Décor & Gardening
Originally from Joburg, the army brought Mark to this region 25 years ago where he married a Lowveld girl, and never left the area. A prolific architect, most of his work is of a commercial big-scale nature and done in Mozambique, where his company is well established.
The house, he says, was inspired by the sloping stand it is situated on. Mark bought the empty stand from a friend for whom he had designed a house on a flatter part of the property, and planned on going ahead with the build. But whenever he came back to view the stand, he was drawn to the steep slope to one side of it. “I’ve always wanted a view,” he says. “If you live in the Lowveld, you don’t want to look into a garden wall.”
So started what would prove to be an extremely challenging, multilevel build. Spread over four levels, the house juts out imposingly over the landscape, yet blends in perfectly. Its abundance of raw materials complements and accentuates the surroundings, rather than competing for attention. It quietly demands admiration, rather than screaming for it.
“I liked the estate because I could build what I want,” Mark grins. “This is very much my style.” Describing himself as a minimalist who detests clutter, the house suits him and his partner, Lesley Germishuys, down to the ground. When the couple moved in, they started over, getting rid of the bulk of their Bali-inspired furniture in favour of contemporary pieces. The house sports a solid, no-nonsense, angular look – exactly how they like it.
Mark loves art and architecture, one of the reasons behind his extensive world travels. The house, he says, is also a journey. Completed in 2015, it’s still a work in progress. It’s practical, with all services tucked at the bottom, the next level reserved for guests and Mark’s office, followed by the main level with kitchen and open-plan living space and the main bedroom at the very top.
Concrete ceilings give rooms a rugged, industrial chic and wooden screens, left untreated, add a weathered, rustic look to the façade.
Everything is geared towards a no-fuss existence. Mark proudly shows off the automated blinds, self-opening kitchen cupboards and the built-in coffee machine. “You get to a certain age where you don’t want to hassle any longer,” he smiles. “Everything, including music, lights and temperature can be done by computer.” It’s also eco-friendly: the entire house, bar swimming-pool pumps, is run off solar energy and gas.
It embraces and takes advantage of what the environment has to offer. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels slide away to let in a cool breeze from down below, a rare treat on summer days. Concrete ceilings give rooms a rugged, industrial chic and wooden screens, left untreated, add a weathered, rustic look to the façade. They’re practical too, sliding around to where shade is needed.
Two pools – one to relax in, beer in hand, and the other for doing laps – flow into each other and provide the perfect backdrop for entertaining, something Mark appreciates. “It’s such a lekker spot,” he says, looking out over the deck area. “You can have a great party here.”
Asked if this was his forever home, he hesitates. “When I finished it, I thought this is it, but I could build another one. I quite see myself as a Capetonian,” he laughs. Needing a constant challenge is part of his make-up. “I am the kind of guy who must always have something to do,” he says. “I’m a busybody. I like to know I’m going somewhere.”
Get in touch
To see more, go to www.mesch.co.za or contact Mark on firstname.lastname@example.org