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Changing it up | Renovation

Changing it up | Renovation

The decision to renovate – and the ideas around that decision – may be arrived at after the owner has lived in a home for some time, or when buying with that in mind.

Usually the expertise of a trusted architect or builder will be enlisted to interpret the needs of the homeowner, which will inevitably inform the redesign. These three renovations presented different challenges but each has resulted in a beautiful space, happy clients and a big return on investment.


Case Study 1 | Upwardly mobile

When interior designer Dylan Thomas was approached to add a ‘wow’ factor, and more depth and space to the living area of a two-bedroom apartment high up in Sea Point, he came up with an interesting solution: wall panelling. This treatment creates the illusion of height in the main living area, achieved with narrow, tall panels. The trick to getting this look, says Dylan, is to ‘choose a moulding design that you like, get a framing company to make up the timber moulds to the size you require, and have them installed professionally by a handyman or someone who has done this treatment before’. Then get a professional painter to paint them the same colour as the wall. Aside from wall panels, Dylan’s other tips for making rooms appear bigger are the addition of floor-to-ceiling curtains, painting walls white, opting for bigger furniture (even in relatively pokey places), and going for big or big-framed art.



Dylan’s idea of creating depth with wall panelling was achieved by painting the panelling moulds the same colour as the wall. This also adds texture to the space, enhanced by the thick woven rug and white knitted scatters. The plain white armchairs further magnify the illusion of more space


Case Study 2 | Grande dame gets a facelift

When Ramon Casado, design director of Bulthaup Kitchens, started looking for a home in Cape Town, the idea of a grand old dame with a thatched roof was never a serious option for him and his family. But after viewing this property, with its garden that included old trees curled around the 90-year-old house, he was sold. ‘Aside from needing new ceilings and bathrooms, the major portion of the project was to build a kitchen and living extension, as well as convert the garage to a small self-contained one-bedroom cottage,’ says Ramon. The changes were actioned by Cape Town-based architects G-Squared.


Ramon wanted to maintain the original cottage aesthetic for the extension so they continued the theme of paned black-steel windows and thatched roof. It was expensive, he says, ‘but the results were worth it’. He also loved the big tree in front of the living room, which they did everything to keep


The glass conservatory that houses the breakfast nook is a clever solution to link the kitchen with the living room. The pitched shape of the glass structure’s roof echoes the thatch and gives the building’s silhouette consistency

The major extension of the home included a very distinctive solution to creating a bigger kitchen, scullery and laundry area. ‘We built a glass conservatory to link the kitchen and the breakfast area with the main living area. It’s a beautiful solution because when all the doors are open it feels like the breakfast area is right in the garden,’ Ramon says.


When it came to the choice of materials, he wanted to stay true to the thatched-cottage aesthetic of the home, and went for simple, basic and neutral finishes like granite and timber floors. ‘In the kitchen we chose the b3 system from Bulthaup with very durable materials, so the work surfaces are laminate, which is tough and stain resistant and kid-proof. We also used grey aluminium for pocket doors that hide all the small appliances, and the fridge, freezer and storage cabinets, as a contrast. For appliances, we went with the very top of the line from Gaggenau.’ 


The addition of a glass skylight/atrium floods the space with light, giving it a completely different feel from before, when the space felt cramped and dark, and enhancing the indoor/outdoor flow



The living room looks onto the breakfast nook and beyond that to the kitchen, which in its prior incarnation was dark and outdated


Case Study 3 | Old bones, new body

The owners of this heritage home in Oranjezicht, Cape Town, bought it as a fixer-upper. They wanted to retain the old Victorian aesthetic of the house but bring it up to date with added quirk via clever design solutions and furnishings. They consulted with their friend, interior designer Clair Drier of Flock Design, to turn it into their dream home.


The combination of light-grey floors and white shutters that open onto the veranda enhance the space even more. Essentially, the point was to create a comfortable living node outside to be utilised no matter the season. The pendant lights, as opposed to hardy outdoor light fittings, as well as the quaint breakfast table and chairs add to the effect of the veranda being an extension of the home and not just an outside area

While the entire home and garden underwent an extensive makeover, it was in the kitchen and living room and on the veranda where the magic really happened. The owners, who love entertaining, wanted a galley kitchen to add to the contemporary look, and, says Clair, ‘Structurally, we opened up the archway to create more space and flow to the living area.’ Clair called on Spotlight Kitchens, who came up with the idea of adding a cut-out groove stretching across the kitchen cabinetry to make the whole space look more linear and create the illusion of elongation.



‘In the living room, the exposed beams were refurbished and cleaned up. We decided to leave them, as they add to that cottage-farmhouse feel.’


Clair added uplighters to the empty spaces between the beams as a way to warm up the space and for visual effect. The soft light really adds a lovely glow to what would otherwise be a dead space


The generous veranda feels like another room. ‘When the owners bought it, the entire space was used for storage,’ says Clair. ‘We opened up the front side but kept the side around the corner enclosed to provide some respite from the wind in summer and rain in winter.’


Adding to the sleek, streamlined effect in the kitchen is the thin, chamfered edge of the countertops and the handleless cupboard doors



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Text: Genevieve Putter
Photographs: Greg Cox / , supplied


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