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The beautiful Johannesburg home that you'd die to have

Leigh Leigh
House Ber Modern houses by Nico Van Der Meulen Architects Modern
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This glass creation is the epitome of modern style, created by South African architects Meulen Architects. Named the House Ber and based in Johannesburg, the architects have described this glass home as contemporary in design, inspired by their inability to use burglar bars in the estate that the house was built. As they have explained, Toying with the idea of protecting a house that's already secured led to the exploration of large cantilevered boxes enclosed by black steel bars. These boxes form the structure of the house, beautifully shaped and designed.

In South Africa, security can be incredibly important and often needs to be considered when it comes to design and style. These architects have managed to marry this concern with beautiful and innovative architecture, balancing tradition with ingenuity. House Ber's entire look and feel flows throughout, enhanced by beautiful features and an open plan design. 

Follow us on a tour through this stunning structure.

Side view

The rectangular shapes used in House Ber are clear from the side angle. They are layered on top and next to each other, creating horizontal and vertical depth to the house. Size is also of no concern for this home, with large, sweeping driveways, two double garages and two levels. This inspires curiosity around what the inside of the house holds. The needs of the homeowners have been considered, as well as the aesthetic touches. Functionality and beauty collide.

The black steel bars are just as impressive from the side as they are from the front, especially where the upper level overlaps the front door. Unlike the often unattractive burglar bars used for most South African homes, these black bars are modern, trendy and prominent. The architects have paid careful attention to every inch of the exterior, maintaining the black, white and glass design.

Frontal view

From the front of House Ber, the large cantilevered boxes and the black steel bars are clear to see but are offset by the clean, white wall, the large glass windows and doors and the garden surrounding the home. This softens the black, keeping the house looking modern and balanced. 

The large, glass doors on the lower level are inviting and offer a sense of openness and wonder about the stylish design in the interior of the house. The sculpture at the front of the house also mirrors the black steel bars, creating an edgy, trendy effect. Neutral colours are used throughout the exterior—white, black and glass. This is further emphasized by the light used throughout. 

The double-storey design too enhances the light, colour, design and innovation while sticking to a minimalist style. This is a house that is meant to be grand and innovative, packing a punch, which is clear from the front as soon as you see it. No one drives past this house without taking a second look.


The inviting, wide glass doors provide a beautiful entrance into House Ber. The multiple layers of the home can be seen right from the front door, out through the glass windows into the back of the house. The black, white and glass are accentuated by splashes of colour in the form of furniture, cushions and accessories. This may be an architectural masterpiece but it's also a home that is warm and comforting. 

Sleek European furniture is positioned throughout the house, styled by M Square Lifestyle Necessities. Black stairs split the bottom level and the living room level, while large, marble slab floors sweep through the house, emphasising its spacious, large rooms and open plan design. It is evident from the moment you step through the front door that the exterior modern style has not been compromised on in anyway throughout the interior.

Out back

The beautiful open plan style of this home flows out onto a swimming pool area and patio. Glass doors fold out revealing wide open spaces and rooms that are visible from every angle of the house. The interior and the exterior boundaries are invisible, either separated by glass or the frames of the doors when the glass doors are folded back. Meulen Architects have said that their aim was to create transparency between the indoor and the outdoor environments. From this photograph, it is clear to see that they have done just that.

Described as a theme of random connectedness, each room opens up onto the next. As with every other feature in the home, size is of no concern when it comes to the swimming pool. As the architects have explained, The design of House Ber is centred around the living room, water features and covered patio areas.

The swimming pool complements the large patio, mirroring its size.


This overhead shot shows the true density of House Ber, with its multi-layers and glass windows. Picture Sunday lunches with the kids swimming during summer or getting cosy in the lounge in front of the fire during winter. This house lends itself to every season, where opening the glass doors can cool the house down and closing the glass doors can insulate it, warming it up.

Despite it's grand size, this picture shows how beautifully this glass house blends into the surrounding environment, positioned among trees and rolling lawns. It is glamorous without being ostentatious. It's sleek without compromising on warmth and comfort. And it's modern while remaining functional.

From the top angle it's also clear to see that the black steel bars have been used throughout the house's design, working their way around the sides. Instead of creating a prison-look, however, they maintain an edgy and stylish feel. 

Fine dining

Now we begin to explore the heart of the home, where the everyday living takes place. The architects have explained that throughout the house, materials were used in their purest form, including marble floors and Caesarstone kitchen counter tops, as well as lighting to complement the design throughout.

This is evident in the kitchen where the beautiful neutral surfaces complement the white chairs, walls and lampshades. The neutral colours used throughout the exterior are reflected within the kitchen. The kitchen is also simple and elegant, with clean colours and lines. There is not clutter or chaos but rather a minimalist style. Only a few accessories are used, adding some colour to the room. While the hanging lights are beautiful and add to the look and feel, the natural light of the house keeps the kitchen bathed in sunshine throughout the day. Natural light contributes to the warmth and beauty of the room.

The next level

The bedroom maintains the minimalist style but includes a warm red, distinguishing it from the rest of the home. Gorgeous wooden floors are used in this bedroom, complemented by trendy lights and the injections of red. The bed is a simple design, juxtaposed by a simple armchair and table. A rug adds warmth to the room, softening the minimalist style. 

The main attraction, however, are the large, glass doors that open up onto the balcony. They not only make the bedroom seem larger, but truly create more space for upstairs living. The glass walls and doors  allow lots of natural light to filter into the bedroom at all times, which makes the home more sustainable and eco-friendly. It also means that less energy is needed to warm up the room when it is cold. Because the doors open right up, letting cool air in, less energy is needed to cool down the room too.

Comfortable, stylish and modern, this is the bedroom that no one ever wants to leave.

Water tower

Lastly, we come to the upstairs bathroom that overlooks the whole neighbourhood. Marble floors and clean, white colours are used in the bathroom, encased by glass windows. Again, natural light is key here. It flows into the bathroom, leaving little use for too many fluorescent or artificial lights.

The bathroom also maintains the minimalist style—simple but effective. The bath and basin design is not over-the-top in size or glamour but serves its purpose. The real glamour comes in the form of the glass windows and the black steel bars of the exterior. Mirrors have been utilised in this space to create depth as well as for function. 

House Ber is an architect's dream as well as a family's home. It blends function with aesthetics and pulls colours, tones and style together to create a home that is quite simply breathtaking.

Enjoy clean, white architecture? Check out: A House That’s Simple White Perfection.

Are you a fan of contemporary architecture? Let us know in the comments, below.
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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