Aloe Ridge House by Metropole Architects is located in the Eden Rock Coastal Forest Estate on the southern coast of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. The setting is lush and the atmosphere is serene. It would have been easy to rely on glazings and neutrals to create a backdrop to the treed views beyond but the architects and owners knew that so much more could be achieved by not playing it safe. Enter code blue. Blue was already a dominant design feature within the backyard pool, but why stop there? Why not take that fresh and sparkling hue and flood the interiors with the same fresh approach? Why this works so well is thanks to the walls of glazings that open wide and out of the way to connect the social zones with the pool terrace AND the clerestory windows along the opposite wall. The clerestory windows keep the gemstone blue wall fresh and bright while the area rug underneath the dining table layers in both blues and earth tones as a visual flow from the interior to the exterior. It’s a totally garden fresh look even though it features blue.
As boldly beautiful as the blue interior is, the exterior presents a neutral facade and the home rises from the site as though it is part of it. This is partially due to the large boulders carefully positioned throughout the front of the property creating a connection to the stone wall and the facade that rises above it. Even the linear row of windows between the rock wall and the 2nd storey add a touch of lightness that otherwise would make the facade appear heavy and disconnected from the land.
Don’t you just love how the landscape lighting is positioned to create large foliage shadows on the building from the trees below?
Aloe Ridge House is a 2 storey building that does not include the garage within the main structure. Instead the architects extended a single storey volume to the side of the home to house the double garage.
The entry to the home is right next to the garage, on the side of the building. By locating the entry off to the side, the door can be one complete glazing without worries about privacy.
Just inside the entry a stairwell leads to the 2nd storey and while it features a neutral woodsy open riser staircase with wood clad wall behind it, a rug filled with soft shades of blue begins and that magnificent bold blue wall set the stage for what’s to come.
The blue entry wall is not the same wall as the blue wall in the living room. The kitchen splits these two sections of colour, but even so, they read as one continuous plane.
While the kitchen itself is all about white, the 3 ceramic vases in a soft shade of cerulean still speak the same language as the walls, as does the rug next to the bar. Additional colour is introduced via the myriad of bottles on the glass shelving above the kitchen cabinets and by the front yard foliage visible through the windows.
and what stunning foliage that is viewed through the wall of glazings at the back of the home. The dining and living areas are both positioned to take full advantage of the panoramic views broken only by a short wall dividing the two zones.
While the kitchen and dining room share the width of the home, the living room extends from the front to the back with a fireplace centred on the end wall.
With the size of the living space the homeowners where able to feature a large curvaceous sofa, upholstered in a soft blue/grey and featuring a collection of individual artistic pillows. 3 beautiful rattan drums pick up the curvy lines of the couch while the two occasional chairs contrast completely with their sienna upholstery and angular lines.
Upstairs, the office is all white but still brings in a jolt of blue via the photograph of tree branches against a late afternoon sky. Check out that trestle table with its aluminum sawhorse legs, isn’t it awesome!
The office, like the rest of the upstairs rooms has windows fitted with exterior wood louver panels that can be slid shut – or open – depending on how much light or shade is required.
The louvered shade screens are not required on the main level because of the shelter provided by the upstairs overhang.
The louvered shade screens wrap around two sides of the upper volume and a continuous track on the outside of the safety rail allows them to be custom positioned anywhere along the deck without infringing on the hand rail.
The louvered shade screens also provide privacy to the rooms above when visitors are enjoying the back yard.
The backyard is a carefully orchestrated balance of grass, specimen plants and boulders. There is even a ledge along the privacy wall that creates a continuation of the terrace acting as both walkway and additional seating.
Of course, the best seats within the backyard are those at the foot of the pool. Two day beds, one with a shade screen and one without create the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon nap or stare up at the stars at night.
With outdoor seating like this, who would want to spend any time indoors? Love the fish pattern on the pillows and isn’t the blue wall so refreshing from this vantage point? It’s such a nice compliment to the green of the grass.
As refreshing as the blue walls are, the pool is that much more. The shape is a geometric rectangle, the colour is a bright splash (literally) of blue and the pool surround plays off of the geometry with its large mosaic tiles in a deep dusky shade of blue.
The architects did a fantastic job of connecting the pool’s visual with the interior walls and the pool terrace with the louvered screens on the 2nd storey deck.
and then there is the amazing panoramic views. Its a beautiful setting for a beautiful home.
It doesn’t matter which angle you view Aloe Ridge House, Metropole Architects took everything into account fro the roof-line to the vegetation. I really like this angle of the home – especially at night with the lights on. The way the trees seem to dance within the framework of the architecture is very poetic.
The landscaping at the far end of the pool is just stunning when its lit by the accent lighting at night.
Photography by Grant Pritcher