Paarl Mountain Home

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Shaun van Wyngaardt, Cindy Pascoal Photography ARCHITECT Erik Grobler CONTRACTOR Energy Master Builders

Perched high up in the mountain above Paarl, this house offers sweeping panoramic views of the valley below.

“Standing in the courtyard, looking straight through the wide doors and over the rim-flow pool, you get a magnificent view of the Drakenstein Mountains at the other side of the valley,” says architect Erik Grobler. It’s this breathtaking view, the plot’s proximity to nature and the client’s love of natural materials which ultimately set the scene for Erik’s minimalistic design.

“The client wanted a house that was honest, sincere and incorporated natural materials like granite, oak, slate and concrete,” says Erik.

The house consists of three single-storey pitched-roof sections connected by a flat concrete roof. Wrapping around the north, east and west edges, the concrete tapers to a thin line and helps screen the house from the sun. “The house is defined by the concrete roof that extends beyond the outer walls. We wanted to keep the concrete line as thin as practically possible,” says Erik.

Paarl Mountain Home
A view of the Drakenstein Mountains across the Paarl valley.

‘Space’ is a key element in the design of the house. “The decision to incorporate large-scale 3 by 8 metre doors and windows had a direct effect on the sense of spaciousness that runs throughout the design of the house. By increasing the scale of the windows and doors, we maximised the view over the valley below. If you’re standing in the courtyard looking out through the living area to the veranda, you can still see the very top of the mountain across the valley,” explains Erik.

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“The doors and windows continue up to the concrete soffit of the ceiling. This increases the sense of connection to exterior.”

Paarl Mountain Home
The L-shaped house consists of three single-story sections are connected by a flat concrete roof extension, which wraps around the north, east and west edges of the house to help screen it from the sun.

To make the most of the view from this plot, the living area, kitchen and main bedroom were moved forward as much as possible. The other three bedrooms in the house all lie along the south boundary of the property and face the central Mediterranean-style courtyard which was designed by landscaper Danie Steenkamp from DDS Projects. Lined with olive trees and protected from the wind, the courtyard serves as an inner sanctum.

Paarl Mountain Home

“Towards the end of the construction stage, the client had the idea to put a large granite block in the middle of the courtyard. It works quite well. The large granite block gives a visual gravity and strong definition to the courtyard and counterbalances the house surrounding it. The natural and slanted block contrast with the linear and rectangular controlled house and thus sets the courtyard apart with an own identity,” says Erik.

In the interior, the subtle homage to nature is evident through the choice of colour palette and soft furnishings.

“The clients spotted this particular green hue in a gallery in McGregor and they fell in love with it. The colour just seemed to resonate with the house,” Erik says of the kitchen. “They wanted a clean and soothing aesthetic that sits quietly but boldly”.

The touches of olive green and purple which run through the house closely mirror the verdant shades in the courtyard and the mountains beyond.

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