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House De Bie
Waverley, Bloemfontein, Free State

Henk DE BIE: Architect

Street:39 La Motte Street


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Alt: 1408m

Designed by the architect for himself.

The house is built on a 150 ft. [45,7 m] x 110 ft. [33,5 m] site on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, which was chosen for the small koppie at the back and the presence of some established large pine trees. From an open planning point of view the site is ideally situated, as there is a street frontage to the south and a koppie to the north. The house has large glass areas to the garden, yet still retains utmost privacy.

A double-volumed lounge is situated in the centre of the house, with large "Float Glass" panes and sliding doors to the north, A portion of the lounge is under a concrete slab at 8 ft. [2,4 m] height, forming an intimate inglenook. This slab, which connects the two bedroom sections on first floor level, also forms a study above the inglenook.

The main suite has a dressing room and private bathroom. The other two bedrooms form an entity on their own, with bathroom, and connected by a spiral stair to the ground floor foyer. The main stair is placed in the lounge and is designed as a light piece of furniture with steel channel bearers, timber treads and 1/4 in. [6 mm] steel rod balustrading running from the bearers to a steel boxed channel on the first floor.

A bar with a low ceiling is screened from the lounge by mosaic panel made by the owners. A bypass from the bar leads through leather folding doors to the dining room, which is a slightly lower level. The dining room opens to the north onto a dining terrace with a pergola over.

By dividing the building programme over two storeys, it was possible to give the beneficial north orientation to all the living rooms and all bedrooms.

Special attention in the planning has been given to outdoor living and entertaining. The covered terrace, paved areas, barbecue and a swimming pool have been integrated into the design of the house, and have a direct relation to the lounge. The pool and a portion of the garden are floodlit from the roof and form a dramatic backdrop for the lounge. The terrace gives access to a studio, which is also used as a dressing room (adjacent to the pool).

The main materials used externally are koppie stone, dark purple rustic facebricks to the ground floor and white-washed fair-faced brickwork to the first floor.

The roof is constructed of "Q-Deck" steel sheets with a layer of 2 in. [51 mm] cement bonded boards, covered with a lightly reinforced cement screed and finished with three layers of "Ruberoid" roof covering, the last layer being mineral surfaced.

The ribbed "Q-Deck" sheets are used as the ceiling and painted white, forming a pleasant pattern.

The colours used inside and outside are restricted to white, black, grey and charcoal. Only small areas where an accent was desired, are wall-papered.

The timber used for doors, cupboards, fittings and balcony railings are Canadian Birch, American Walnut, Afrormosa and striped Sapele Mahogany.

The garage, attached to the house, is executed with a reinforced concrete slab, and will serve as the basis for any future extension on first floor level.

[Wale 1962:115-120]

Books that reference House De Bie

Wale, Laurie (Editor). 1962. New home building ideas : Architects' plans for southern Africa. Cape Town: Purnell & Sons. pg 115-120