A Mansion with Heart: MCC by Nico van der Meulen Architects

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This stately rambling home, with its combination of sleek modern design and traditional/classic detail, comes to us from the drawing board of South Africa’s Nico van der Meulen. A unique two-story portico opens onto a living room area with wide expanses of glass; the open plan segues dining areas (there are more than one!), seating areas, and a streamlined kitchen together for an ingenious layout that enables entertaining for a few or a crowd with equal ease. In contrast to this modern interior plan, however, notice the character of some of the furnishings: before a very traditional fireplace and white mantel, you’ll see patterned rugs, a plush blue couch and extra cushions, and a loveseat that all would be at home in an ordinary family room. So what’s going on?

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It’s a mix — a deliberate downplay of the “luxury” aspects of the home that’s instantly relaxing, warm, and welcoming — not often an initial impression of a mansion (which this definitely is!). If you’ve any doubt that you’ve walked into an exclusive estate, the view of the grounds — from concrete paver paths to the sumptuous pool, beautifully landscaped gardens and stone deck, and expansive lawn will tell the tale. At the same time, however, this is unmistakably a family home: toys and books are not only in the children’s rooms but in the living room, a clear message that everyone in the family “lives” in all the rooms. This estate’s space is one of its true luxuries: bedrooms are lavish, baths are roomy and well-equipped, and there are cozy courtyards and terraces for quiet private moments. It’s an ideal combination: a relaxed mansion with contemporary class…and open arms.

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