Living the dream - South African design and build
Catering for the growing needs of a family, the Lenrock showhouse illustrates how living the lifestyle you thought you may only ever dream of, can be an everyday reality. Living spaces have been design to allow a family to grow into them over time, while a well-planned layout with ideal proportions also allows a smaller family to feel right at home.
A collaboration between Louise O Architects and Lenrock Construction, the architectural design concept of this property was to construct three simple farm-shed-like buildings, linked together around a central courtyard. The design of the house and layout of the rooms was designed for optimum cross-ventilation. The open-plan living areas allow one to ventilate from the appropriate direction depending on the specificities of the weather on any given day.
At the main entrance, the solid, rustic-looking shed conceals the dramatic glass-encased courtyard just beyond the front door. Double glazing and uPVC-framed windows means good performance in terms of their solar gain and heat loss, effetively sealing out air leakage and sound. uPVC is also recyclable and all waste from uPVC windows is re-used in other uPVC products.
Open plan living spaces, each with their own character, are visually connected to create a harmonious flow from one area to the next. On all windows, small awnings filter the suns harshest rays in mid-summer without compromising light coming into the house.
The sunken aspect of the living room not only defines the space, it add a sense of space with an extra high ceiling.
Even with its generous proportions, the dining room maintains a sense of cosiness - achieved by the dark feature walls, double sided fireplace and backdrop of a designer wine cellar.
An open plan kitchen, dining and living room arrangement also allows for easy contemporary living. Each zone has its own unique sense of identity.
Environmentally friendly, the closed combustion fireplace heats up living areas. This system of heating ensures higher temperatures while maintaining fuel efficiency and cutting down on harmful emissions. General living spaces have been design to allow a family to grow into them over time, while a well-planned layout with ideal proportions also allows a smaller family to feel right at home.
In the kitchen, cupboard door details and recessed handles were designed by architect Louise O, in conjunction with Slavin & Co. Other details include bespoke built-in cupboards, clever lighting designs and concrete counter top. The Hansgrohe Eco range of mixers used throughout the home offers savings in energy and water consumption.
The warmth and texture of a timber deck and pergola extend the dining room into the outdoors and bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor living. Accessed via the living room, dining room and kitchen, the courtyard is at the heart of the home. The family living room opens out to the courtyard on one side and to the generous covered patio on the opposite side, seemingly floating between these two outdoor entertaining areas, each option appealing to a different mood and occasion.
The north-facing orientation ensures that the house benefits from more hours of sunlight every day, making the spaces light all year round, and warm in winter but not too hot in summer. The courtyard allows an additional room on the ground floor to benefit from these same advantages of the north orientation.
Fitted with radiant underfloor heating system poweredd by gas, internal heating uses considerably less energy than conventional electric underfloor heating systems. Pipes carrying heated water are run in the screed, distributing heat quickly and evenly throughout the house.
The house boasts three generous-sized bedrooms and, serving as a playroom, teen pad, movie room, or as a study, an extra room is separated by a choice of a cavity slider and/or plantation shutters. All ceilings are insulated with Eco-Insulation - a treated wood-fibre product that is environmentally-friendly product made from recycled paper.
Making the most of its view of the courtyard, and easily accessible from the main entrance, is the ideal work-from-home office space… or hobby room….or studio…. or home gym… or spare guest bedroom (with enough space to add on the en-suite bathroom).
The external walls are all 280mm thick, including a 50mm air cavity. The cavity assists in the overall thermal performance of the building, the air between the two skins of brickwork acting as a barrier between the thermal conditions externally and those internally.
30mm isoboard high density polystyrene was used on all internal foundation walls and under the surface bed of all areas on the ground floor to insulate the building from the coolness of the earth below.
Instead of one filtered water source at one of the mixers in the kitchen, our water is filtered at the main supply so all water in the house is filtered. The filtration system is a 3 stage process – water is first filtered of all sediment, then goes through a carbon filter which takes out chemicals, and then an ultra violet light which kills the bugs. The well at the bottom of the garden is not just for show.
The stand has a particularly high water table and excessive ground water, all due to the impenetrable ‘ouklip’ rock, which is only about 1m below natural ground level. The advantage of this is that we are collecting this water through various subsoil drainage pipes, which collect at the well in the bottom of the garden, to be re-used for irrigation purposes. Landscaping is indigenous and therefore needs less water. Also beneficial is that it is less maintenance intensive, meaning the homeowner doesn’t have to spend potential relaxed times working in the garden. More time to spend on the patio enjoying the view.