contemporary jo'burg home
Left: The beautifully pared-down arrival court of this Johannesburg home – whose timeless interiors were designed by Sumari Krige of La Grange Interiors – was inspired by classic country homes. Right: Flanked by expansive glass windows, the dramatic gallery casts its gaze toward Cornelia Stoop’s ‘Jackal’ sculpture.

This contemporary Jo’burg home with country roots bucks residential estate trends and looks outside for inspiration

Tucked down a gated lane in one of Johannesburg’s best-loved estates, this unassuming home steers clear of grand statements, giving little away at first glance. From the street, a clean-lined, white-walled, barn-style building with a neat roof emerges from its inconspicuous position below road level, more striking for its simplicity than its flashiness.

contemporary jo'burg home
In the living room, Krige has paired Triboa hanging lamps from La Grange Interiors with a rug from Lund Rug Gallery and a custom designed Helsinki sofa upholstered in fabric from ROMO.

The home takes inspiration from examples of classic farmhouses, with its dominant rectangular form, pitched, galvanised iron roof and expansive entrance court, which makes arrival an occasion in its own right. A stripped-back façade belies what awaits inside, save for a large glass window that peers into a courtyard where Mark Swart’s ‘Reading Man’ sculpture reclines among the tall grass.

contemporary jo'burg home
Left: Mark Swart’s ‘Reading Man’ sculpture awaits visitors from the arrival court and entrance hall Right: Krige is known for creating carefully balanced interiors.

Stepping through the front door into the entrance area with its low-slung ceiling, the house opens up dramatically and suddenly into a staggering double-volume living area and vast glass wall that offers the garden up to viewers, determinedly connecting the two.

contemporary jo'burg home
The breakfast area features a Cone Wire light, UP dining chairs and a Max dining table, all from La Grange Interiors.

Due to the owners’ love of the outdoors, the view was of utmost importance. Diminishing the separation between inside and out, glazing extends the full length of the northern façade from floor to ceiling, while an axial view from the front door in the south through the glass in the north ensures a strong bond from the outset. ‘This axis from arrival court to garden, by means of exciting serial vision, strengthens the unity of house and garden, making the one part of the other,’ explains Johan Bergenthuin of Bergenthuin Architects. Openings along the way also link the spacious covered veranda with the interior, drawing you out.

Contemporary jo'burg home
Flask lights from La Grange Interiors pick up on the oak inserts in the duco-sprayed kitchen cabinets, which are topped with SileStone quartz

Together with interior designer Sumari Krige and her team at La Grange Interiors, they were tasked with conceiving an understated and comfortable home, with interiors that wouldn’t date. ‘They wanted a family home, not a showcase,’ Krige recalls of her brief from the homeowners, a couple who have demanding corporate jobs and are raising two teenagers.

contemporary jo'burg home
Left: mirrored cabinets provide storage in the bathroom. Right: a painting by Samson Mnisi takes pride of place in the main

While Krige has injected the space with a handful of juicy colours, she’s steered clear of pieces that ‘shout’, and defends her reputation for carefully balanced interiors. Inky blue and aubergine-hued velvets are teamed with warm wood, light grey walls, oak floors and raw concrete, while an inventory of collectable artworks by the likes of Jordan Sweke and Deborah Bell animate the walls. The result is an aesthetic that’s both stylish and relaxed, but designed not to distract from the all-important vistas.

In the voluminous living room, Krige opted for a well-positioned sofa and a set of Prato open-backed armchairs, chosen for their low back height and translucency. ‘We anchored the room with a group of transparent pendant lights that we designed in-house,’ she adds of the light feature that links the space with the lofty expanse above it.

contemporary jo'burg home
Adjoined to the open-plan kitchen, the veranda features low-slung teak units from La Grange Interiors’ Copenhague range, open-back Passel chairs from their Triboa Bay collection and an outdoor rug from Hertex.

The open-plan kitchen and lounge area is a nexus for the family, whose lives intersect in this welcoming zone. From the kitchen, with its interactive bar counter and intimate breakfast area, to the cosy TV lounge and study area for the kids, it’s a space designed to cater to everyone’s needs.

contemporary jo'burg home
La Grange Interiors’ M light illuminates a custom-designed ED dining table, while above the staircase, Jordan Sweke’s ‘Fragmentary Void No 6’, 2015, echoes the various blue accents present elsewhere in the dining area.

Upstairs, a sense of calm prevails, thanks to a predominantly pale grey and white scheme, with oak to bring balance. All three bedrooms claim a stellar vantage point over the garden, which was designed by renowned landscape architect Patrick Watson. Together with Rekopane Landscapes, he’s created an understated layout with wild grasses and clipped lawn that steps down a series of small terraces.

It’s a low-key plan that capitalises on the scale of the site while concealing neighbours and street traffic with a thicket of trees along its boundaries. Just like the interior, there’s a thread of restraint that runs through the impressive garden, with the two in constant dialogue with each other.

contemporary Jo'burg home
(clockwise, from top left) African blue slate tile, Tile Africa; European FSC oak herringbone flooring in Natural Diamond Oil from the Legno Living collection, Oggie Flooring; Volakas Kyknos polished marble slab, The Tile Gallery; Cobble Ridge air carpet in Mellow Ramie from the Lifestyle collection, Belgotex Floors; Silver Shadow polished tile, WOMAG; Foulards wallpaper in Abaca by Élitis; and Lin enchanté fabric in Illusion by Élitis, both St Leger & Viney; Chalk Blanco glazed ceramic wall tile, Italtile; Cashmere Light polished marble slab; and Venus Grey polished marble slab, The Tile Gallery; St Moritz fabric in Fjord, Home Fabrics

Text: Mila Crewe-Brown Photographs: Elsa Young

For more home interiors inspiration read Juliette Arrighi de Casanova’s Bijou Kenilworth ApartmentHome Tour: A Sophisticated Green Point Apartment and Classic Elegance in Leafy Jonkershoek next.