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you are here: DECOR: Houses | The Rose House

The Rose House

Top Billing featured home by designer Joan Young 1
ABOVE: Jacarandas, conifers and roses offer a colourful view into the beautifully landscaped garden.

The Rose House

When this home got its makeover, it was indeed extreme, as the house adopted a colourful new life and the garden became a scented paradise of roses.

Words Tracy Lynn Chemaly Photographs Angie Làzaro

Home sweet home, so the saying goes… but living in the same house for year after year can become somewhat monotonous for some people. You wake up in the same bedroom every morning, the same garden greets you as you step outside, and the same sofa welcomes you home at night. After 16 years of such an existence, the owners of what is now nicknamed ‘The Rose House’ decided they needed to ruffle things up a touch – which resulted in a mammoth refurbishment that required the expertise and services of interior designer Joan Young. The designer’s first impressions of the former 
home was that the floors and walls were far from impressive.

Top Billing featured home by designer Joan Young 2
ABOVE LEFT: The rose garden’s fountain trickles softly as the scent of various blooms fills the air.


‘Drab tiles, with carpeting in the lounge and dining room. Walls were scratch-plastered and painted in a nondescript cream, while voile curtains and drapes covered all the windows, completely obscuring the light and views of the garden. These had to go!’ she recalls with a smile.

With the renovations a welcome thing of the past and a new home life part of their present, the new-look home is a showcase of white, antique Travertino-marble floors, rinolite walls with dropped ceilings and magnificent, folding Merbau-wood doors that bring the gorgeous garden scenery and sunlight indoors. The exterior of the house was as large a project as the interiors, with help coming in the form of Karen Gardelli of Creative Containers & Cottage Gardens.

Top Billing featured home by designer Joan Young 3
ABOVE: The covered veranda is a restful space sheltered from wind and sun, while easy access to the kitchen and dining room ensure breakfast alfresco is always on the owners’ agenda.


‘The owners were so busy with the two-year refurbishment that the garden become a state of overgrown, wild abandon,’ says Karen, who began by clearing the two-acre property of its creepers, then pruning and sculpting the trees to prepare for the new garden. This outdoor vista is now filled with roses, alyssum, million-bell petunias, azaleas, hydrangeas, olive trees and potted lemon trees, and can be enjoyed from the vibrant garden room.

Joan removed the doors between this room as well as the family room to open up the living space, offering maximum appreciation of the swimming pool and two of the three fountains. The interiors provide an eclectic play of colours, where soft greens, eau de nil, turquoise, as well as pale and shocking pinks complement the climbing roses accenting the doorways and the multicoloured garden beyond. Here the upper and lower gardens become a kingdom of floral delight, where ducks flap around in their pond, and birds perch in age-old jacarandas.

Top Billing featured home by designer Joan Young 5
ABOVE: The home is an interactive space where the chic living area becomes part of the beautifully manicured garden.


The colour that abounds indoors can be attributed mainly to the husband of the house, who insisted on having more interior colour than his wife initially wanted. ‘The wife is a very feminine and refined lady,’ explains Joan. She was happy with the taupes, beiges and golds that suited her brief of having a timeless and elegant home. ‘I believe in making the client happy but, at the same time, I try to introduce new ways of appreciating colour and texture, both in the building materials and fabrics,’ she adds.

A beautiful, soft and faded carpet signalled the beginning of the formal living room. Joan usually starts her colour scheme by selecting the right carpet if the room calls for one. This became the inspiration for the floral Ralph Lauren-linen cushions placed on the sofas that were re-upholstered in antique velvet.

‘I tried to reuse and revamp the pieces of furniture, artworks and objects that my clients loved,’ Joan says.
The guest suite is a take on the bedroom of French actress Catherine Deneuve, while the main bedroom is decorated with Lalique glass lamps that the owners have had for a number of years. This same stylish room is plastered in Ralph Lauren wallpaper.


Top Billing featured home by designer Joan Young 4
ABOVE: The formal living room was inspired by the carpet. The cushions are dressed in floral Ralph Lauren linen mixed with plain silks and fringing, while the sofas are covered in an antique velvet
ABOVE MIDDLE: Touches of colour have been placed around the house (the lady of the house’s husband insisted on it!).
ABOVE RIGHT: Blues and whites fill the guest suite in a pattern inspired by a French design used in Catherine Deneuve’s bedroom. The original four-poster mahogany bed was redone to match the bedside lamp.


The luxurious ambience extends to the outdoors, and a walk through the formal rose garden offers tranquil meditation for the owners. The scents of rose varieties such as Andrew’s Comfort and Granny’s Delight remain faithful servants to their names. The kitchen herb-and-vegetable garden provides just as much enjoyment, that lasts long after the last morsels of freshly picked salad have been devoured.

It’s this combination of outdoor recreation, coupled with indoor delight that is sure to keep the owners happy here for at least another 16 years.

Joan Young, interior designer, 082-900-1854
Karen Gardelli, Creative Containers & Cottage Gardens, 082-745-2891
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