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.