A Jozi home with a fresh take on décor

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Faced with the challenge of tastefully combining heirlooms with contemporary pieces, Dina and Jakus Venter have created a space that’s both chic and nostalgic.

Photographs Elza Cooper | Styling Suretha Jansen van Rensburg

WHO LIVES HERE? Jakus and Dina Venter with their dogs Chuckles and Honey

WHERE: Blairgowrie, Johannesburg

For many years, Jakus and Dina Venter moved from rental home to rental home as they travelled across the country for both work and pleasure.

When the adventurous couple finally decided to settle down and buy a property in 2016, they opted for a simple, rather bland-looking home in Blairgowrie.

Always up for a challenge, they were initially on the lookout for a fixer-upper but settled on this home which required no structural changes but was plain enough to allow them to put their personal stamp on it. And that’s exactly what they did!

Finally, their beautiful heirlooms could be hauled out of storage and take pride of place in their new abode. These inherited treasures have been incorporated into the Venters’ more modern style with simple chic touches on display throughout their home.

“In every room, you’ll find a few inherited pieces,” Dina says. “Initially, I found it challenging to work with these older items; I’d get frustrated and wish that we could just buy brand-new furniture! Now, looking back, I’m so grateful that we had these amazing pieces at our disposal.”

Dina, who runs a decorating service (, has always had an interest in décor. “I remember being in Grade 2 and sticking coins, which my dad had given me when he returned from overseas business trips, in patterns on the walls,” she says. “When I was nine, I also painted our bathroom wall with my own stencils in an attempt to update it. My mom wasn’t too happy but she humoured me.”

Jakus is never far behind when it comes to beautifying spaces. “I conjure up the crazy ideas and my practical husband brings them to life, mostly without complaints!” Dina says with a smile.


The couple painted the blue and grey vertical stripes on the wall to add height in the main bedroom and to match the scale of the large kiaat four-poster bed, which they inherited from Jakus’s mom. “I love the Gatsby-like feel of the mirror –- it makes me feel fancy when I’m getting ready in the morning!” says Dina. Mirror from MRP Home

The occasional chair, inherited from Jakus’s mother, is upholstered in Aperture Breeze from Skinny LaMinx; Dina inherited the mid century sofa set from her grandmother and had it upholstered in a plush grey fabric.

Bright idea! Jakus made this standing lamp using a wire wastepaper basket and aluminium pipes which he spray-painted a copper colour.


The couple wanted to create a focal area around the original fireplace. They were keen on built-in niches to store firewood but there wasn’t enough space, so they attached a hexagonal shelf to the wall and added a shelf that rests on top. Jakus spray-painted the wall brackets gold for a glamorous touch; metallic wall stickers finish the look. “I opted for triangular gold stickers to contrast with the old-fashioned painting, which belonged to Jakus’s mother,” Dina says.


The couple loved the open-plan kitchen when they first viewed this home but wanted to add interest – without breaking the bank! They introduced pattern in the form of small, white hexagonal tiles on the island and splashback, following through on the hexagonal theme of the shelving in the nearby living area. Dark grey grouting accentuates the shapes and the kitchen roller blinds, walls and door echo the grey.


Blue has been Dina’s favourite colour for as long as she can remember. It inspired the plate collection, which began with one that she and Jakus bought while backpacking in Morocco years ago. “It now features a Delft plate from my grandmother, a basket from Swaziland, a plate from Portugal that a friend gave us as a gift and one by local ceramicist Esra Bosch,” Dina says. Below the feature wall is yet another piece inherited from Jakus’s mom; the blue tiles mirror the collection above beautifully.

Dina's top tips for decorators
  • Decorate around key pieces and plan, plan, plan – even if you want a ‘mismatched’ or eclectic look.
  • Create a cohesive décor scheme with accessories.
  • A neutral colour on your walls and white curtains can go a long way. My white curtains went with me from house to house – they always add a fresh touch.
  • Greenery works wonders in any space. I find that bamboo palms, fiddle-leaf fig, delicious monster and Calathea thrive indoors.


The Venters gave the stoep off the living room a makeover with eye-catching outdoor furniture. “We often braai on the lawn; guests can sit here and enjoy a drink and snacks until we dish up at the outdoor dining table,” Dina says.

Dina made the cushion on top of the large plastic container with outdoor fabric (Fat Cactus Noir from Hertex). This ‘seat’ now doubles up as storage for the hanging chair and scatters when they’re not in use (the stoep is covered with shade cloth but isn’t protected from rain). Dina used the leftover fabric for the scatters on the Malawi chairs, which were painted a striking yellow for a bold pop of colour.

Hanging chair from; rug from Airloom; Malawi chairs from Sugar Apple

"I try to incorporate trends as they come along but I keep it understated so that when the trend is over, the overall look of the space remains classic." – Dina

The more formal stoep area leads out from the TV room. A dark grey exterior wall adds to the sophisticated feel in this outdoor space. “We often have dinner out here and this forces us to turn off the TV and sit around a table and chat,” Dina says. “The dogs also love it; they always sleep on the rug under the table to get away from the heat or rain.” When entertaining, this server is put to full use; rectangular mirrors reflect the garden.

Server from Re-Trend


The bathroom had already been renovated when Dina and Jakus moved in. The large sandy-coloured tiles weren’t to their taste so they added their own touch with a blue focal wall (Evolve Paints in the colour Hermanus Mist). “I like that this space is plain as it’s easy to work with – we can change it whenever we feel like an update,” says Dina. The roller blind rods were installed high above the windows to add height.

We love the leather cupboard handles from


In the home office and guest bedroom, Dina works at her grandfather’s old writing desk which she painted white; the chair, once brown, was upholstered in pink velvet from U&G Fabrics (Legacy Range, colour 50). Chair from @home; wall stickers from Simply Home; pom-pom curtains from

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April 2023

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