A Cape Town Couple’s Bright, Victorian Cottage Reno

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Cape Town Couple’s Bright, Victorian Cottage Reno

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Naeem, Cecelia and their two daughters, Amelia and Sophia
Location: Mowbray — Cape Town, South Africa
Size: 1,076 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned

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Naeem and Cecelia had to put in new floors, ceilings and walls in this Victorian cottage, the first house they’ve owned together as a couple. “It was a challenge but also great, because we started with a blank canvas,” writes Cecelia. But since Naeem is a carpenter, he was able to do all the work, not only saving the couple money on the renovation, but also allowing them to create the perfect home for their family.

There was originally a wall between the kitchen and living area that they knocked out to create an open-plan space, which is now Cecelia’s favorite area. “I love the kitchen and lounge; we spend most of our time here. I love being able to cook and still be part of what the rest of my little family is doing.”

Although the house has a small-ish foot print (1,076 square feet), they’ve configured it well to create an illusion of spaciousness. The home has a lovely relaxed feel thanks to the wonderful open-plan flow. And they’ve cleverly mixed older pieces together with modern finishes to create a space that is welcoming…and one that their friends all love.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A mix of old and new. We have inherited so many beautiful old pieces of furniture from my grandparents and parents, and we have mixed these with our modern finishes in our home. We love contrasts, bright colors and lots of plants.

Inspiration: We get a lot of inspiration from our surroundings and watching Grand Designs UK.

Favorite Element: We love our Victorian fireplace.

Biggest Challenge: We had to put in completely new floors, ceilings and walls. It was a challenge but also great, because we started with a blank canvas.

What Friends Say: Our friends all love our house.

Biggest Embarrassment: There are still a few odds and ends we need to sort out.

Proudest DIY: Everything in the house was done by Naeem. Very proud of my husband.

Biggest Indulgence: Our freestanding bath that is locally made by Element

Best Advice: Don’t settle for less. Make sure you spend your money on finishes of the house. You can always buy nice furniture later.

Dream Sources: Pedersen + Lennard, the antique shop, Country Road


Sofa — bought from a Beauty Parlor that was closing down
Mantel piece — found at a salvage yard by Cecelia’s dad
Copper bookshelf — made by Naeem
Brown armchair set — Cecelia’s grandparents
Grey swivel chair — found on Gumtree
Rug: Gumtree
Copper standing lamp — Second hand find
Sewing table — Cecelia’s grandmother
Back to the future print — from a poster dealer on Loop Street
Artwork — by Cecelia
Love will set you free framed tea towel — Studio 19

Table & chairs — used to belong to Cecelia’s parents
Clock — Country Road
Bins — Pedersen + Lennard
Kitchen cupboards — made by Naeem

Small side table with marble top — sourced by Cecelia’s dad
Loft dining table — @home
Fabric soft pot — Skinny laMinx
Tolix style stools — Chair Crazy
Stripe rug — Weylandts sale

Copper pendant lights — Mr P Home
Headboard — made by a friend’s father in law who does upholstery
Crib — Ikea
Triangle print cushions — Mr P Home
Striped rugs — Mr P Home
Artwork — Xenia Venter

Cupboards — custom made by Naeem

Duvet cover — Country Road
Pink faux fur — @home
Tapestry wall hanging — Mr P Home

Bath — Element
Brass pendant lamp — Weylandts
Framed artwork — Seventy Tree
Wooden table — made by Naeem
Wall hooks & towel rail — Pedersen + Lennard

Thanks, Naeem and Cecelia!

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