A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

Although it’s not hard to find a house with charm in Cape Town, especially in the City Bowl suburbs where pretty cottages, picturesque terrace houses and promising fixer-uppers are the rule rather than the exception, it still took Craig, a footwear importer and his partner Riekus Raaths, a graphic designer for an advertising agency, two years to find the right one. And even then at first glance they weren’t quite convinced. ‘From the street I thought it was going to be tiny, but once we were through the front gate it opened up into a real oasis,’ comments Craig of their first impressions of the Victorian in a quiet one-way in one of Cape Town’s most sought-after suburbs. The transition from the living to dining area is marked by a change in wall colour – Rhine Castle Architectural Grey from Plason, to white for the living room and then on to the outdoor and pool area. The living areas, initially divided by a folding door, are now more open plan. Sleek simple furniture here – Orbit chairs from Weylandts and a metal-legged table – enhances the sense of flow.

Previously enclosed, the front verandah is now open on one side to the garden from which a slice of Table Mountain is visible above the trees. Simple cone-shaped glass pendants from Weylandts hanging above repurposed wine-barrel café chairs and table from Trudeau are the first introduction to the combination of old and new throughout the house. The vintage bicycle was restored at Woodstock Cycle Works Their friend Clair Drier came on board to help with the areas that needed major work – like the bathroom and kitchen – as well with décor sourcing, and a plumbing and lighting plan. ‘We had an idea of what we wanted but Clair helped to steer us in the right direction,’ says Craig. It was on her insistence that the old farm style kitchen be redone. ‘We were originally just going to freshen it up – but we ended up ripping it out and redoing it because we wanted a more open space for entertaining.’ She also was adamant that the wraparound enclosed porch remained on one side to provide a sheltered spot in winter. Beyond the major decisions, Clair also made some small suggestions that ended up making quite a dramatic difference – like the dark stain on the floor and paint-colour choices that give the whole effect a fresh, crisp and contemporary feel. She also chose varying shades of white for the walls to compensate for the different types of light during the day, sparking the only disagreement the couple had during the whole process. ‘I really didn’t like the colour,’ says Riekus. ‘It was the only thing we butted heads on.’Although it needed some work, it ticked enough boxes to convince them. ‘We wanted the character of an old house, with the conveniences of a contemporary one,’ explains Craig, of the couple’s choice to buy the Victorian and renovate it, despite having looked for so long for the ‘perfect’ home. And while a few changes were made to the structure, it was really through fresh combinations of finishes and furniture that they turned it from traditional to timeless. It still retains certain elements of its heritage, but these have been cleverly combined with contemporary touches and a cool up-to-date colour palette.

a-fresh-start2

a-fresh-start3One side of the previously enclosed verandah remained sheltered from the elements, and after a bit of a clean-up offers a covered area to sit in during the rainy windy winter months Their friend Clair Drier came on board to help with the areas that needed major work – like the bathroom and kitchen – as well with décor sourcing, and a plumbing and lighting plan. ‘We had an idea of what we wanted but Clair helped to steer us in the right direction,’ says Craig. It was on her insistence that the old farm style kitchen be redone. ‘We were originally just going to freshen it up – but we ended up ripping it out and redoing it because we wanted a more open space for entertaining.’ She also was adamant that the wraparound enclosed porch remained on one side to provide a sheltered spot in winter. Beyond the major decisions, Clair also made some small suggestions that ended up making quite a dramatic difference – like the dark stain on the floor and paint-colour choices that give the whole effect a fresh, crisp and contemporary feel. She also chose varying shades of white for the walls to compensate for the different types of light during the day, sparking the only disagreement the couple had during the whole process. ‘I really didn’t like the colour,’ says Riekus. ‘It was the only thing we butted heads on.

More information in ISSUE 35