WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES Fanus Beetge
AB Design applied a conscientious minimalism to the interiors of this five-bedroom, double-storey home and chose design elements that evoke a “modern ranch” theme.
Ebenezer Dam is located between Polokwane and Tzaneen in the northern province of Limpopo. The area of Magoesbakloof is nicknamed the “Land of Silver Mist” because of the frequent mist that sits on the mountainous area above it. The brief was to create a holiday home that spoke to the setting and catered to the needs of the family.
“The home needed to be free of excess and clutter, alleviating the family of any urban stress and allowing them to unwind in an environment that was truly warm and tranquil,” explains the Creative Director of AB Design Aidan Bennetts. “The owners wanted the house to have minimal maintenance requirements and to be self-sustainable, allowing the family the luxury of simply packing their personal belongings and having all other necessities and amenities at hand when they arrived.”
Aidan has a keen interest in minimalism, which he doesn’t interpret as depriving oneself, but rather foregoing excess and only using objects that are necessary. “It’s contradictory to what people may think an interior designer does,” he continues. “Instead of adding items I seek to take away. It takes discipline to design with a minimalist mindset. The natural tendency is to overcompensate and add more to a space. This home is surrounded by the most incredible natural landscapes. I wanted these to be the focus so the design elements I chose were minimal and had to add value.”
The property’s location, some distance from the main road off a dirt road, proved to be somewhat of a challenge. In the rainy winter months, the access road is often flooded, and for much of the installation process, the driveway was washed away so items had to be walked up to the house through the slippery mud. Additionally, Aidan is based in Cape Town, so getting to the house meant taking two flights and driving for a further hour, and finding skilled tradespeople in the area proved tricky.
But Aidan welcomes a challenge. He and his team were also asked to assist with the landscaping and retaining walls – something completely new for them. Aidan and his senior designer, Andries Van Niekerk, created a multi-tiered cinder block layout.
Inside, his favorite room is the master bedroom. “The bedroom mixes smooth and rough texture together in the raw granite floors and the solid brass tables. The room is paired down to the absolute essentials allowing you to focus on the most valuable objects in the room – each other.” The solid timber bed, which is upholstered in leather, is a custom design from the AB Design studio, and the Etch Pendants and Spun Tall Tables are by Tom Dixon.
Other highlights are the Lee Broom pendants that hang over the bar, which is clad in a solid timber shingle the team developed specifically for this project. The dining room table is an oversized 18-seater Harvest Table by James Mudge. It took 10 people to carry it up the muddy hill on which the house is situated!