'Industrial elegance was the look I was going for,’ explains Johannesburg designer and project manager Angela Saffy of Versatile Interiors, indicating the large black-framed, double-height window in her entrance hall. The house, which is part of a complex in a secluded close in Bryanston, Johannesburg, was subject to certain design regulations, but fortunately, as this window faces into the courtyard, the black frame was allowed.
Angela and her husband, Alex, bought the land and built the house as an investment with Angela as project manager and designer. They did not intend to live there, but as it took shape Alex could see what a great house it would be to live in. So they changed their minds, put their house on the market and moved in with their children as soon as the building was complete.
We sold our old house with all the furniture except for a few special pieces and paintings so we could start completely fresh here,’ explains Angela who worked closely with the architect, Gavin Warburton, and builder, Justin Lobban of Millennium Construction, on the design. ‘At our previous house, we spent so much family time on the patio, which was large and wrapped around the house, but we ended up duplicating spaces and furniture. There was a large dining table outside and a large dining table inside and there were multiple sitting areas inside and outside. With this house, I wanted all the rooms to open onto the pool and outdoor areas, so that there is a connected indoor-outdoor feel to the whole house.’
The double-storey house is U-shaped and all the rooms, including the children’s TV room, the kitchen, dining, living room and bar have stacking framed glass doors that open completely but can be closed should it rain or be too windy. ‘When they’re closed, some of them resemble sash windows, in keeping with the modern Georgian style,’ explains Angela. The braai room at the far end of the house has aluminium security shutters on opposite sides of the room so it can be completely opened up. ‘It’s a lovely cool spot in summer and, with one set closed and the fire burning, a cosy comfortable space in winter.’
Angela carried the industrial-luxe look throughout the house with sections of exposed brick, plenty of raw wood, including beautiful engineered wood flooring with chevron and random straight patterns, and added a contemporary edge with black accents. The living room has a central black painted feature wall flanked by window mirrors and black shutters that creates a symmetry and depth with the darker shades contrasted. A black L-shaped sofa is sleek but softened by wooden legs and light coloured cushions, and more natural material furnishings and accessories. Contributing to the richness and glamour are textured baskets juxtaposed with velvet and fur throws, all reflected in the large, striking mirrors. The combination of textures creates a lush, layered look and a warmth that carries throughout the whole house. ‘As you can see, I adore mirrors,’ says Angela who explains that once they’d hung them, she realised that she had two left over. ‘But they worked beautifully on either side of the door onto the pool. See, you can never have enough mirrors.’
THE OWNERs Angela (pictured) and Alex Saffy, live here with two of their three children Daniella (21) and Luke (10), and Zara, the German shepherd.
THE HOME This modern, Georgian double-storey in Johannesburg, South Africa, is built around a central courtyard with all the downstairs living areas opening onto the pool terrace. Upstairs are four bedrooms and bathrooms and a lounge.
Styling by Jo Sharp
Photos courtesy of Christoph Hoffman / Living4media