House A in Sandhurst, Johannesburg Real Estate Project, South African Home Photos

House A in Sandhurst, Johannesburg

7 Dec 2020

House A

Architects: Daffonchio and Associates Architects

Location: Sandhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa

House A Johannesburg
photo © Candace Marshall Smith

The brief for House A was to create a family home with generous, open spaces which spill out to the garden. Despite the classical style, the spaces are kept both open and relevant due to the flow between them, an abundance of natural light, and a pared back palette.

House A Johannesburg
photo © Elsa Young

The main entrance in the center of the house is a bright, double volume space with a cathedral ceiling and dormer windows which flood it with light. The staircase rises through the center of the room, with a frameless glass wine room below it.

House A Johannesburg House A Johannesburg
photos © Elsa Young

The interior palette is mostly monochromatic with an abundance of natural materials and textures. The floors are white oak herringbone, the walls bagged plaster painted off white. The cabinetry in the living area is a combination of white oak and off white and charcoal duco, with honed Zimbabwe black granite countertops in the kitchen. The interiors were design by Tessa Proudfoot and exude a chic warmth, there is a sense of old world charm that is in turns countered and complemented with more modern pieces and fittings.

The timber door and window frames were painted charcoal so that they visually recede, thereby drawing the eye out towards the garden. The concrete columns have been kept raw, and the fireplace hearths were built with reclaimed red refractory bricks.

Bay windows on both the ground floor and first floor bring in maximum daylight, while extending the indoor spaces outwards. In the main bathroom, a silver freestanding bath was placed in the bay, enabling one to take full advantage of the views and enjoy them from the bath.

All exterior walls are thick cavity walls, which provide excellent insulation year round, and also allow for deep, tapered window and door reveals. On the north side of the house, the entire living area opens onto an extensive verandah through a series of arched doorways. On the first floor, the main bedroom, a second bedroom and the study area on the landing all lead onto a covered patio by means of folding stacking doors.

House A Johannesburg House A Johannesburg
photos © Elsa Young

Previously, the garden was quite detached from the previous house, as it sloped steeply away from the house. The landscaper, Tim Steyn, imported a large quantity of fill in order to raise the garden level to connect it to the house. From the northern verandah, one walks out onto a flat lawn, which gently steps down to a huge oval shaped lawn by means of sculpted grass embankments.
Both the house and garden were designed with the view of retaining and celebrating the established trees on the site. On the west side of the house, a sunken fire pit with built in seating is tucked into the landscape below an existing jacaranda tree.

On the east side, the pool was built on the same level as the verandah, and reflects a row of existing cypress trees along the eastern property boundary.

This is an unusual project for Daffonchio in terms of look & feel, what was the client brief & did you have any reservations in taking it on?

We sometimes enjoy a classic design, it is refreshing doing something different, we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously and become extremists of minimalism.
We prefer minimalism but it is just one of the many architectural languages of these postmodern times.

House A Johannesburg House A Johannesburg
photos © Elsa Young

Despite any possible reservations with regards the building typology, what excited you most about the project when you were initially called in to pitch?
It is a great site in a secluded suburb and the clients are a truly beautiful family so we were eager to be a part of the process with them… besides, creating a dream home is always fun!

How is the project unique?
Enrico: I love the secret passage between the library and the kitchen: a piece of the library swivels on itself- it’s unexpected in a modern build and yet adds another layer to the space, and the garden is sensational. It was designed and planted by Tim Steyn, he retained the existing large trees and made use of mass plantings in the beds he’d created to give the space depth.

Were there any traditional design or building practices that you employed during this creative process to retain the authenticity of the original building?

Yes, we looked to the Parktown and Westcliff corrugated roof homes of Johannesburg in the early 1900’s for inspiration. The honed carved sandstone entrance makes for a spectacular introduction to the space.

If this house had a soundtrack, which 2 or 3 songs would best represent the space? What wine or cocktail pairs best with this house or is there a meal you’d most like to have served there?

Otis Redding; “These arms of mine”, Paolo Conte; “Aguaplano” and Jazz; maybe Charlie Parker

this would be accompanied by Laphroaig, 10 years old, on the patio, on a clement spring evening.

House A Johannesburg House A Johannesburg
photo © Elsa Young

What piece/s of art do you feel would live most comfortably in this home?
Deborah Bell, Mongezi Nkapayi and Thomas Baines.
A study of the old Southern African landscapes by Baines, from his expeditions with David Livingston to highlight the interiors by Tessa Proudfoot.
“Artemis” by Deborah Bell, a large scale bronze work would live beautifully in the gardens, and Mongezi Nkapayi’s work would juxtapose perfectly against the Colonial building style.

House A Johannesburg House A Johannesburg
photos © Elsa Young

House A in Johannesburg, South Africa – Building Information

Architects: Daffonchio and Associates Architects

Interior Design: Tessa Proudfoot & Associates

Project size: 900 sqm
Site size: 10000 sqm
Completion date: 2016
Building levels: 2

Landscape Design: Tim Steyn Landscaping

House A Johannesburg
photo © Candace Marshall Smith

Photography: Elsa Young and Candace Marshall Smith

House A in Sandhurst, Johannesburg images / information received 071220

Location: Sandhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa

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