Afro chic patio makeover

African accents give this revamped veranda a distinctly home-grown style


Forget the kitchen, when temperatures rise verandas become the real heart of any South African home. With summer on its way, a stylish space for living and entertaining was top of mind for Karen Short of By Word Of Mouth, a successful catering and events management company. So she asked interior designer Michele Throssell to give her Jo’burg veranda a cool, new persona.

Originally done up in pink and orange florals and checks, Karen wanted the revamped space to have a timeless feel, but as she has four sons, she didn’t want the look to be too feminine. She requested that Michelle incorporate her existing Morris chairs as well as her dining table as these sentimental pieces were made by her father-in-law.Veranda


Michele’s first move was to pick a colour palette that would be both classic and easy to live with. She settled on a chic combo of grey and blue – a practical nod to the boys who live in the house as these darker shades don’t easily show the dirt – and added white to the scheme to keep it fresh.

For the seating area, she designed a clean-lined daybed and chaise in a contemporary raw wood finish. These pieces contrast beautifully with the comfy charcoal sofa and dark wood Morris chairs, which were updated with plump white cushions. “Many people are scared to mix different wood colours, but I love the eclectic feel this mix of classic and modern creates; I think it lightens the mood,” she says.Veranda


From the design of the metal lamp base and Casarredo coffee table to the drum side tables and Weylandts dining chairs, Michelle’s repeated use of furnishings with ‘open weave’ or ‘cut out’ details adds interest and a light and airy quality to the space.

Michelle is inspired by natural, organic elements and admits that her schemes always include “a touch of Africa”. She brought in texture and home-grown flavour with accessories like white-painted gourds, wall-mounted baskets, a buck head bust and woven candleholders.