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Country Classic

Imbued with a relaxed Highveld country charm, this spacious Bryanston home is the perfect retreat for its busy young family.

Who lives here:

Events planner Debbie O’Flaherty, her husband Patrick and their three young sons.

The house:

A substantially renovated four­bedroom double­storey home, with a separate home office.

When Let’s Celebrate events planner and author Debbie O’Flaherty saw a 1970s house for sale on a tree-lined street in Bryanston, the last thing she envisioned was a move. “It was completely fortuitous because we weren’t looking at all – a friend just happened to mention that it was on the market.” A snap decision to purchase followed, and Debbie and her husband Patrick commissioned structural engineer Philip Badenhorst of PLB Consulting and renovations specialists Deidre and Vanessa Causton of Inspirations to assist them with the radical transformation. “It was an old single-storey home in immaculate condition, but it was dated,” says Debbie. “The only area that we retained was the long structure where the kitchen and dining room are now; the rest we demolished and reconstructed. We knew the roofing would be especially tricky, and here Philip’s input was invaluable.”

Deidre, Vanessa and Philip designed the internal layout, and redesigned the garden in an intensive year-long renovation. “The brief was essentially a double-storey home with four en suite bedrooms and a pyjama lounge upstairs,” explains Debbie.

The pink armchairs in the formal living room were custom designed by Fine Living and upholstered in Bolzano Shocking Pink from Halogen International.

“On the ground floor we wanted an open-plan living area with a separate playroom for our three sons, and most importantly, an easy connection between the interior and the garden.” A wraparound walkway surrounds the home, culminating in an expansive 12m x 6m patio which is used for entertaining all year round. “Debbie had a specific wish list within a Highveld country aesthetic,” says Deidre. “This included exposed trusses, sash windows, tall French doors, and various courtyards which create points of visual interest. To prevent the house from looking too new, we included finishes such as the exposed clay brick walls in the kitchen, and the mix of textured herringbone tiles and timber decking around the patio.”

Once the spacious shell was complete, Debbie turned to her brother-in-law, interior designer David Muirhead to pull this classical home together. “Knowing Debbie and her family on a personal level added so much to the project,” explains David. “Our team had worked on their previous home, and we have a clear understanding of their lifestyle, and especially the needs of their sons.” Borrowing from Debbie’s favourite palette of serene aquas and pinks, David reworked most of the furniture using a mixture of plains, houndstooth and statement floral fabrics. “Debbie appreciates beautiful things and we share a love of classic, timeless design. We carried the subtle tones right through the living areas, grounding the space with the extra­long curtains and pops of colour.”

David’s sophisticated country feel is continued on the patio, a space intended both for intimate family gatherings and large-scale parties. “I decorated this space as I would an indoor room,” he explains. “It opens up to the garden on three sides and we allowed for both seating and dining areas. The trick with patios is not to be too precious about your things – choose robust furniture and accessories, and accept that you’ll probably need to change your fabrics every five years or so.”

Back indoors, his trademark attention to detail is shown to striking effect. In the pyjama lounge, for instance, accents of sharp citrus yellow are highlighted against Cole & Son’s classic Contemporary Restyled Palm wallpaper design.

“I think the most enjoyable part of this project was creating a feeling of being transported elsewhere,” says David. “Although it’s in the city, you could almost be in the countryside. It’s a dream home that reflects Debbie’s personality, and most importantly, really works for the whole family.”

Reference: Garden & Home | September 2015

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