Silo House

Silo House

The addition of a tall, contemporary silo-style twin to an old farmhouse, transformed a tin-roofed bungalow into a spacious, open family home.

Silo House

From the street, the new tower or silo-inspired addition to this vintage 1949 Pretoria farmhouse presents a simple barn-like silhouette. Strip windows let in light and selective glimpses of the garden and courtyard while preserving privacy. To the right of the addition, the main entrance of the house creates a pause between the original house and the addition, offsetting new and old. This flat-roofed portal has a design language, low volume and finishes distinct from either side of the house – new or old – with a raw concrete slab for a ceiling and Moroccan tiles on the floor. The steel windows, however, are carried throughout the house. A large steel pivoting screen creates privacy. Homeowners Charlene and Ruan Oberholzer are pictured at the entrance.

The simple, unobtrusive open-plan kitchen recedes because of the clever use of monochrome and its clean, minimalist layout. A white marble island fronts the kitchen while black cabinets all but disappear against the back wall. The seamless black surface and splashback are both made from Neolith. The refrigerator is set in a recess, and a steel and glass door leads to a scullery keeping the lines clean and hiding clutter. The sleek timber shelf was originally intended for crockery, but when Charlene temporarily stacked some photographs and artworks on it, she liked the arrangement so much, she kept it that way.

In the dining area, the table was custom made, combining the slim turned wooden legs of a vintage-store find with a long desktop to make an elegant, modern-looking dining table. The dining chairs are from Spazio. The felt rabbits are handcrafted in Cape Town and available from Live Simple.

In the en suite master bathroom, aspects of the architecture are picked up in the industrial circular mirror, custom made for Live Simple, and monochrome finishes. The towel hooks are from Pederson + Lennard. The basins are from Studio 19, the taps are from K Carrim and the freestanding bath is from Victoria + Albert.

The master bedroom brings the outside in with neutrals and linen in shades of green. Nadine calls this and the guest room directly above it her “tree-house rooms”, because they’re nestled close to a large tree, which dictated the position of the addition. Against the concrete, bagged brick and screed floors, topped with a seagrass mat, the effect of the green linen and indoor plants is cool and tranquil, subtly blurring the distinction between indoors and out. The bedside tables were custom-made for Live Simple.


Charlene and Ruan’s son Viljoen’s room has a vertical and a horizontal strip windows, letting in light and glimpses of the outdoors while maintaining privacy from the outside. Bagged brick walls, screed floors and seagrass mat bring in natural textures while accents of blue provide a pop of colour.

A covered outdoor entertainment area was added to the east of the house where the deck wraps around the side, positioned so as not to obstruct the views of the garden from the living area, and to extend the living space. Pretoria’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle is perfectly suited to this kind of arrangement, where swimming, barbecues and alfresco dining are the order of the day.

Words — Graham Wood  /  Photographs — Elsa Young