With a mission to create a livable space with a unique identity, interior designer Dean van Aswegen completely renovated this Joburg house, doing away with existing parts that were not working and replacing them with simpler features that provided a luxurious yet unpretentious atmosphere. However, despite re-working most of the home, some aspects were essential to keep intact. ‘The glass elements are a standout design feature,’ Dean says. ‘The floor-to-ceiling windows provide abundant natural light and an incredible sense of volume and space. The clients often travel, so it was important to design a house that radiates a calm, sanctuary-like atmosphere when they are at home. These large glass windows, along with the soft colour palette, truly fulfil that need most extraordinarily.’
Design decisions are deeply rooted in the simplicity and honesty of form. Clean lines meet with sinuous shapes, luxurious materials such as Arabescato marble are contrasted with earthy textures, and the sizeable white walls play host to abstract, statement-making artwork. While the contrasting elements bring a distinct visual interest individually, there is still a coalescence to the home typified by the creamy tones, sculptural artwork and modern lighting.
‘What I love about this Joburg house is the juxtaposition of different materials and textures,’ Dean adds. ‘In the dining room, we mixed vintage ceramics with a retro, perspex server and oxidised brass mirrors from Tonic Design and a beautiful, custom-made marble table in the middle.’ The lounge follows the same design approach, including sculptural forms and various textures. This area has beautiful views of the lush, tropical garden outside, while the large windows are the entry point for exquisite natural lighting. The tables are all custom-made with aged brass legs and marble tops, while the sofa from OKHA adds to the already airy flow with its curved silhouette and soft edges.
Designing a home with a clear synergy between the different spaces was one of Dean’s main objectives. For example, in the TV room, the tiger’s-eye stone on the coffee table matches the unique marble cladding on the wall to create a sense of continuity and consistency, and the use of large-scale artworks throughout the home grounds each space perfectly.
The upstairs areas, including the master bedroom and bathroom, have an even more pared-back look and feel. A motif of natural, hand-stained oak clads the walls, providing a warm and muted setting that is perfect for relaxing after a long day. The bedroom plays with textures more than sculptural form, as the beautiful linen, velvet sofa, and bouclé scatter cushions take centre stage, providing a sense of comfort and calmness that every bedroom needs. The main bathroom was completely redone with oak cladding to match the bedroom, along with brass detailing and marble sinks that are reminiscent of a luxurious, spa-like experience.
Ultimately, the synchronicity between the home’s spaces is all tied together by eye-catching and unusual artwork. The hallway features a Mikhael Subotzky sculpture on a custom plinth, while the dining room features art by local South African artist Jean Du Plessis. ‘We tried to use unique and striking sculptural art from iconic local South African artists and designers here in Joburg,’ says Dean. ‘Sculptures and artwork make a huge difference. It gives the space soul.’
Originally written by Shai Rama