A Bird’s Eye View: Chab Northcliff from Nico van der Muelen Architects

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A soaring presence in the South African landscape upon which it sits, with a sand-colored façade and native stone that complement the interior color scheme — that’s Chab Northcliff, a spacious contemporary dwelling by Nico van der Muelen Architects. From the curving stone driveway, you see cozy windowed alcoves; once you’ve entered the open interior, a city skyline spreads before you in the distance, framed by wide-open glass on several sides. You rise from level to level up a spiral staircase that seems suspended in mid-air; the staggered, gentle angles of windows and walls give you a “circular” flow through the glass surrounding you. Entertaining is a breeze here: from your central living room, easy steps take you up to the dining area, over to the kitchen, or even outside to an infinity-edge pool!

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Décor is the ultimate neutral palette — brown, sand, cream, and white — enhanced by all-encompassing natural light; by daytime, your spaces are bathed in soft sunshine that warms the rooms and reflects off glass-topped tables. Adding to the careful neutrals are just the right touches of other hues — splashes of red from contemporary art and a cleverly placed floral centerpiece, the lush green of palms and plantings outdoors, and the cool blue gem of an up-lighted pool. Assisting the home to blend with its rugged landscape, parts of the outdoors blend neatly with indoor décor: a rock-edged soaking tub in the bathroom, low-lying purple native grasses around the windowed alcoves. The overall feel is relaxing, chic, and organic — a “cliff” perch 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).

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