Light & Shade
Hyde Park, Johannesburg

Photographed by Sarah de Pina

A modern homestead

When Michele Throssell was briefed by her life-long friend and client about creating a contemporary homestead for her growing multi-generational family, it was an opportunity of a lifetime. To create a self-contained yet contemporary family village in the heart of Hyde Park.

One of the biggest advantages for an interior designer when working with friends and long-standing clients is that you already have a deep knowledge and appreciation for their style and design aesthetic. This bypassed a lot of the initial chemistry and ‘feeling each other out’, important in the early stages of a client and designer relationship – they just got each other.

The brief from the client was that she wanted to create a familial village that included her and her husband’s home, three separate homes for their three children and one grandchild, as well as a common clubhouse for all. Each home is separated with walls within the plot but the aim was to facilitate their growing multi-generational family.

The client’s previous home was in Sandhurst and the new one (one of the four on the plot) although substantially smaller, as the couple transitioned into retirement, was conceived of with a no-hold-bars approach when it came to luxury.

The reuse of existing pieces was important to the client and where the MTI team really stepped up to the challenge. ‘The design presentation we came up with included what she had already but given new life, like a table with a new piece of marble, old chairs which were sprayed and couches that were remodeled and covered,’ says Michele. ‘Everything else was bought and we spent a lot of time shopping together,’ she says.

‘I’ve known the client for many years and have designed a few of her residences. She is quite conservative in her style with a leaning towards a rural French aesthetic but with this project she was very open towards incorporating some contemporary design features,’ says Michele. The interplay between these two aesthetics is where this project really comes to life and is a showcase of the skill in which the MTI team have become renowned for. High glass windows with dark steel frames provide the perfect backdrop to incorporate the subtle more feminine features of the soft pastel wall papers – geometric in the one bedroom and oversized floral in the guest bathroom and study node – as well as the line of sight focusing out onto the rose and wisteria filled garden.

The scope of the MTI team’s work was vast, basically everything aside from the actual architectural design and building. They put together an elaborate presentation, or design bible for the client that included all of her existing interior and art pieces that she wanted to retain, and it was embraced entirely. ‘We worked with the architects to incorporate the textured and layered finishes, which included amongst others; lighting paneling, wooden floors, pressed steel ceilings on the kitchen counter, as well as paneling to provide that old world charm, and lots of dark steel throughout for a modern and pristine look,’ says Michele.

Every detail has been considered in this home; from the pastel soft aesthetic of the granddaughter’s room with beautiful little cupboards containing off-white raffia inserts, to the elegant main en-suite bedroom, with a feature headboard that doubles up as a desk.

But for Michele aside from the scale of this project, one of her favourite features of the home is the entrance hall that draws your attention to the garden vistas. ‘The volume of space is very high and together with the contemporary horse statue and detailed wooden floor patterning, really capture the essence of this family home, a combination of provenance and contemporariness,’ she says.