‘When we bought this house a few years ago I decided I wanted to put my own stamp on it,’ says Charmaine Bezuidenhout of her family’s arrestingly styled abode in Ruimsig, Johannesburg. ‘It’s calm and neutral but it has a certain glitter about it, too.’
With their two children growing up, Charmaine and her husband, Raymond, had gone in search of a home with more space, which they found in this ample property. ‘It was the perfect blank canvas,’ she says. Originally designed by architect Nico van der Meulen in the late 1980s, one of his first houses, he jumped at the opportunity to give it a makeover when approached. The couple project managed the 18-month job themselves. ‘We added 100m2 and changed the structure completely,’ says Charmaine. ‘Back in 1987 the trends for houses were very different. We gutted it and got rid of dated features such as the avocado-green bathrooms.’
The new structure suits the family well, with a central passage allowing for an open-plan space with just the right amount of privacy. ‘It has great energy and flow, and the huge windows with views of the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden really connect us to the surrounding nature,’ she says.
Set on a hectare of land, the house, its landscaped gardens and swimming pool occupy one half while the rest has become an adventure playground for the kids. ‘There’s a racing track, which my son, Reece, and his cousins and friends love to fly around with their bikes, and they also play paintball in the wilder part of the plot,’ Charmaine explains. The rest of the family, including daughter Courtney, are more likely to be found beside the pool.
Having friends around is a favourite occupation and the house is always ready for guests. ‘On Friday afternoons people just drop in when they’re in the area. I’m all for informal entertaining and we often fire up the braai,’ Charmaine adds.
This article originally featured in the January/February 2013 issue of House and Leisure.
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