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DECOR: Keeping forever classic

Classic decor inspiration 1

Keeping forever classic

A home built on the foundation of classical principles conceives an elegance of timeless endurance.

When the word ‘classic’ is used, the reference is to something of an unsurpassed and lasting excellence. It is, in fact, a tribute to a period that saw some of the most venerated accomplishments of mankind, many of which transpired in the field of architecture. So influential were the design principles of classicism that they can be seen throughout the Renaissance, a period that spanned four centuries and saw a revival in the 18th and 19th centuries. Standing stoic in the 21st century, a home in the heart of Joburg’s northern suburbs (created by architect Keith Mason of PWM Architects) attests to this timelessness. Keith observes that ‘classical architecture sees the organisation of space and the implementation of architectural elements in a way that people respond to, and can understand clearly’.

Classic decor inspiration 2
ABOVE: The kitchen is a crisp, refreshing space. While the monochromatic scheme, white limestone floors and shutters throughout the house encourage continuity, rooms retain individual character. Kitchen cabinetry by Robb Mills, chandelier by Limelight Design and table and chairs from P. Maldini.

The axial planning arrangement not only makes orientation within the home effortless, it also creates a spatial transparency that begins at the front door and extends out and beyond to the structured garden. This vista manifests in a three-dimensional manner by rising vertically through the entrance gallery into a copula topped lantern with peeping sky views. Glass doors and sliding screens that slip away neatly into cavities further promote the unrestrained sense of space but also afford the option of a more formal, contained approach. The graceful proportions and grand stature of classical architecture lends itself to the grandiose nature of public buildings. It was thus a challenge for Keith to present the house on a domestic scale. This was achieved by manipulating the form to create the feel of several smaller interconnected buildings. ‘The house is grand but by no means intimidating,’ affirms Keith.

Classic decor inspiration 3
ABOVE LEFT: Upholstered in an alligator-print suede from Home Fabrics, the sofas were made to special design by Petite Upholsterers. The painting above the hand-painted silver-leaf fireplace loads the 
formal living room with drama. The metallic damask wallpaper and scatter cushion fabrics are from Home Fabrics, the Chinese screen and mirrored coffee tables from Julian Decor and the rug from 
YC Designs.
ABOVE RIGHT: Creating a dramatic backdrop for 
the dining room, the wallpaper from Design Syndicate resembles large leaves etched in stone. The Italian glass dining table is by Porada from P. Maldini and the velvet upholstered chairs are from Petite Upholsterers. The Swarovksi crystal chandelier is by Limelight Design and the black lacquer and glass server was made by a specialist cabinetmaker.

Expansive yet compact, it sits comfortably on a site that has been lovingly structured over a period of a year by landscaper Judith Harrison. Sensitive to the relationship the garden was to have with the house, Judith’s intention was to accent the formal areas with the slightly informal. The architectural lines have been referenced in the garden on one side by an elongated stepped walkway of deciduous trees and moody blue plantings, while an oblong pool flanks the other side. A strong curve containing variegated low hedges introduces depth and creates a platform for the focal point – a pathos-ridden sculpture by Rossouw van der Walt.

Classic decor inspiration 4
ABOVE LEFT: The majestic ceiling heights and elegantly detailed cornices perfectly offset the home’s contemporary interiors. The patterned metallic scatter cushions bring just the right amount of colour and visual interest to the informal living room. The low-lying sofa in a Home Fabrics metallic is from Comfort Creations. The square repeat on the rug by YC Designs continues the geometric and linear rhythm to great effect
ABOVE MIDDLE: Overlooking the pool, refuge can be found in the pool house which contains a sauna and jacuzzi.
ABOVE RIGHT: Even the guest bathroom is a little celebration all of its own. Chandelier by Limelight Design, wallpaper from Design Syndicate and circular mirror from P. Maldini.

The sober, respectful formality of both the architecture and garden belies the understated glamour within. Lynne Blumberg, a stalwart of the interior-design industry for the past 29 years, approached the interior with charismatic fervour. Drama and glamour confront as soon one enters. A 200kg antique crystal chandelier brought in from Belgium hangs resplendent and is a case in point to Lynne’s great passion and willingness to go the extra mile. ‘Those welcomed have no idea that it could not fit through the front door and had to be hauled over two walls, up steps, across the garden and through the patio doors – a process which took two hours and involved 10 men,’ she recalls.

Classic decor inspiration 5
ABOVE LEFT: Both on the exterior and in the interior, the shutters serve a decorative purpose, creating a rhythm of pattern and shadow.
ABOVE RIGHT: The main bedroom is a luxurious, tranquil retreat in taupe, white and silver. The bed is simply dressed in crisp white linen with a throw from Tessa Sonik. Beautiful cornices, curtains immaculately recessed and an opulent chandelier from Limelight Design are details which enhance the overall elegance of the room.

The monochromatic scheme and classical proportions of the house proved the perfect canvas for the eclectic mix of furniture, art and objets that arrest the eye throughout at various intervals. ‘Tone on tone is a great international trend,’ reveals Lynne. ‘An interior based on the layering of textures rather than planes of flat colour is far more visually satisfying.’ This notion is beautifully illustrated in the formal living room, an unusual patchwork of charcoal silver greys and metallics that elegantly and ever-so-faintly smacks of bling. Hot cerise orchids and subtly sheened damask scatter cushions animate the scheme. ‘I don’t do interiors that are a fruit salad of colours. It’s like a woman with too much make-up. It’s overkill.’ The interior is a composition of serenity interrupted by scant flashes of bright colour and pattern, and the resultant understated sophistication and contemporary elegance provides a faultless finish to the architecture. Unquestionably, a home that is classic both inside and out.

Classic decor inspiration 6
ABOVE: The home theatre in chatreuse and chocolate is submerged under a fibre-optic night sky. Swivel chairs and fabric beanbag are from Ligne Roset, fur throw from Home Fabrics and the chrome tables are from Comfort Creations.


PWM Architects 011-786-1161
Lynne Blumberg Interior Design 011-447-6016,
Town and Country Gardens 082-784-5793

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