Architect duo Tanya and Louis Boshoff are completely in love with the work that they do.
It’s not often that you meet a couple that balances each other as perfectly as Tanya and Louis. They run their own firm, Boshoff Architects, from the Simbithi Office Park and believe the beauty of their work lies in the ability it has to make spaces feel special for people. “Seeing people use a space that we’ve designed is really amazing,” says Louis. “People save their whole lives to be able to build their dream home and to be part of that is incredible.”
The couple met while studying in Tanya’s home town of Bloemfontein. Tanya says she had dreamt of becoming an artist, but when her parents urged her to do something more practical, she opted for architecture, a decision she is now so thankful for. “Architecture is so broad. It’s a way of thinking, and of dealing with space, objects and people,” she says. “I love that, and I love that it’s a physical manifestation of ideas.”
Louis is a third-generation architect, having followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. He grew up in Richards Bay where his earliest memories are of his dad building his dream house. He lost both parents when he was just 13 years old, so pursuing a career in architecture and keeping his family’s legacy alive is very meaningful to him. “I basically grew up in a construction site with architecture all around me and I’m happy that I didn’t run away from it,” he says.
The pair says they work well together and it is, in fact, their differences that bring a balance to their professional approach. “We’re very different in the way we think about life and design,” explains Louis. “Tanya is very good at understanding the nuances of design, while I’m more about the bigger picture.” What they can agree on is that the way people use space is at the heart of what they do. “Our buildings are just an envelope. What’s inside is really what’s important,” says Louis.
Having their own children has allowed them to understand first-hand the complexity and beauty of family, and how important it is to design for that. They describe their style as contemporary and take much of their inspiration from modern Australian architecture as Louis lived there for some time. “We want our architecture to be timeless, simple and clean,” says Louis.
When it comes to designing a home, Tanya and Louis say every line and detail is intentional. They are always thinking about the experience one will have when entering the space. “The designers that I admire are the ones that can take something ordinary and make it special,” explains Tanya.
Living and working on the North Coast has had a direct impact on the work the couple does. Having grown up in the area, Louis understands the demands of the climate and the unique challenges of the environment. “I’m very privileged to have experienced good architecture that responds to its environment,” he says.
The natural beauty of the area often enters into their designs too. “We love incorporating greenery to a home. It brings a warmth and freshness,” says Tanya. “The landscape can be very challenging but it also offers so much opportunity for problem-solving and playfulness. The beauty often lies in figuring out the site and seeing how it will work.”
TANYA AND LOUIS’ TOP TIPS:
If you’re planning a new build, it’s worth considering the following…
DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR PROFESSIONALS
Whether you’re choosing an architect, engineer or landscape designer, choosing a fully qualified and experienced professional is always worth it.
USE A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Considering the landscaping of your home really adds value in the long-run. Landscape architects can bring a whole new dynamic to the overall design of your space.
A smaller house that has everything you want in it is often nicer than a bigger house with nothing in it. Make sure you are realistic about your plans.
GET YOUR IDEAS ON PAPER
Writing your ideas down helps to organise your thoughts. Consider how you actually use your home. Think about the spaces you really want, rather than those you think you should have; and don’t be swayed by trends.
GO AND SEE OTHER SPACES
Take the time to drive around and look at houses to see what works in reality. Bear in mind that architecture ages, so look at options to see what you genuinely like. Your home should fit you, your routines and rituals.
Details: www.boshoffarchitects.com; IG: @boshoff_architects
Photograph: Dean Maber