Explore a Lavishly Decorated Midlands Farmhouse
Complete with a romantic garden, sumptuous furnishings and an olde-worlde aesthetic, this Midlands farmhouse is the epitome of luxurious country living.
Driving up to Templeton House in the Midlands is an instantly breathtaking experience.
The farm gates open to a driveway lined by a wall of 40-year-old azaleas, leading up to the house’s grand entrance. Consisting of four en suite bedrooms, a study, formal lounge, dining room, sitting room and large country-style kitchen, this Midlands farmhouse is expansive to say the least, and also boasts separate cottages for visits from extended family and friends.
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Homeowner Chris Nel (a seasoned interior designer) and his partner Atholl began their story with Templeton when they sought trauma counselling following a home invasion.
'The therapist asked me what was the one thing I had always wanted, and I knew straight away – to own a farm in the Midlands,' says Chris. So the pair teamed up with friend, and fellow designer Karen Stanek, and set off to find their perfect home.
After a weekend of disappointing viewings – with Chris on the brink of giving up – a serendipitous last-minute call came through from an agent to view Templeton. The trio was a mere metre up the driveway when the decision was made to buy the house.
Previously owned by an elderly widow, the Midlands farmhouse had deteriorated after years of neglect, but the gardens were, in Stanek’s words, 'spectacular'. A friend of Chris’ even commented, 'If you can’t find peace in this garden, you won’t find it anywhere.' What began was the ultimate design project for both Chris and Stanek, who worked together to bring the home to life. 'This truly was a dream project,' says Stanek.
They decided to keep the structure of the house as close to the original footprint as possible, so as not to upset the balance it had with the garden. The interiors are characterised by high ceilings, impressive archways and grand features such as marble fireplaces and sprawling sun-filled verandahs. These open spaces meant that they had to work extra hard to ensure that the furnishings were as commanding as the building itself, yet also comforting and inviting.
Although traditional in design, the rooms were fitted with modern creature comforts, from heated towel rails and aircon to underfloor heating and a full security system.
As for the decor, it boasts a fascinating mix of antiques sourced from an array of places, including local auctions. Items from Stanek and Chris’ personal collections are also on display, paired with ornate objects that speak of the owner's love of the extravagant and unique.
The result is an olde-worlde aesthetic, accented by immaculate, high-end pieces infused with character. From delicate China and exquisite crystalware to carved wooden furniture and plush rugs, all of the items in this Midlands farmhouse have meaning and reflect Chris' passion for surrounding himself with memorable collectables.
Since the garden was one of the drawcards of the property, the design team called on landscaper Sandra Milanese to help transform the overgrown space.
With her meticulous eye, Milanese created a lush green outdoor area, with rolling knolls and larger-than-life trees as far as the eye can see, disturbed only by the pool house complete with checkerboard floors – the ultimate spot for sundowner gin and tonics.