Menlo Park Family Home

WORDS Nkuli Nhleko IMAGES Marsel Roothman and Anita Janeke

An airy modern home in the Pretoria suburb of Menlo Park is unrecognisable as the gloomy 70-year-old house it once was.

When this house was built in 1949, it was on the edge of the urban areas, overlooking farmland. The design was typical of suburban houses of the era, with rather small windows, but there were also farmhouse-style elements and a large garden.

New owners saw the potential in the neglected old house, and their brief to architect Nadine Engelbrecht was to transform it into a modern, well-functioning home without losing the charming traditional design features.

Today, in true farmhouse style, the smell of freshly baked bread wafts through the exposed trusses of the double-volume A-frame ceiling and seeps into knots in the oak floors. In stark contrast, the monolithic kitchen island and folded-steel staircase add striking modern touches. Steel cottage-pane sliding doors open the living areas to the lush garden and above-ground pool reminiscent of a concrete farm dam. It’s in these incongruities that the house finds an amazing visual harmony.

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