WORDS Robyn Alexander PHOTOS Lar Glutz / Bureaux PRODUCTION Sven Alberding
Blurring the boundary between indoors and out, this inspiring family home combines a laid-back lifestyle with subtly sophisticated interiors.
It’s a great house to wake up in every morning, and a great house to dwell in,” says interior designer and artist Lisa Twyman of her home. “It makes you feel free, positive, motivated, excited.”
Lisa and husband Will Haynes fell in love with the plot situated in Salt Rock, on the Indian Ocean coastline north of Durban, because of its geography – so much so that the build became very much about the garden. “We did not want to impose on it or mess up the flow of it too much,” she says. “During the first few years that we lived here, any extra budget was spent on the garden and planting.”
The key principle for Lisa and Will was that the house needed to become a part of the landscape. This meant including elements such as a ground-floor living area that opens up completely to the outdoors, allowing the spaces to be opened or enclosed as required. This “blurred boundary” – as Lisa describes it – between interior and exterior is further enhanced by the fully open-plan nature of the living, dining and kitchen spaces, as well as the application of simple, low-maintenance materials such as unadorned off-shutter concrete, and the balau wood used for cladding and screening where necessary.
Adding to the home’s radical openness is its striking central courtyard. A trio of trees grows up through an organically shaped cutout in the slab that forms the first floor of the house, drawing the eye up towards the sky, and disrupting conventional distinctions between indoors and out.
When it came to decorating the living areas, Lisa says the concept was to create a relaxed yet creative space and to keep things minimal, playing with colour and texture – and a few touches of pattern – so that the interior became an oasis of calm in a riot of green garden. The garden is visible from everywhere in the home, becoming part of the interior, and was taken into account when implementing the decor and finishes.
While an uncluttered interior enhanced the simple, sculptural qualities of the house, it didn’t necessarily mean creating a brutally minimalist look. Rather, the finishes have been pared back and kept subtle, so that the raw materials and construction of the house remain central. Colour is also important for designer Lisa – and that’s especially evident in the way she’s combined unexpected hues like mannequin pink and deep orange to create depth and surprise.
For both Lisa and Will, the loveliest place in their home is their tranquil bedroom. Essentially a simple box with an outlook that frames the nearby Indian Ocean, “It’s great for a siesta, and offers the best views to wake up to,” says Lisa. “The place where you start and end your day is so essential to your wellbeing – this room has proven that to me tenfold.”
Form follows function in the best possible way in this home. It combines authentic materials with an architectural design that sensitively responds to its location, as well as Lisa’s laid-back yet sophisticated approach to its inviting interiors. No wonder, then, that she happily declares this house to be “the most uplifting space I have ever lived in”.