House Neale-May

Client: Mr Donovan Neale-May

Professional Team: Interior Architect & Interior Design: Elements Architecture & Design

Project Overview:

Just a short drive from South Africa’s most prestigious private schools, The Reeds at balgowan is a 44-hectare eco-estate located close to the N3 motorway from Johannesburg to Durban, overlooking the valley around Nottingham Road with sweeping views to the Drakensberg Mountains. Homeowners can enjoy the serenity of trout-filled dams, abundant hiking and mountain biking trails, and the solitude of walks through adjoining indigenous and commercial forests.

The Reeds at Balgowan exemplifies the spirit of “UbuntuLiving” with unique, enviro-sensitive homes built to stay in harmony with nature. Celebrating the bio-diversity of KwaZulu-Natal’s picturesque Midlands Meander, The Reeds is a verdant, forested nature reserve featuring internationally acclaimed architectural designs that blend into the landscape and maximize active living in a pristine outdoor setting.

Interior Design Brief:

The brief was to design and install a contemporary farmhouse interior that complemented the non-traditional exterior of the home, as well as adhere to the principles of “Ubuntu Living” and sustainability principles.

The clean simple lines of the building was carried through to the furniture and art work. The look and feel of the furniture was kept understated with the overall theme of the design earthy and natural but with a strong contemporary overtone.

The materials for the internal finishes as well as the furniture, as far as possible, was chosen in keeping with sustainability principles and where possible where sourced locally to minimize transport cost (and carbon footprint) and to support local business.

As the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands is a hotspot for talented South African artists, this principle of sourcing locally was applied as far as possible with every design decision. As one of the main interior design priciples, work from local  photographers, craftsmen and designers were used to accentuate individual spaces.

Any outstanding items that were not available in the area were sourced from South African designers made in South Africa,  with only a few specific imported light fittings used.

The home features energy efficient appliances, tasteful shutters for privacy, full-vista windows, hydronic underfloor heating system, comfort zone fireplace, and a state-of-the-art home security and property surveillance system linked to a nearby armed-response unit based in Balgowan.

The designers, artists, craftsmen and suppliers are listed as follows:


Linen: Falucca Linen: Town, Western Cape)

Rugs: KwaZulu Weavers: ,KZN)

Karoo,Western Cape)

Barrydale Weavers: (Barrydale, Western Cape)

Throws: Shuttleworth (Fort Nottingham, KZN)

All internal timber furniture: Homewood Furniture: (Balgowan, KZN)

Headboards and Ottomans: Bellacraft : Cape Town

Leather sofas and diningroom chairs: Weylandts: (Durban, KZN)

Lighting: Province Lighting: (Cape Town, Western Cape)

Willowlamp: (Johannesburg, Mpumulanga)


Fine Art: Dave Wheilden: (Hilton, KZN)

Photography: Lawrence Brenon: (Hermanus, Western Cape)

Warwick Locke: (Durban, KZN)

Riaan Wolhurter:

Ruan Smit:

Ceramics: Artmore: (Caversham Valley, KZN)

Astrid Dahl:  (Notthingham Road, KZN)

Mick Haigh:

Cathy Brennon: (Hermanus, Western Cape)

Turned Timber: Andrew Early: (Durban KZN)

Blown Glass: Henk Nel (Paarl, Western Cape)

Client: Mr Donovan Neale-May: The Reeds at Balgowan

Professional Team:

Interior Architect & Interior Design: Elements Architecture & Design

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