After 20 years in the business, Ashley Judge knows a good find when she sees it. As one of the owners of the antique dealership, Take it For Granted, which she runs with her mother Lynne Grant, she’s an authority on decor, particularly when it comes to period pieces. Her home in Joburg – a spacious, casually chic assembly of monochromatic rooms – gives her expertise a platform by showing one-offs and collected treasures in the best possible light, the house’s contents almost a curated working version of the store.
The structure of the house is also Ashley and her husband, Gary’s, own vision. Working literally from the ground up, they kept only the original slab, designing and building everything exactly to their specifications, from the finishes on the walls to the windows. This is surprising to learn, given that the overall impression of the house is one of gently worn country calm rather than a new build. The calmness is, in large part, down to the neutral palette, a very conscious choice by Ashley. ‘I’ve never been a colour person,’ she comments. ‘And, also, there’s so much choice now that choosing a neutral is almost the best way to ensure that you don’t get tired of it,’ she adds. This cool palette extends from floor to ceiling – the ceilings white-painted panelling, the floors an off-white cement tile. ‘At the time we were doing the house, choices within the pale spectrum for floors were limited – veneers weren’t as good as they are now and solid wood for a space this big would have been exorbitant,’ she explains of the choice of finish, whose imperfect creamy tint gives it the impression of age.