Thanks to the relaxed, stylish decor, the owners of this house in the northern suburbs of Jo’burg feel as though they’re on holiday all year round in their African style villa.

African style villa 1

With two children, pets and a love of entertaining, Dana and Justin Arnoldi wanted a house that could cope with a busy family life and accommodate their frequent gatherings.

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Double-volume living spaces, patterned concrete floors and double doors that open onto the patio and garden give the house a decidedly Mediterranean feel, which the couple wanted to accentuate. They asked Dylan Thomaz of Studio Dylan Thomaz to help them link the large spaces and make them inviting. “The aim was to create a stylish family home where guests would also feel comfortable,” recalls Dylan.

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African style villa 2

To provide a clean canvas, the walls and ceilings were painted white throughout while the doors and windows were painted glossy black to make a feature of them. The concrete floors, inlaid with slate, were left as is, as they’re hard-wearing and practical for a family with dogs. Rugs were introduced in certain areas to soften them.

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African style villa 5

“We wanted a timeless look so we chose neutral colours and lots of natural textures throughout and brought in touches of green and gold, which gives warmth to the rooms,” explains Dylan. To enhance the relaxed Mediterranean style, Dylan selected furniture that didn’t look too new or perfect. “I wanted the house to look as if it had evolved over time, so in addition to using quite a few of the owners’ existing pieces, we also sourced a lot of the furniture from vintage stores. While we kept all the existing light fittings, which we painted black, we did install new curtains.”

African style villa 4

To give the vast living and dining area a more intimate feel, Dylan divided it in two with a large glass-fronted cabinet placed in the centre, which also provides extra storage space. Above the fireplace, a ceiling-high alcove was created in the chimney breast to store firewood. “As the proportions are large, introducing this feature made it feel cosy and inviting,” says Dylan.

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African style villa 6

At the centre of the house, adjoining the living area, the kitchen forms part of the open-plan layout. Here, Dylan painted the cabinets deep blue and tiled the splashback in Spanish-style tiles. “The family spends a lot of time here, so to give it character, we installed vintage-looking light fittings, a timber island and a wall unit that wouldn’t look out of place in an Italian farmhouse.”

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