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Home theatre

A beautiful Parkhurst house with a touch of drama
ABOVE: Orchids in mirrored pelmets on Chinese pedestals salute the guest and lead the eye to the water garden.

Home theatre
Production Colin O’Mara Davis Photography Gunther Gräter

A home and its owners get a dramatic new lease on life. Now playing in Parkhurst…

Tucked away in Joburg’s fashionable suburb of Parkhurst lies the home of Marita and Ray Wise. At first glance, this unassuming gem belies the rich world of sensory experience just behind its doors. Only until these doors open of course – at which point every glistening wonder washes over you as if by complex and powerful orchestration. It is sheer romantic drama, clearly punctuated by the extra-wide entrance gallery that so invitingly coaxes the eye around the interior through to the water garden at the posterior.

Four years ago (shortly after their two daughters had moved from the family home), Marita and Ray suddenly found the four-bedroom house too big and decided to buy a second home; an intimate retreat that they could renovate and design to their specific requirements. 

An impressive collection of Eastern artefacts and antiques gives an air  of lived-in sophistication.

At the helm of the renovation task, architect Mark van Eeden made quick work of the myriad design challenges afforded by the site. ‘Despite all its restrictions, this site allowed us to incorporate the design of various courtyard spaces that are scattered to the east, west, south and north of the house,’ says Mark. This enabled these spaces to become activated at different times of the day as the sun arcs across the sky, while ventilation throughout the
house is regulated by thinly glazed windows and shuttered openings.

As the Wises are owners of an impressive collection of art and furniture, Mark kept finishes on the walls, floors and ceilings simple and restrained to provide the ideal housing for these treasures.

Taking up the reins on the décor front, Esther Lamprecht of El Décor Consulting was the natural first choice. Esther describes her personal design ethos as ultra chic paired with the comfort of a beautifully crafted antique piece. 

An impressive collection of Eastern artefacts and antiques gives an air  of lived-in sophistication.ABOVE: An impressive collection of Eastern artefacts and antiques gives an air of lived-in sophistication.

‘Our living spaces should reflect who we are, where we come from and where we want to be,’ she explains. ‘Above all I encourage clients to combine luxury with relaxed comfort.’

Esther, who is not only a gifted and resourceful designer, is also the Wises daughter. She admits that having her mother as her client proved daunting at first, but the project soon gained momentum and her parents couldn’t be more pleased with the final result.

The initial brief was to create a home that was big on luxury and underscored by interesting detail. Marita loves the Far East and has a profound penchant for the dramatic, while Ray fondly appreciates all things retro; sophistication and an attention to detail were to lay the foundation for this exquisitely realised interior. 

This eco-friendly and self contained home may not lend itself to any measure of simple classification, but the daring interior and ingenious architecture bears testimony to simple pleasures and the love of design.

At the heart of the home we find a kitchen where function and flamboyancy meet; the perfect arena for Marita to display her renowned culinary skills. Much to the delight of the regular influx of guests is the Espresso Bar where Marita serves her own premium speciality blends. This relaxed approach to entertaining extends well into the dining area, and while the hostess’ amply palatable dishes play to an adoring audience, it is the dramatic backdrop of shimmering finishes and opulent furnishings that sets the scene.

For aspiring DIY decorators, Esther recommends using mirrors that can add depth, interest and a touch of glamour to a room. Mirrors invite investigation and draw you to the various elements in a space that might otherwise go unnoticed were it not for a glimmer or reflection.

The lounge in pale gold and crystal finishes is the epitome of opulence. The reproduction Tretchikoff is by Mnandi.
ABOVE: The lounge in pale gold and crystal finishes is the epitome of opulence. The reproduction Tretchikoff is by Mnandi.

An ode to hedonism and whimsical romance, the master bedroom is anchored by a diamond-buttoned sleigh bed in rich chocolate velvet and complemented by bedclothes of the finest Egyptian cotton. The luxurious master bathroom – with its Venetian mirrors and imported marble-top vanities – also boasts a roof garden that presents a tranquil sanctuary to the Wises.

This eco-friendly and self-contained home may not lend itself to any measure of simple classification, but the daring interior and ingenious architecture bears testimony to simple pleasures and the love of design. <

Mark van Eeden Architects 011-482-1648

El Décor Consulting 082-654-2115

* This article is from the Top Billing Magazine archive as printed in February 2009

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