Mellet & Human Architects were approached by Leon Swanepoel of Swapri Projects in 2022 to assist in the design of alterations and additions to the existing residence at 302 Edward Street in Waterkloof, Pretoria. Built in the early seventies and occupied by the original owners until recently, this Grande dame was ready for rehabilitation to its former grandeur, but in rhythm with today’s simple living. 

Landmark property 

With its distinctive slate roof and curved gabled roof windows, the house has always been admired by Pretoria residents as a landmark Waterkloof property, originally designed by Dutch architect, John van de Werke. It was master built by the previous owners over a period of four years, with meticulous detail and no expense spared. However, the house needed to be upgraded and extended to an executive residential level, suitable for today’s modern family life. 

Restore

Existing steel pergolas were re-used to provide extended outdoor space and shaded guest parking.

Project Brief

The brief to the architects was to restore, renew and reimagine the property, and to specifically include the following: 

  • Level and re-design the north-sloping garden for more functional outdoor space.  
  • A pool with an adjacent entertainment pavilion was a necessity, with new boundary walls added for additional privacy.  
  • The existing parking facilities were insufficient, so a new interleading garage and additional covered and guest parking were required. 
  • Refurbishment of the ground floor living areas consisting of an entrance foyer, guest bathroom, library, lounge and dining room, and a living room. 
  • Upgrade, enlarge and modernise the kitchen. 
  • The three dark first-floor bedrooms had small windows, not utilising the views, and the rooms shared only two bathrooms. The challenging requirement was to provide five en-suite bedrooms, a small TV lounge and kitchenette, more natural light and utilise views as far as possible. 
  • Overall, the client wanted the house to resemble a unique signature residence, competing with the best the capital city can offer. 
Restore

The library was restored, with the original kiaat master-crafted wood panelling, shelving and fireplace, and refurbished slate tiles.

Acknowledging history 

In providing their design solution, Mellet & Human Architects decided to give recognition to the history of the house and the original Van de Werke design. New additions and changes to the structure had to be modern, with the intention of contrasting with the old, rather than blending in.  

Many original architectural elements such as doors, windows and wrought iron steel pergolas were re-used in the design. All existing, originally blacksmith crafted, wrought iron steel fences were repurposed and incorporated in the new boundary walls and entrance sliding gates. 

Guests are greeted with a double-volume hall and the original wood-carved staircase.

Landscaping 

A significant cost was incurred in the design and construction of garden retaining walls, levelling of the sloping garden and new boundary walls for privacy and security. Existing trees were kept as far as possible in the professionally landscaped garden. 

  • The northern retaining wall and levelled garden afforded sufficient space for a new pool pavilion, positioned to the east. This overlooks the pool and garden, and gives privacy from the neighbouring property.  
  • An existing steel pergola was re-used to provide extended outdoor space.  
  • On the southern side of the house, the steep unusable slope towards Edward Street was terraced with retaining walls, creating a herb and vegetable garden, with additional outdoor seating areas. 
  • A borehole and automated irrigation system were added for cost-effective, easy maintenance of the garden. 
Restore

The entertainment and pool pavilion, with an oversized braai and built-in cupboards and counters, flows onto the outside patio, swimming pool and garden.

Access and parking 

Access to the guest parking courtyard is via the new entrance gate, while a new double garage links to the entrance foyer. The focal point is a water feature and another re-used steel pergola, which shades the two guest parking bays. Additional parking is provided underneath the pool pavilion on the lower ground floor, which is accessible from a second driveway entrance. 

Renewed and restored 

A grand entrance foyer with an exceptional curved wooden staircase, lounge, dining room, library and TV lounge were mostly refurbished. Exceptional, master-crafted solid kiaat doors, window frames, wood panelling, beams and shelving were all restored to its former glory. Uniquely detailed and functional fireplaces in the library, lounge and TV room are all retained. 

The existing kitchen was extended to the south, with glass sliding doors leading onto a breakfast patio. A light tower was incorporated in the kitchen extension, opening vertical southern views, and to provide northern light into the kitchen. 

Restore

Guests are greeted with a double-volume hall and the original wood-carved staircase.

Reimagined  

Upstairs, the architects realised a lot of floor space was lost due to the intricate roof design. Using this space required intricate architectural and structural design to extend the three existing bedrooms into five en suite bedrooms. Extensions are expressed externally as modern glass boxes, bringing in natural light and views to the outside. New electrically operated skylights provide natural sunlight to the centrally positioned TV lounge, double-volume staircase and internal passage. 

Internally, the dark face-brick walls were plastered and painted for a lighter interior. External face-brick walls were also plastered, as indicated on the original construction drawings. The distinctive original gabled roof windows on the western street elevation are reminiscent of the past. 

302 Edward Street has, through the client’s vision and the architect’s design solution, been restored, rejuvenated and reimagined. History is acknowledged and the landmark residence, now measuring a total of 914m², is given a new lease on life, by adapting to the requirements of modern upmarket living. 

Project name: 302 Edward Street, Waterkloof. 

Property size: 1 718m².  

Floor area: 914m². 

Architect: Mellet & Human Architects CC. 

Interior design: Studio 8. 

Contractor: Prestige Builders (Pty.) Ltd. 

Structural engineer: CJG le Roux Consulting Engineers (Pty.) Ltd. 

Developer: Swapri Projects (Pty.) Ltd. 

Landscape architect: JJ Hosten Landscape Architect. 

Landscape installer: The Garden Group. 

Swimming pool: Penguin Pools. 

Photography: Malan Kotze Photography 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to www.mellethuman.co.za for the information in this article. 

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