An Exuberantly Colourful Home In Parkhurst
This boldly colourful home in Parkhurst belongs to an opera-loving, art-collecting doctor, and is all about the links between art, music and design.
On the evening I arrive to interview the owner of this colourful home in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, classical music wafts a background melody throughout every room, upstairs and down.
The homeowner – a Melville-based doctor – is dressed in neat black jeans, a sunny leather jacket, Italian leather shoes and yellow polka-dot socks.
His sense of personal style and predilection for the finer things in life is reflected in his colourful home as much as it is in his attire.
Colour abounds here; yellow velvet curtains are a spirited match for checkerboard floors, a custom canary deep-buttoned sofa dominates the library, and vintage Peter JA Stuart dining chairs reupholstered in pink and green fabric team with a modern faceted server by Nowa.
‘I have a weakness for Champagne,’ says the owner, opening the server doors to reveal numerous pigeonholes stocked with bubbly.
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In this home, art, music and colour form an exuberant union, indicative of the man who lives within. There’s a fusion of contemporary and classical, expressed in the mix of French and Italian antiques, and slick pieces from brands like Tom Dixon, Seletti and Pazz Modernist.
A set of sofas bought on sale from Waterhouse Interiors has been recovered three times; now sporting Ralph Lauren-inspired navy fabric with chartreuse piping, they are in direct conversation with a trio of prints of Maria Callas by Lawrence Lang.
The owner had moved into this Georgian house two months prior, after a few details had been changed to tailor the space to his taste.
Truck loads of terracotta tiles were lifted and replaced with his favourite checkerboard flooring, a fireplace was installed and the walls were painted in various shades – a delectable tangerine in the main bathroom, electric blue in the kitchen and ‘Dior grey’ in the rest of the home.
The latter was his brief to Francois Burger of Top Paints, who matched the shade used in the Dior shop in Paris. ‘I love this grey; it’s soothing and warm and you can really play other colours off it,’ the homeowner says.
I’m lucky to catch him; he has just returned from singing a concert in Bloemfontein and by morning, he’ll fly out to Munich to watch Pretty Yende perform Lucia di Lammermoor. Directly after, he’ll head to Italy to sing at a friend’s wedding on the island of Ischia.
Of course, he works like the rest of us, seeing to a loyal client base as a GP, but travel is dedicated to his passion. ‘I plan every holiday around opera and concerts. I was last in Berlin for my birthday, where my friend Elza van den Heever sang Richard Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder,’ he says.
The walls of his home are adorned with an array of artworks, most of them by South African artists like Nandipha Mntambo, Wilhelm Saayman, Deborah Bell, William Kentridge, Norman Catherine and Walter Battiss.
There’s a common thread – many are portraits and music related, whether they’re of musicians and singers or operatic posters. The first work that he ever purchased was a pencil drawing of a musician – bought in 1987 from an exhibition at the medical campus library – and this was the beginning of his love of art.
When we ask the owner’s thoughts on the ties between medicine and the arts, he speaks of emotional connection. ‘I practice medicine with my heart… it’s a human science, and the same emotional connection exists in art and music,’ he says.