Before & After: A 1929 cottage makeover in Cape Town

published Dec 24, 2015
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(Image credit: Submitted by Jo)

After a frustrating and unsuccessful 10-month hunt for a new house, I offered my Facebook friends a reward if they’d bring me a lead that converted into my new home. A local talk radio station picked up the story and put me on air to ask about my unconventional home search methods. I got a few dodgy calls from listeners (one man just wanted to take me out for a drink!) before a woman texted me to say she had a ‘kind of magic’ home she thought I might like.

(Image credit: Submitted by Jo)

Hoping she wasn’t an axe murderer (she was hoping the same about me), I arranged to meet her and see her cottage. The house was nothing like the modern, open plan style I thought I wanted it but I fell in love with it instantly. Built in 1929, it’s a bit of a Tardis – it looks small from the outside but it’s surprisingly spacious. It needed a complete makeover but has a great feel. Now, after a year, a lot of stress, legal action against errant builders, and a ton of work, the house is just about done.

The entrance hall is one of my favourite spaces now. I loved the original front door but it didn’t let much light in, so we knocked out the wall around it and I had a frame with transom and side windows custom made – even the edge profiles match the original door. The glazing is a combination of beveled kite-shaped pieces and a Moroccan style patterned glass, edged in copper. The flamingo wallpaper makes me smile and everyone (except my Dad!) loves it. I ordered it online from Wallpaper Direct and had it shipped to Cape Town. The original Oregon pine floors were rotten and sagging so they came up, the cavity was filled in, and the floor is now a beautiful bamboo. The color on the walls below the flamingoes is Plascon’s Urban Rock and I refer to the light fixture as a giant bling golf ball! I’ve kept the original electricity board and meter exposed as it dates back to when the house was built and is in perfect working order.

Thank you, Jo!