Abstract Art and Home in One: Ber Carlswald by Nico van der Muelen

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This house in Midrant, South Africa is the result of a request from a client for a contemporary, “iconic” house with an open floor plan — and burglar bars! — but without any unnecessary rooms; the soaring result here is a design by Nico van der Muelen. Because burglar bars aren’t allowed in the estate, those were omitted…but they did serve as the inspiration for the pattern of random steel bars you see around the home. The house is a simple rectangle, with living areas in the center and surrounded by both a pool and koi pond, crossed from the porte-cochère as you enter the house’s front door. Granite and steel steps connect dining room, hallway, family room, and kitchen; the cantilevered staircase has an illuminated handrail cut right into the wall.

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Now, the open, airy plan encloses the kitchen in “frameless” doors opening to a lanai, facing a garden on the east side of the home; the study, also facing northeast, has its own connection to the lanai as well. Colors are sleek and contemporary: grays on furniture and countertops, bright lemon yellow, sand-colored flooring. A clever connecting feature — a bridge — spans private areas, among them children’s rooms, with the master suite. Reflective surfaces such as expansive glass, clear finishes, and shimmering water allow subtle up-lighting to illuminate the space from within, giving it a jewel-like appearance on the landscape. Only the essentials reside here, with just the right touch of panache — in this splendid design from Nico van der Muelen.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).