sofas with loose covers in an off-white fabric,” explains the owner.
“The house needed to be a place where they could entertain their large extended family and wide circle of friends in comfort and style, but equally be a cosy spot for when it’s just the two of them,” says Tessa. The most frequent guests are the couple’s grandchildren so practical elements like the slipcovers, guest bedrooms on a different level and a TV lounge were essential. It’s this careful consideration of the owners’ lifestyle that has resulted in a home that ticks all the boxes and finds a balance between intimate and inviting and classic and contemporary.