House and Leisure (South Africa) - - House -

Philippe van der Merwe of Tonic De­sign – who cre­ated this home’s crisply con­tem­po­rary in­te­ri­ors – calls the set­ting of the house ‘a Joburger’s par­adise’. It’s a Rand­lord man­sion orig­i­nally built in 1910 for min­ing mag­nate Al­fred Beit’s Cen­tral Min­ing and In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, set ma­jes­ti­cally on Park­town Ridge. As a re­sult, it ex­em­pli­fies old Joburg, with sweep­ing lawns and a ter­raced gar­den that af­ford beau­ti­ful views over Jo­han­nes­burg Zoo and beyond.

While the abode has a fine pedi­gree, Van der Merwe’s task as in­te­rior de­signer was very much to rein­ter­pret its fea­tures, work­ing closely with the mod­ern, tech-savvy, de­sign-for­ward fam­ily who had moved in. Van der Merwe had worked on the in­te­ri­ors of their pre­vi­ous home, which was an LA-in­spired Mid-Cen­tury Mod­ernist gem, per­haps more party pad than fam­ily home. Their move into her­itage ter­ri­tory was not by any stretch about find­ing in­stant de­sign so­lu­tions. It be­came a grad­ual and con­sid­ered process with a brief that evolved over sev­eral years. Their ap­proach was very much about pre­serv­ing the home’s his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter while find­ing a way to ‘live in a con­tem­po­rary way’ and al­low­ing it to ‘feel light and airy’ so that it would find new rel­e­vance and vi­tal­ity.

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