This contemporary farmhouse was designed to be a relaxing retreat for a busy professional couple


Sitting low on the landscape and set among established trees, this modern farmhouse in Monaghan Farm, north of Jo’burg, exists in harmony with its natural surroundings. Having found a well-treed stand, the owners insisted that the house was built without removing them. “Fortunately, we only had to remove one tree,” says Nadine Naidoo, who designed the house around them.

You might like: A compact contemporary farmhouse

The decision to work with the trees rather than against them wasn’t just an aesthetic one: with a no-boundary-wall rule in the estate, the extensive foliage provides much-needed privacy.

Keep reading: Inspiration for outdoor living areas

The owners chose Monaghan Farm for its eco-friendly ethos, and the house includes features such as rainwater-harvesting tanks and heat pumps for hot water. It is also well insulated for optimum energy efficiency. As the house faces north-east, Nadine designed a sloping roof that allows for high-level windows that let in sunlight in winter, while the overhang provides shade in summer. The roof affords a higher ceiling in the living area, giving the impression of space. For heating, there is a wood-burning stove.

Only two bedrooms were included, one of which is currently being used as a study, but the layout allows the owners to extend the house at a later stage. A cottage provides the necessary guest accommodation. “The challenge was to connect the buildings visually,” says Nadine. “So we built a ‘spine’ that links the carport, garage, cottage and main house.”

The owners requested as few steps as possible and a modest façade on the approach. Costs were minimised by using inexpensive materials, like concrete for the kitchen island and bathroom vanities, and simple steel structures throughout. The money saved was used for lifestyle-enhancing features such as an outdoor shower, and the raised pool and deck, which have breathtaking views of the Magaliesberg.

“We both work in the city,” explain the owners, “so this home is a retreat and a place where we can comfortably host family and friends.”


THE ARCHITECT: Nadine Naidoo of Meik Architecture and Design.

THE CLIENTS: A professional couple who work in Jo’burg.

THE BRIEF: To design a contemporary farmhouse that maximises views and allows for future expansion.

THE HOUSE: A two-bedroom single storey with a deck, raised pool, outdoor shower and guest cottage.