This Riebeek Kasteel home is Bernie Diedericks's fourth project ("Every time I mention a new house, my friends groan"), but the first he has conceived from scratch. Lengthy consultations with draughtsmen-friends and architects finally produced a basic plan: a four-bedroom house with no "dead ends". "You can walk around and around without ever coming up against a wall," says Bernie. To add to the open, airy feel, every room, even the bathrooms, has a door leading either to the garden or one of the two stoeps.
The beauty of working with shades of colour from the same palette - in this instance, an array of beiges and creams - lies in the effortless flow it gives the overall space. The unity created by the close-knit colour scheme makes the walls "disappear" and merges the rooms into one living space instead of a series of individual boxes.
According to Bernie, it’s impossible to go wrong with light colours. His previous home in Greyton had also been strictly monochromatic, the only colour being the patches of clear blue Overberg sky framed in the windows. No guesses what he wants to do next... build another house, of course, "a real, traditional Cape Dutch house that looks as if it has existed for centuries".
Whether by design or happenstance, the final result is also a perfect fit for what Pretoria-based architect Pieter Mathews refers to as "letting the soul of a material shine through". Juxtaposing different textures that fall into the same palette has allowed each decor element’s individual character to shine through. The living room's rough concrete floor with its border of smooth, handmade clay tiles is a case in point.
Bernie puts the success of the scheme mainly down to "experimentation, desperation and Windhoek Lager”. The project took all of three years to complete, "mostly because of money.... a lack thereof". The result is a style that is "Mexican meets Cape Dutch meets Italian villa meets Ndebele" - a joyous jumble that somehow works.
The beauty of creams