While many architects may find it preferable to start every new home from scratch, building each new corner, wall, and roof from a completely blank slate, that’s not always possible or even desirable. This home, named House Sar and located outside of Johannesburg in South Africa, started with an entirely different look and feel. It was not until the homeowners enlisted architect Werner van der Meulen, from Nico van der Meulen Architects, that it took on the open and modern life that it now has. Using the original framework, van der Meulen was able to turn a dark one story home into an open celebration of light, air, and wholly modern design.
The contemporary transformation is apparent from even angle, beginning with the initial entrance into the home. Steel columns and beams make up much of the exterior, balanced atop the newly flat roof. The steel also manages to conceal the garage, a necessary but not always beautiful design feature. The cube above the entrance is captivating but ultimately simple, holding with the overall minimalist design you will see inside.
The original home featured a pitched roof that was completely closed off to the outside. This element was replaced with that aforementioned flat roof, designed to float up above the house itself so that light can stream in throughout the day.
The flat roof also lends itself to the newly opened floor plan of the home’s main living area. The kitchen, living room, and dining area are allowed to flow together for comfortable entertaining. Each room also benefits from the newly lit space.
In warm climates like South Africa, the hot summers are always a concern. While air conditioning can be effective, it is rarely the most elegant solution. By including atria that can be open to let air circulate, the design manages to solve the cooling problem in a way that is friendly both to the home’s design and to its environment.
The bedrooms on the first floor are spacious while still holding true to the minimalist themes. The master bedroom in particular includes both a lounge area and an incorporated bath but the subtle neutral tones and large windows keep the space relaxing and beautiful.
The outdoor spaces are also included in this architectural overhaul. Large sliding glass doors offer plenty of access to the yard and pool area, making the home itself seem larger than its somewhat modest one story design otherwise would.