Privacy and Connection in One: the Cal Home by Nico van der Muelen Architects

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This ultra-sleek modern Johannesburg home by Nico van der Muelen Architects is the result of a brief detailing the request for a large house that would allow for separate accommodations for the client’s three adult children. Its location on a private estate enabled the home to be open to the street, with a koi pond linked by glass to the guest wing (a son’s suite) and the main part of the house. Two-story glass windows are designed for illumination, but carefully shaded so that only winter sunlight can enter the living areas. In addition to sleeping quarters, the son’s suite contains a gym, additional guest areas, and a double garage. The other two children have their suites facing north; each suite has balconies on both sides of the building.

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Employing clever lighting (note the blue neon!) and lots of glass in stairwells and corridors, this home feels subtly “light” even at night. Indoor/outdoor living is easy with sliding and folding doors to the lanai and bar, as well as breakfast room and family room — or, alternatively, to the pool and internal atrium area. Wide-open plans are supported by beams rather than corner columns; decor is neutral, but there’s nothing bland about it: witness the modern “pillar” light next to the fireplace/entertainment center, the lighted steps and coffered ceilings in various rooms, and a round bathtub set in a bed of river stone. With an intriguing fragmented façade and connections that seem to float in the air, the Cal house provides both visual interest and clearly delineated spaces: privacy when necessary, connection when desired.

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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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