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.

Elsa Young
Colourful Home | House and Leisure
The ultra-bright, eclectic entrance hall sets the tone for the rest of the home.

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.

Colourful Home | House and Leisure
Upstairs in the study, a custom yellow sofa by Executive Designers is juxtaposed with a stark fashion photograph by Mario Testino.

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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The dining room features an array of contrasting works, including a white ceramic by Astrid Dahl paired with a portrait from Mary Sibande’s 2009 Long Live the Dead Queen series. 

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.

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A Monkey Paradise Flame scatter cushion from Ardmore Design is a vibrant addition to the living area’s navy sofa.

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.

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One of the main bathroom’s walls is adorned with nine portraits by Jacques Erasmus. ‘I think he’s the most creative man I know,’ says the homeowner.

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.

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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.

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The vivid blue kitchen was inspired by an image the owner saw on Instagram and features a server by Jacques Erasmus.

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.

Colourful Home | House and Leisure
In the kitchen, a glass-fronted cabinet from Spaces and Places houses the homeowner’s treasured crockery. On the table is a tea set bought in Prague, while a portrait of the owner, painted by his colleague Dr Antonie de Beer, hangs high on the wall.

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.   

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‘Invoking the Fever Dream (Pink)’ (2018) by Neill Wright acts as a counterpoint to a photograph from Nandipha Mntambo’s iconic 2008 Praça de Touros III collection. 

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.

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Books and accessories gather in curated groups on a vintage table in the guest bedroom.

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. 

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The living room coffee table is a repository for cherished pieces, such as a replica terracotta warrior on a horse, gifted to the owner for his 40th birthday.

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. 

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A four-poster bed from @home that was painted gold makes a grand statement in the master bedroom.
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A cherry sculpture from Plaisir du Jardin is placed on a sidetable from Pazz Modernist in the marble-clad spare bathroom.