Serenity Inside the Zen House

Leigh Leigh
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Modern architecture meets minimalist tranquillity in this Zen House, based in South Korea. Designed by architects OUA, this is the type of house that could easily translate into the South African culture and landscape where Fynbos, jacaranda trees and the Highveld are in abundance.

By working with the natural environment around the house, such as trees and plants, the architects have managed to create an easy flow between nature and the architecture itself. The exterior transitions into a beautiful, minimalist interior where all of the colours and features included are designed to portray the unification with nature. 

Despite it's Zen undertones and bare essentials look and feel, the architects have managed to maintain a modern element. This is a home meant to be enjoyed by a large family.

Outside the Zen House

 Hipped roof by OUA 오유에이
OUA 오유에이

북측 주진입

OUA 오유에이

From the outside, the Zen House depicts a standard, double-storey home that has been encased by façade elements that curve around the original structure. From this angle, it's also clear to see how a tree has been included in the architectural design and works in harmony with the building that surrounds it.

Very neutral colours are used for the exterior of the Zen House—beige, white, brown and black. While it incorporates modern elements, it is not meant to appear flashy or sleek. It is a place of serenity. The neutral, earthy tones maintain this look and feel, helping the house to continue working with the surrounding environment.

The exterior does not give much away in terms of what the inside of the house will look like as it almost gives the impression of protection, guarding the peace and quiet of the interior. This is achieved with the use of high walls, big doors and reflective windows

Stepping in

modern Living room by OUA 오유에이
OUA 오유에이

거실 void

OUA 오유에이

The moment you step through the front door of the Zen House, the modern beauty and design of the interior is apparent. A grand chandelier is one of the first features of the entrance hall that is noticeable with it's bright lights, oval shape and its position in the middle of the room, hanging gently from the ceiling. The sweeping, white marble floors are another prominent feature, marrying the minimalist connotation of Zen with a modern contemporary style.

The furniture is sleek and modern while the colours used throughout the downstairs interior are black, white, grey, beige and brown, just like the exterior. The modern accessories that add the stylish look and feel to the otherwise minimalist entrance hall don't stop at the chandelier, however. Silver accessories, modern appliances and a sleek, sweeping staircase all add to the overall look and feel.

Bird's eye

From this angle, the entrance hall can be seen from the top of the stairs, emphasising the minimalist style. Simple, grey furniture is used along with a sleek, black coffee table and a long, black lamp. A few pieces of art are displayed alongside the wall, keeping the actual wall free from décor. The wall is painted a beautiful grey, complementing the stark white window frames that open up to reveal the nature that surrounds the house, including trees, grass, bushes and flowers.

The staircase runs parallel to a rich, wooden panel, which adds an earthy tone to the stairwell as well as the rest of the house. The chandelier can also be seen quite clearly from this angle and is a true modern masterpiece. The white marble floors emphasise the size of the room from this angle, where not every piece of floor is used up, cluttered with furniture or accessories. The idea is to maintain the clean, spacious look.

Dining in

modern Dining room by OUA 오유에이
OUA 오유에이

아이들과 함께 하는 주방과 식당

OUA 오유에이

The entrance hall and living rooms lead into an open plan kitchen, which too maintains the black, white, brown, grey and beige colours. The kitchen walls are stark white, offset by the wooden island and black panels underneath the breakfast bar. White and black chairs further complement this look and feel.

There are no curtains on the windows and three, simple black and white pieces of art decorate the walls. Sleek silver appliances and a trendy wine rack add the modern element to the kitchen. Despite this being the Zen House, this kitchen is clearly designed to be used and enjoyed by a family. The chairs are designed to be sat at, the wine is meant to be drunk and the stove is supposed to be used. While it incorporates clean, white lines and neutral colours, it is still a warm environment created for the family.

Going up

modern Living room by OUA 오유에이
OUA 오유에이

2층 가족실

OUA 오유에이

As you make your way up the staircase, the minimalist effect is more apparent on the landing. A beautiful wooden floor is bare except for a tiny nook in the corner where a white armchair, rug, lamp and art piece sit.

This open plan landing leads into bedrooms and bathroom and is filled with natural light. It is encased by large, glass windows and a glass sliding door that leads out onto a balcony. This is the perfect spot for morning yoga or afternoon meditation. It's also an area that lends itself to the title Zen House.

White, brown, beige and black continues as the interior colour scheme in the upstairs of the home, where a feeling of space and peace is achieved on the landing. Modern elements are in the form of a few splashes of furniture and decor.

It is clear to see here that the architects and designers did not feel the need to furnish every corner of the house, but rather left spaces as is for a feeling of openness.

Modern dream

asian Bedroom by OUA 오유에이
OUA 오유에이

마스터룸

OUA 오유에이

This gorgeous, modern bedroom is the perfect example of how contemporary finishes have added a comfortable, warm dynamic to the Zen House. This bedroom is simple in that it features only a few pieces of furniture: a bed, side table and lighting, however the shape and form of these pieces effect the entire look and feel of the bedroom.

The lamp next to the bed is modern and trendy, complementing the stylish lighting on the ceiling and walls above the bed. The lighting has been designed to complement the colours in the room, adding warmth and light to the room. Wood and beige are the dominant colours and textures in the room, which are emphasised by the soft lighting throughout. The main wall behind the bed features earthy wallpaper that complements the wooden floors and beige walls. The bedroom opens up onto an en suite bathroom, which also maintains the earthy look and feel.

Achieving Zen

modern Nursery/kid’s room by OUA 오유에이

This is the first room that we have seen in the house that includes some colour, with baby blue walls, a silver lampshade and an orange table and chairs. This adds a personal feeling to the house, making it more family friendly. It also maintains the modern style. The house still remains uncluttered and tidy, however, with two simple chairs and a small table as well as a small bookshelf. The rest of the room is predominantly bare.

The baby blue and the orange adds some character to the room, which is emphasised by the natural light flowing through the large windows. The large lampshade featured on the ceiling also creates a beautiful sense of light in the room.

The Zen House has achieved a proportional balance between the modern and the minimalist as well as the stylish and the family home. This is a space where a family can unwind and regroup.

For a similarly inspiring home, don't miss: This Home is a Zen Master.

What did you like most about this home? Which city in South Africa do you think the Zen House would best work in? Let us know!
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