SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: INSIDE ARCHITECT, ALET VERSTER'S REFURBISHED HERITAGE HOME

Renowned Patsy and French architect, Alet Verster invites The Insider SA into her heritage home that’s renovated to add a modern twist to a historic structure.

Inside architect, Alet Verster’s home is a unique marriage of the past and the present through the preservation of the original structure and flair of a 1930s Parkhurst home. Alet’s contemporary reimagining took four months to complete, creating an inspiring interior that she shares with her husband, Sebastian, and their baby boy, Daniël.

Alet Verster and her loyal companion Bendis. (PHOTO: Nadine de Beer)

Alet is the Founder of Patsy & French, a bespoke architecture and interior design company that specialises in elegant and inviting living spaces. With experience in both South Africa and Europe, Alet showcases her work in her own renovation of a heritage home in Johannesburg.

“A renovation is a really good way of doing sustainable building because that building is already there, they’ve already used all the materials,” shares Alet. “You’re just adding and changing to it.”

Alet explains that the benefit of finding an older house is the unique, era-inspired features that are hard to replicate authentically anywhere else. “It adds a lot of character!”

What initially attracted Alet and Sebastian to the home was the antique finishes on the home like the original pressed steel ceilings and the Oregon pine floors – all which were preserved to keep the charming feel to the home.

Inspired by Parisian and Melbourne architects’ work on heritage buildings, Alet both wanted to preserve the old and extend the new. She broke down multiple walls in the home to open it up and allow a more open-planned flow.

To marry both Sebastian and Alet’s styles, the couple decided on incorporating both of them into the home. Alet explains, “My husband loves the dark, dramatic colours which we used to emphasise the old features of the house. And, with the new extension, we kept it very simple and modern – the way that I like it.”

As a result, the home combines contemporary minimalism with mid-century influences and touches of art-deco furniture and antique finds.

Alet’s style is seen especially in the lounge which has contemporary, leather sofas and is complemented with side tables to add texture and functionalism. Alet made sure there was cohesion in this room, explaining, “All the colours are warm and speak to each other – the teals, the blues and the yellows.”

However, most importantly, the home was designed to hold their growing family, catering to a lifetime of memories together. In their renovation, the guest room was converted to the baby Daniël’s room which features family heirlooms and neutral greys.

Since the original master bedroom and bathroom were too small, these rooms were part of the renovation project, expanding them to accommodate the family. “We opened the main bedroom onto the garden so it’s nice and light and bright,” explains Alet. Their room is completed with personal touches like her great-grandmother’s chest of drawers and her hubby’s framed coats of arms.

The garden was carefully planned to maximise the small space. Alet divided the exterior into two sections, creating both an entertainment deck to host family and friends and a small lawn for playtime.

Alet shares, “We love spending time there with the dogs, with our baby, and with friends. Sometimes we put a sheet on the wall and project movies for movie nights.”

Alet’s home wonderfully showcases how the past, present, and future can intermingle to create something uniquely beautiful; merging eras, styles and personality.

All images photographed by Nadine de Beer.

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