This colossal South African house is both a family haven and the ultimate entertaining space
This Johannesburg home is filled with luxe materials and modern design classics – we find out more about our three of our favourites
At first sight, this imposing concrete house in Johannesburg’s Hyde Park appears at odds with the sprawling Colonial-style mansions typical of the upmarket suburb. But in truth, its Brutalist design – a controversial 20th-century architectural style that favours raw concrete and monolithic forms – is just as impressive as the sweeping drives and columned portico entrances of its neighbours.
Inside, the sense of monumental scale and luxury continues. Guests step straight into a 1,300-square-metre double-height space, which is scaled by a ‘floating’ glass and walnut staircase and hung with pendant lights that are as much sculptural pieces as lighting. The interior is everything owners David Engelbrecht, a company director and his wife Jana (who live with their son and daughter, Tom and Isabelle, who are both in their twenties) had hoped for when they approached architect Enrico Daffonchio to create a ‘sensational entertaining space’ for them. He, in turn, was inspired by the simplicity of Brazilian architecture, which is expressed in the airy openness of the concrete-framed interior.
The living, dining and kitchen areas form one multifunctional space where family and friends can relax, sit at the dining table or prepare food on the freestanding island. Luxurious materials abound: a towering wall of oiled walnut cabinetry frames a picture window and, above the dining table, white oak slices into the concrete ceiling, which the architects lowered to create a sense of intimacy within the hangar-like space. Brass lighting and accessories are used like jewels to lift the dark porcelain floor tiles and furnishings.
Behind these impressive reception rooms lies a secondary series of informal family spaces, including the TV room and a smaller kitchen with a casual dining area. ‘The house can instantly change atmosphere, becoming a cosy family home or a grand venue,’ says Enrico, ‘but it maintains a sense of luxury, comfort and sophistication.’
Upstairs, each of the three bedrooms has an en-suite and dressing room, and the couple’s suite is separated from their children’s by a study. The most indulgent space has to be the tree-lined roof terrace, where a west-facing deck and Jacuzzi await. ‘ We love heading up there and watching the sunset,’ says Jana. daffonchio.co.za
GUESTS STEP STRAIGHT INTO AN IMPRESSIVE DOUBLEHEIGHT HALLWAY HUNG WITH SCULPTURAL PENDANT LIGHTS
LUXURIOUS MATERIALS ABOUND, FROM OILED WALNUT AND PORCELAIN TO TOUCHES OF GLASS AND BRASS
‘THE HOUSE CAN INSTANTLY CHANGE ATMOSPHERE, BECOMING A COSY FAMILY HOME OR A GRAND ENTERTAINING VENUE’