Who lives here

Durbanites Alan and Cindy Thornton and their children, Sarah, 18, and Mitchell, 15, spend weekends and holidays here.

The house

A four-bedroomed home on an estate near Hilton in the KZN Midlands with an open-plan living area, covered patio, TV lounge, scullery and separate guest suite.

It was the view that really sold us on this house,” recalls Cindy Thornton of the home she and her husband Alan bought near Hilton. “It’s located at the edge of the estate and we can’t get enough of the trees surrounding it. We love the Midlands and when our son Mitchell started school nearby, we decided it was the perfect time to buy a weekend home here.”

The house needed a few updates, so they enlisted the services of the original builder, Tom Eastwick of Eastwick Brothers, and architect, Andrew Fraser. “We decided to enclose the patio with frameless glass doors allowing us to keep the indoor-outdoor feel, and gain an extra living space,” they say. They also called on Bruce Fyfe and Kelsey Boyce of Fyfe Boyce Design to create country-inspired, cosy interiors. “We wanted guests to feel welcome in our home, and comfortable enough to put their feet up,” says Cindy.

“It’s important that a house feels like a home, so the first thing we consider is the family’s lifestyle,” say Bruce and Kelsey. “Sarah and Mitchell often have friends over and Cindy and Alan also love to entertain, so practical finishes and plenty of space for guests to relax were essential.” The couches have washable slipcovers and the wood-look ceramic floor tiles are exceptionally durable. Underfloor heating keeps the house warm in winter.

“Furnishing the patio like any other room rather than with outdoor furniture has made the world of difference to how we live here,” says Cindy. “It doubled the living area and the glass enclosure makes it like a sunroom on cooler days.” Two long tables allow for large-scale entertaining and the open-plan design ensures that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

The present exposed brick walls and railway sleeper light fixtures inspired the decor, and Bruce and Kelsey incorporated Nguni motifs in addition to natural textures like wicker and leather as Cindy loves the colour, and indigenous botanicals to relate to the KZN setting, it was used all over. While the subtle green and rust palette in the living room was inspired by the foliage outside on the veranda, the area brightens. In the main bedroom, a white and black scheme is a nod to choir son’s school colours.

“This house is just what I’ve always wanted,” says Cindy. “An inviting country retreat that feels warm and welcoming even on the coldest day.”

The 12-seater dining table on the patio is ideal for large gatherings. The combination of galvanized steel and wood on the chairs from Robert Thomson is a nod to contemporary style.

Get the look. Natural textures like raw wood leather give to space a contemporary country feel.

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