architects: Arthur Quinton Darryl Croome Architects | project architect: Diana Grobler | interior design: Cori Quinton Interiors project interior designer – Riaan Vrey | interior decoration: Riaan Vrey, Samantha Harris | photography: Anthony Allen
The brief to the interior design and decorating team was for the house to be homely rather than a ‘showroom’. The emphasis had to be on comfort, warmth, intimacy, practicality and an informal sophistication devoid of a contrived designer signature. The client described his ideal look as ‘casual African Zen’. To this end, all downlights had to be kept to a mere functional level and ambience was to be created through wall and standing lamps.
The interior design flowed from the same design philosophy as the architecture. Finishes were selected meticulously for their natural and understated aesthetic, or their sculptural qualities.
Says the interior designer: ‘The powerful architecture and sculptural aspect of the house provided the ideal back drop for furniture. A fusion of grey, browns, taupe and biscuit, laced with warm reds and oranges form the foundation of the décor. Texture features prominently by way of fabric and materials used. Sofas are soft and comfortable, without being overstuffed; they are thus complementary to the contemporary architecture.
‘There is a natural progression in the use of timber, which reflects the organic elements of the architecture, from smooth stained mahogany joinery to the naturally textured dining table, the aged timber of the patio table and benches to the raw and contorted timber of the side pedestal to the patio lounge.
‘The colour scheme also weaves a consistent and progressive trail through the house with the more muted and burned shades of reds and oranges on the patio becoming more vibrant internally.’
Expansive windows that optimise the view had to be treated in a way that would make the house feel cosy and yet maintain privacy, while still creating an essential visual link to the exterior. Textured curtains with a sheer quality were used to achieve this.
An unusual architectural feature is the textured curved wall leading to the two bedrooms on the lower floor. The organic aspect of the wall is enhanced by a dry ‘river bed’ effect created from pebbles and bark chips interspersed with rough timber sculptures and feature rocks. High level glazing and uplights cast an ever-changing spell.
Enhancing this impression is completely indigenous landscaping; a more informal approach that complements the strong lines of the architecture.
Comment from the architects: ‘The brief from our Johannesburg-based client was to create a holiday home with a relaxed informal atmosphere. It was to reflect the coastal resort setting unique to Llandudno and maximising the sea views was a prerequisite. This was achieved for all living spaces and bedrooms in a structure measuring 650m2 undercover on a plot size of 990m2.
‘Mountain views were also captured by way of vertical slots or high level windows to the rear of the site. Accommodation needs were clearly defined in terms of sleeping and living zones; the four bedroom suites, with en suite bathrooms, all have covered balconies and are sea-facing.
‘Living spaces were separated for family living (kitchen / dining / TV room) and lounge – the latter a conversational space with wood-burning fireplace. An informal study creates the link between living and bedroom wing.
A key requirement was the provision of an al fresco living space, complete with weatherproof lockable shutters. The clients’ wish list called for a modern classical style with bold architecture and clean lines, however they were insistent on a house which ‘lives well’ so as not to feel austere, cold and uninviting.
‘Orientation was to be directly north, capturing the Llandudno Bay view, whilst turning its back to the south easterly winds. The strong architectural forms with ‘box’ elements framing the vistas were treated with earthy natural tones. Flattened stipple white plaster was used on certain feature walls, as in the organic plan of the back circulation wall. Light spills over this wall into an internal ‘river bed’ with sculptural displays. This creates a special space, which may ordinarily have been a dull corridor. The use of natural materials: as in rock work, timber and off-shutter concrete are complemented by the indigenous landscaping