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Leonhard and Nicolette Jonas’s home displays an unexpected harmony between contemporary and classical features. From raw concrete ceilings to ornate French-style furnishings, every element reveals the creative courage that comes from experience. But this is not surprising as it’s not the first house the couple have worked on. “In fact, this is the fourth house we’ve built here,” says Nicolette referring to Val de Vie, a polo estate in the heart of the Paarl-Franschhoek valley.

“Leonhard is in construction and I have my own decor business, so we have a great partnership. We love designing homes together and the surroundings here provide constant inspiration.”


While the Jonases had to take into account the estate’s architectural style, a mix of French Provençal and Cape vernacular, they didn’t want a house that was too strongly either. Working with Dries Verbeek of Neo Dimensions Architects, they came up with a design that marries the two. “It’s an honest,
unfussy structure that we feel places the traditional farmhouse in
a modern context,” says Leonhard.

A generous open-plan dining and living area extending onto a covered patio provides the ideal space for entertaining. “In winter, we open or close the patio’s sliding doors depending on whether we want something intimate, or need more space for friends. In summer, the entire area is opened up onto the deck,” says Nicolette.


The finishes they chose play an important role. Porcelain-look polished-concrete tiles cover the floors in the entrance, living area and covered patio but stop at the double-volume dining area where polished concrete and stone takes over. “This was Leonhard’s clever idea,” says Nicolette. “He wanted to emphasise the dining table and chairs so he framed them with a red brick
inlay.” Face brick walls define the entrance and this rustic aesthetic is carried through to the covered patio with a wall clad in slate.


The combination of traditional and modern is most dramatic in the dining area, over which a granite and steel staircase towers. The mezzanine level features oak veneered shelving supported by steel tubing and high-tensile steel cables. “We went for a sleek, modern look in our kitchen as well and even though it’s right next to the dining area, the mix of styles works because they’re
in equal proportions.”


Nicolette combined modern and country-inspired pieces with period French furniture in the rest of the house. In the entrance, modern wood and mild steel console act as a base for a Baroque-style mirror. Romantic glamour in the form of rattan beds, elaborately carved headboards and gilt-edged commodes features in the bedrooms. “I mix styles because it results in exciting spaces that always surprise,” she says, adding that the decor scheme needs a binding element. In this case, it’s a striking charcoal that catches the eye at every turn.


APRIL 2016 |