Hyde Park Family Home

PHOTOS Dook PRODUCTION Annemarie Meintjes WORDS Helen Herimbi

In a home where form meets function, each element has been carefully considered.

Peeping out of a narrow street in Joburg’s Hyde Park is a mysterious house. Owned by a couple with two small children, the house is characterised by many built-in spaces that are functional and doesn’t leave much room to stare at the details.

“The owners wanted things to be robust and solid,” says principal architect Enrico Daffonchio of Daffonchio & Associates Architects. “What inspired me was the modernist tradition of the 1920s – I’d call the style of the house tropical modernism.” It shows in the floor-to-ceiling glass doors enclosing the living area that slide all the way to the walls.

The floors are tiled with 1,8 x 0,6m flamed granite tiles from World of Marble and Granite. Books like Professor Tim Noakes’s The Real Meal Revolution and Tashas: Timeless Café Classics lean together under Carrara marble counters in the open-plan kitchen. Beyond a fridge concealed inside a white oak door/wall is a back-of-house kitchen. “The owners wanted the kitchen to read as a clean, uncluttered space that blends with the rest of the open-plan living area,” says project architect Frances Joynt, who worked with the “brilliant main contractor” Francois Kleinsmith of CTS Projects.

Hyde Park Family Home

From the kitchen to the three bedrooms and lounge upstairs, it’s clear the main aim was to go for a distressed look – complete with “natural materials like distressed white oak and natural stone to offset the hard lines of the design,” says Enrico. 

The bedrooms – one populated with a few more toys (and disposable nappies) than the others – are hugged by meranti shutters that fold and stack away outside the sliding glass windows.

To avoid harsh direct light in intimate spaces such as the living areas and the bedrooms, Frances says they integrated the LED downlights into recessed troughs to soften the light. ‘’We tried to conceal the light fittings as much as possible.”

Paintings by the likes of Beezy Bailey and Deborah Bell adorn the walls downstairs, and sculptures by Angus Taylor and Dylan Lewis greet visitors approaching from the lushly treed motor court. The patio with a fireplace adjoins a manicured lawn and pool, and a guest bedroom leads off the patio.

This Hyde Park home prides itself on putting function and form under the same chisel. “We built our house with two very specific intentions,” say the owners: “The first was to be communal so we can communicate with our children, and the second was to not have an excess of rooms that never get used. Less is more.”

Looking for more architectural inspiration? Take a look at the bold contemporary home in Joburg.