We struck gold, in the City of Gold!

So, it's official. We've sold Haus Gruben (the transfer is currently in full swing), and will be taking occupation of our new home from 1st April!! But this is no 'ordinary' home. After weeks and weeks of trawling property rental ads online, and going along to a handful of viewings with estate agents, we finally stumbled across this absolute gem in none other than Whitehall Court - a pristine heritage building in the heart of Killarney, and arguably one of the prettiest buildings in the city!  

It's a 150 square metre, two-bedroom two-bathroom, first floor lock-up-and-go. Both bedrooms and the lounge lead out onto a private balcony, which has a view of The Wilds nature reserve. One bathroom has a clawfoot tub, the other a shower. Killarney Park is across the street, Killarney Mall is a three-minute walk away, and it's an easy eight-minute drive to Goran's school in Houghton. 


The history of the suburb and the building is an interesting one. In 1899, a small section of the Braamfontein farm was bought by Irishman William Cooke, who named his farm after the town of Killarney in Ireland. In 1905, American-born Rand film magnate Isadore William Schlesinger bought Cooke's farm, and in 1906 the township of Killarney was proclaimed.

During World War 1, Schlesinger built film studios in Killarney (earning the suburb the nickname 'Hollywood of Johannesburg'), and in 1925 he built the Ritz (later renamed Whitehall Court) adjacent to the studios, to serve as both his private residence and offices. The three-storey square building was designed in the American Colonial Revival style by British-born architect John Moffat, around a formal courtyard garden, and includes Art Deco elements. (The University of the Witwatersrand's architecture block was named after Moffat.) The mansion was later converted to 36 sectional title units of varying sizes.

The Schlesinger family was influential in building the suburb of Killarney and, in 1972, after the film studios were relocated to Balfour Park, John Schlesinger (Isadore W. Schlesinger's son) demolished the original studios and built Killarney Mall, the city's first major shopping centre, in its place. The number of apartment blocks in the neighbourhood totals around 60 today, with at least half a dozen authentic Art Deco beauties nestled amongst them.


I am a huge fan of good architecture, and it's going to be an absolute privilege to spend time getting to know such a special space! Going back to apartment living may be a bit of an adjustment for me and Lee, especially now that we're parents (the last time we lived in a flat or a townhouse was waaay before Goran came along), but they say a change is as good as a holiday. And I am totally looking forward to living closer to KEPS and spending a lot less time in traffic. Being a rental, we're obviously limited in terms of what we can do decor-wise, but I'm super excited about putting my own creative stamp on the place.

Above: View of Killarney beyond The Wilds, from the viewpoint on The Munro Drive, with Northcliff hill on the left in the background. Goran's school is just at the top of The Munro Drive, opposite The Munro Boutique Hotel.