Old and new - Everything Property

Old and new

A couple puts combines their respective tastes to create their dream home

Image credit: Anton van Straaten

It is rare in South Africa to find a home with untouched original architectural features, but in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of Parkhurst, Alet Verster and Sebastian Chatov found exactly what they were looking for.

The house was owned by the same family for decades and had not been well maintained – with peeling paint, 80s kitchen fittings and dated tiles just some of the hurdles the owners had to tackle. But despite its rundown state, it still had its original timber flooring and pressed tin ceilings, a great starting point for what followed.

As the owner of interior and architectural studio Patsy and French, Verster took on the renovation of the 210m2 two-bedroomed house, and was responsible for the design and architecture. The house has since undergone a gentle transformation, retaining a sense of nostalgia and sensitively restoring the original features while updating the spaces to suit modern life.


The duo has differing tastes – Verster’s architectural training no doubt responsible for her love of light spaces, bright colours and minimal detailing, while Chatov tends towards retro-inspired dark, dramatic spaces filled with antiques. Their home is the result of negotiation and compromise and the goal of combining each partner’s personal style. “We found some gorgeous mid-century and Art Deco pieces at a second hand furniture store in Heidelberg, which ended up suiting the house to a tee. We jokingly call our combined style Recessionism,” says Verster.

The finished product is a modern three-bedroom family home with light-filled open plan living, dining and kitchen area that flow out through large folding doors onto a split level deck and garden. Perfect for entertaining, the social space can take several large dining tables for a dinner party, and the garden is perfectly set up for movie nights. It’s this flow and connection to the outdoors that is undoubtedly Verster’s favourite thing about the house; “We used to live in a block of flats in Killarney with views onto other flats, so to be able to see the sky from most of the rooms gives me great joy. I can also watch the birds and the dogs playing in the garden!”

The house also includes Verster’s office, and a cottage in the backyard was also renovated to create a small rental apartment. One final transformation is still on the cards: the guest room will be converted into a baby room as the couple are expecting their first child.


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