For most the notion of apartment living is synonymous with that of ‘cosy’, confined abodes, reliant on clever small-space tricks for their success and, for the most part, they’d be spot on. However the opposite would be true if yours were a home situated in Joburg’s premier luxury residential estate, The Houghton, whose lush green fairways are the perfect partner to the development’s sleek units.
For the owners of the space – financial consultant Greg Sansom, his wife Chantelle and their 11-year-old son Joshua – the concept of a pokey high rise flat has been substituted with a thoroughly modern home that boasts a combined 380m² under roof, three floors and sweeping views of a verdant Jack Nicklaus golf course.
‘I couldn’t get this view out of my mind when we first came to see it,’ recalls Chantelle of the breathtaking vista to the west, which encompasses tree-lined fairways, dams and painstakingly trimmed greens that seems to go on forever. ‘It could be anywhere in the world,’ Chantelle remarks.
It has to be said that the sheer scale of the property is out of the ordinary, even for The Houghton. Wanting the square meterage of a traditional home, Greg and Chantelle opted to purchase a double-storey penthouse as well as an apartment directly beneath it, connecting the two with a new staircase.
Integrated appliances are cleverly concealed behind a sleek white facade of high-gloss Ducoed cupboards – that way the kitchen forms part of the interior.
The result is an open-plan central floor that accomodates living, lounging, cooking and dining, a downstairs private level with a study and a pyjama lounge, and a terrace up top, with a compact swimming pool and a view that’s nothing short of spectacular. The latter is where you’ll find the family on Fridays for quiet wine evenings at home.
Having sold their former house furnished, the couple had a clean slate when it came to decorating their new space. It was Chantelle’s hankering after a particular bench she’d spotted (the Hawker Bench) that would lead her to bespoke furniture and interior design company Tonic
. On discovering that the Tonic team was responsible for countless striking homes she had pored over in decor magazines, the choice to take them on for her own space was made.
‘Tonic’s style has international appeal and we find this way of living very European, so the two synchronised,’ Chantelle explains.
In the living room, a tone on tone palette of neutrals lends a luxe feel, while the inclusion of wood brings warmth to the scene. ‘Greg wanted a fireplace but we couldn’t drill through the slab – so we opted for a bio-fuel version instead,’ explains Chantelle.
It strikes you at once as you step into Greg and Chantelle’s home – they’re not devotees of clutter, disorder or incongruous combinations. Theirs is a home that speaks to the disciple of streamlined, contemporary interiors where every item has its place. It would surprise you, then, to learn that the modern interior that greets you today is the reverse of their previously ornate, French-antique filled residence. ‘The French look could never have worked with the design of this space. It’s important to me that the interior and architecture align,’ Chantelle says.
‘On Sunday nights we all cosy up in the pyjama lounge as a family,’ says Chantelle of the more informal space downstairs. The rug is from Paco.
It’s with restraint and an appreciation for contour and space that the Sansoms’ interior came together. Under the erudite direction of Tonic’s Greg Gamble the couple’s home leaves room to breathe; it’s an instantly calming space governed by clean lines, tone-on-tone hues and sophisticated fittings.
While lustruous surfaces, tight contours and an overall lack of any accumulated possessions might paint a cold, even austere picture, the Sansoms’ home belies this assumption. When winter comes around, their bio-fuel fireplace gets ignited daily, the central heating remains on and warm wood tones ease the chill.
‘We opted for pieces that sit quietly together, with luxe materials such as oak, walnut and brass,’ explains Greg.
Ultimately it’s a home with international appeal – it combines the ease of a lock-up-and-go with a sense of scale only afforded in South Africa. Through their choice of finishes and colours, the Sansoms’ home is at once refined and warm, with a design language that’s unmistakably Tonic.
In the Sansoms’ main bedroom, Chantelle insisted on keeping her old four-poster bed, which is a perfect partner to the room’s classic, understated aesthetic.