05 September 2014
Morrells Boutique Estate
Take a detour to a charming South African dwelling in Johannesburg, reviving European antiquities and influences. The perfect setting for a film.
It is a story of passion, that of Bernice and Mike Morrells who, out of a former residence, have created an entirely unique property in the Northern quarters of Johannesburg. The gamble paid off for this boutique estate, which blends the best of South Africa and its European heritage: a love of Provence pervades its lavender beds and pointillist flowering trellises, its embroidery and tin outdoor furniture; witness a touch of British with textiles adorned with bunches of faded roses and elegant silver tea sets; an Italian dolce vita twist emerges with fountains and beds of cut box trees, its barns converted to serve Grand Siècle style suppers. And let’s not forget the beauty of the South African climate, the joie de vivre of its uniformed personnel and the inspirational architecture behind this Cape Dutch manor.
With one side of the estate situated in a former farmhouse and its outbuildings, and the other in an old manor, the Morrells boast two very different aspects. Firstly that of the garden, scattered with beds of roses, lined with a boules ground and a tunnel beneath which an enormous raw wooden table tempts any manner of summer celebration. Pecking chickens and cockerels roam the grounds, free to navigate this labyrinth of stone passages in the open air. And then, from an ancient noble abode with its mock relics, four-poster beds, engravings of baroque cherubs whirling through the skies, like a charcoal lithography straight out of a rose garden.
Neither object nor detail escapes Bernice Morrell’s expert eye: from Budapest to the South of France, passing into England, these relics and beautiful trinkets compose an authentic décor. Timeless even. Whether in the barn, where weddings are prepared in a bucolic fashion, synonymous with bouquets of pastel flowers – pink and poinsettia, small arum lilies and wild flowers arranged in silver teapots -, or in the bright dining room, arranged as it was at the turn of the century, where you can experience High Tea at the weekend, you can just imagine movie stars getting into character before filming starts. O, the sweetness of (contemporary) South African life!