House De Palme Stellenbosch

This Gentleman’s Estate is built on a 17500 square metre scenic smallholding just outside of Stellenbosch. It is the epitome of contemporary country living complete with its own vineyard, stables and paddocks. The 800 square metre house has been perfectly angled to ¬†achieve optimum solar orientation and was designed to be a modernist masterpiece that houses not only 5 bedrooms, but also a working wine cellar. The structure exists of 3 major pavilions each with its own floating roof and is anchored around a triple storey staircase.

The design tone is set at the entrance forecourt, which highlights the volumes of the structure by displaying the floating staircase in a carefully proportioned glazed cube and offset by a strongly linear entrance portico. The house plan is simple and crisp, with the wine cellar (including maturation cellar) in the coolest basement space. The main living spaces are situated on the ground level as well as two en-suite guest bedrooms, a four car garage and staff facilities. The first floor contains the luxurious master suite which enjoys panoramic views and two bedrooms, a communal family lounge which overlooks the double volume and a open-plan study.

The different levels of the house are visually connected through a large double volume space, which exposes the floating roof element to all the way below. The main bedroom suite is located under its own floating roof and features a glass three sided fireplace as the dividing element between the sleeping area and the en-suite bathroom. It also has its own expansive view terrace, an oiled timber ceiling which is lit up at night to highlight its natural texture.

The home is easy on the eye and blends effortlessly into the landscape through its floating roofs, while at ground level it connects closely to the landscape by means of timber Balau decks and the natural stones which were sourced locally. The same earthy stone element is brought into the interior of the basement wine cellar where it adds visual mass to the solid walls which support a complex barrel vaulted brick roof. Materials used throughout the house include marble, stainless steel, walnut timber, exposed stonework, glass and aluminium. Project architect Henk Marais concludes “the challenge was interpreting the clients’ brief while creating a contemporary house with an earthy connection to the magnificent site and providing a timeless and appropriate design, which I believe has been realised successfully”.