The elementary design and elegantly simple interior of a KZN North Coast house allow for easy living
It is not often that you hear of a farm shed being the inspiration behind the design of a house, but this is exactly what was the starting point for Lauren and Craig Glutz’s home on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, which they share with their 18-month-old daughter Luca. “We were brave to give it a go,” says Lauren, “but it has paid off!”
The idea came from Durban-based architect Lisa Rorich. The Glutzes immediately knew they wanted to work with her.
“Our reason for leaving Cape Town and moving to the small Loxley Estate on the North Coast was a desire for more space and to surround ourselves with nature again – a luxury we couldn’t afford in the Cape at this point in our lives,” Lauren says. “Our brief to Lisa was that we want a home that lets the outside in, completely, so that wherever you are, whether it be the guest loo or the kitchen, you would have a sense of the outdoors and the freedom of space.”
“The result is the feeling of living in a cedar barn but with the luxurious transparency of the tall windows and over-sized sliding doors,” says Lauren.”
Lisa suggested juxtaposing lots of glass with timber treated with the Japanese shou sugi ban technique, which involves charring Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) to preserve it, giving it an interesting textured finish. The timber was sourced from Benvie Farm in the Karkloof, north of Howick.
Their stand is on the edge of a protected wetland, so the glass affords views of a lush landscape inhabited by birds and other small creatures. The family delights in watching a resident pair of fish-eagles, and a spotted eagle-owl that roosts and hunts from above their bedroom every night. To ensure that the views are the star attraction, Lauren, an accomplished interiors photographer, has kept the décor simple.
The things they have kept through their nomadic years, not surprisingly, all have sentimental value: a dressing table that was a gift from a friend, a pair of rocking chairs that belonged to Craig’s parents, and artworks that are meaningful to them. “Some of our most treasured possessions, though, are the plants, both inside and outside,” says Lauren. “We have foraged them from all over, and most of the greenery in the garden has been propagated from cuttings we got from friends and my parents’ farm.” Lauren’s description of their ideal day at home is as simple as the design and decor: “Music playing in the background, the smell of a freshly lit fire, a crumpled newspaper on the couch, and a little girl chasing around the house with the dogs.”
“Our brief to Architect Lisa Rorich was that we want a home that lets the outside in completely” Lauren Glutz, homeowner
A glass garden from Arkivio echoes the architecture of the house. | Large windows and sliding doors blur the boundaries between inside and outside. | The basin and taps in the guest toilet have a sculptural sensibility. | The guest room’s spare decor gives it a tranquil feel.
“The result is the feeling of living in a cedar barn, but with the luxurious transparency of the tall windows and sliding doors” Lauren Glutz, homeowner . “Luca and Whip the German wirehaired pointer in the courtyard. The Japanese cedar cladding was treated with the shou sugi ban technique to achieve the charred finish.”
Loxley Estate’s communal facilities include a swimming pool with a view of the sea. | The light-filled living area opens to the outdoors on two sides. | Floor-to-ceiling glass in the main bedroom gives the view centre stage.
“Wherever you are in the house, you have a sense of the outdoors and the freedom of space” Lauren Glutz, homeowner
“We have moved houses, countries and provinces more times than I would like to remember. The only upside of this is that we have whittled down unnecessary clutter and possessions. The result is refreshing,” she says.
Recently, they listed their home on Airbnb for those times when they are out of town. “It’s the minimalism that allows strangers to feel at home in our space,” she says.
The raw wood panelled headboard is not only an attractive feature in the main bedroom but it also serves to delineate the closet and provide space for plug points. Leaving the cupboards open gives the room a contemporary minimalist feel, enhanced by crisp white linen and simple side tables.