Design for Living

When the owners of this home saw the garden they were immediately smitten. ‘As soon as the previous home owners opened the door to the outdoor area, we immediately knew this was it,’ says one half of the couple. ‘We cancelled all other scheduled house viewings.’
A family with two young children and a hectic lifestyle, a fantastic outside space to enjoy together at the end of the day and at weekends was important. However, although the garden and pool was just what they wanted, it was largely hidden from the rest of house, accessed through a back door and with a small window that kept views to a minimum.
As well, while the ground floor of the property that was originally a barn had been renovated, the upper floor was untouched. In fact, it could only be reached by means of a wide sturdy ladder on the outside.
Still, with all the necessary rooms downstairs, the homeowners were content to leave the upstairs as it was, but keen to change the ground floor to something that more suited their lifestyle. ‘At first we just wanted to open up the space and merge the living room to the kitchen so as to get an open space,’ says the homeowner. ‘We also asked the architect to make a hole in the ceiling to accommodate what I always dreamt of having – a spiral staircase.’
However, on seeing the house, architect Janice Fiorentino realised its potential to be a great space and suggested a more substantial renovation. ‘After several meetings and lots of discussions we decided that to have the house we have always dreamt of we needed to embark on a bigger project,’ says the homeowner. ‘Janice sent us the renders of how the house would look if we went for the ‘big’ project and after viewing them we did not look back.’
To create a space that flowed well and was filled with light, walls were brought down, large windows and doors were created and internal spaces rearranged. Today, the kitchen is strategically situated to overlook the main family spaces and in the morning is flooded with natural light through the new, wide openings that overlook the outdoor pool area. Above the dining table that is alongside the fireplace is a large skylight which also fills the home with light.
The beauty of statuario marble, found in the kitchen and the fireplace, is complemented by the warmth of walnut. The homeowner’s dream, a spiral staircase of black steel, walnut and slate sculpture is a showstopper and leads to the new master bedroom which also has extensive views overlooking the back garden, pool and beyond.
For the architect, the effect of the changes comes as no surprise. ‘In general, until they actually experience it, people highly underestimate the way good design and the quality of the space they live in improves their daily life,’ says Janice.
That is certainly the case here – for this family, their redesigned home has been a wonderful revelation. ‘We are truly enjoying the house now, spending weekends at home entertaining friends and family,’ says the home-owner. ‘We love the big kitchen space and the island of statuario marble where my husband spends hours preparing and cooking different meals. We did not do this before the renovation as the space was somehow not conducive to entertaining. Little did we know the impact good design would have on our well-being.’