05 Aug

My first impression of this understated, yet classy home on the north coast was that it had been the work of a young and dynamic team of people.

“A group of friends made this a really fun project to work on,” explained architect Julia Rutherfoord who spearheaded the development.

See the picture gallery below.

I’ve seen Julia Rutherfoord’s work before and this bore her signature of respecting materials in their natural, raw state, thus remaining true to their form.

“The house is at the end of a cul-du-sac, bordering a forest. We wanted it to ‘disappear’ so we chose a dark, charcoal exterior to blend it into the surrounds.”

Julia believes that privacy is a critical factor in design and from the road you wouldn’t even know it was there!

The house is a “Z” shape, with the bedrooms situated behind the living areas – all of which open out on to the virgin forest.

“The topography of the plot was really challenging,” continued Julia, “it’s shaped like a pencil-head and on a steep slope. My priority was to design the home so that it could lead on to a level garden, providing a play area for the kids.”

Julia Rutherfoord was so intent on making the best of the unhelpful slope that the idea of a view was not a main consideration. “We all had this sudden ‘wow’ moment when we realised that we had raised the home high enough to have an unexpectedly rewarding sea view. Then the engineer, Sergio Mendes, recommended we raise the home a mere 20cm further to optimise this!”

Julia has designed the living areas upstairs, with the services – or the engine room – downstairs.
“We’ve let the living areas fuse nicely together, and put all the untidy bits out of the way downstairs.”

Local craftsman Conrad Nalson built the white oak table and bench in the dining room, and the kitchen cupboard door (literally – one door!) was done by Ikhaya in Glenwood. Again, in typical Julia fashion, less is more, and she firmly believes in eliminating doors and drawers in the kitchen – and bedroom for that matter!

“We didn’t include built in cupboards as I believe it’s nicer for the home-owner to collect ‘found’ items from antique or second-hand shops.”

It certainly adds to the charm and personality of the home.

Another interesting design – or lack thereof, it was all becoming rather “zen” – is absolutely no surrounds around the showers! The shower heads protrude anxiously waiting for another naked body to arrive. Brilliantly inexpensive and, according to Julia, absolutely functional!

Of course the ultimate joy of living on a gated estate is the promised security, allowing home owners to open up those unbarred windows, fold back the doors and let the lovely coastal air breeze through!

Julia Rutherfoord Architect:
032 525 7779 or 073 217 3141

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