Contemporary Johannesburg Home

WORDS Nkuli Nhleko PRODUCTION Annemarie Meinjtes IMAGES Dook


At the top of a leafy street sits a remarkably fresh and bold contemporary home, untamed and unburdened by a need to colour within the lines.

Arrive at this house for the first time, and it is difficult not to have your curiosity piqued by the monolithic façade of clay brick pavers set behind a pink right-angled triangle. Bold and unapologetic of its avant-garde grandeur, it provides an inkling of an entrance. “We’ve nicknamed this house the ‘shape-sorter house’,” says architect Gregory Katz. “Our conceptual journey began with the idea of a cube as an envelope.” Behind this elaborate geometric structure sits an unassuming constricted stretch of entryway leading to an understated front door. Step through it and you’re welcomed into a bright, spacious and airy home flooded with natural light.

Gregory describes the play of light created by the asymmetric windows as the gift that keeps on giving. The space is open and barrier-free, with each area flowing seamlessly into the next. Natural light sweeps through two stately half-moon cutouts on the ground floor. These wide half-cylinder openings frame views of the entire garden, breaking the barrier between indoors and outdoors. Much like the assertive façade, the interior boasts its own kind of confidence. It is a consciously eclectic mix of brightly coloured shapes, with a clean and minimalist aesthetic that serves as a canvas to showcase the homeowners’ green thumb and quirky art collection.

“The house has Bauhaus features but is more post-modernist in character, emulating an unconventional, less serious, more playful standpoint on design principles,” says Gregory. All of the spaces meet in unison at the bottom of a diamond-shaped double-volume skylight that ties the upper and lower levels together. An impressive collection of hanging plants soaks up the sunlight above the balustrade, peering down to the lower level.

There is a consistency in the inconsistent positioning and scale of the window openings.

Climb the staircase clad in forest-green PVC floor mats, and you’re met by an eccentric, oversized, luminous-pink security gate. Every inch of this home is given its moment in the sun, with all the door frames painted an exquisite pastel pink, the column a gleaming luminous yellow, and the double-height void a jewel-tone teal. The colour scheme serves to affirm Gregory’s passion for experimentation. “The bedrock of my design philosophy is to explore materiality and deploy materials in unexpected and uncommon ways,” he says. “We strive to move away from generic design.”

Set in a glass box and slightly elevated from the bedroom, the master bathroom is as much a statement as the rest of the house. A mix of emerald-green and white tiles clads most of the wet area, accented by sleek matte-black mixers and paired with an opulent brass-plated basin that gives the bathroom an air of glamour and luxury.

“The success of the house was largely due to our open-minded and creative client’s willingness to experiment,” says Gregory. And you certainly get a strong sense that the home is a shared vision between the designer and the client’s lifestyle, resulting in a brave and bold collaboration.

See more projects by Gregory Katz at gregorykatz.co.za.