My apartment was recently featured in our local edition of the Sunday Times Newspaper, and I have to say I was really proud of myself. Being a creative person by nature (and career) I really put a lot of pride into everything I do from a creative standpoint, and my home is no different. It had long been my dream to own my own little place in Cape Town, long before I moved down here and about a year and a half ago I made the best impulse purchase of my life and put an offer in on a tiny 1 bedroom apartment in the heart of the CDB.
The only problem was, it looked like this downstairs:
And like this upstairs:
Now, make no mistake, I had seen worse. Much worse.
But this was the first place I walked into and ideas just came flooding in. The space (all be it 78 metres squared) had potential, it was as badly laid out as it was fitted out. BUT! It had potential, well, that and I could walk to my favourite bar.
So I started the agonising journey of finding a builder or contractor willing to take on the project. I wont bore you with all of the details – because there are many of them and I’m sure all you want is to see the after shots – but I basically had 2 months from when the transfer took place and I needed to move in. To add to that I had ideas bigger than my budget would allow, which is generally my case with most things in life. I believe the saying is “Champagne tastes and money for beer”
So, every weekend, I went out and searched for tiles, and taps, and sinks, and toilets and tiles and taps and sinks and toilets and tiles and taps. Yeah, it felt like that sometimes. But when you undertake something like this, you only really get one chance, so when your budget is low your legwork is high.
I also had no architect, again, budget, so I drew up all my own floor plans, and kitchen plans and layout and designed a bed and a wardrobe, every single detail of every single corner down to the millimetre – something I would later learn to regret. I was then lucky enough to be referred to my builder by someone at the office (and if you’re looking for a builder please mail me this one was GREAT!) who turned out to be both my voice of reason and the biggest supporter of my vision. Nothing was impossible, and everything that everyone else said could not be done was done and then some.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it sounds very much like it was a smooth process. It wasn’t, It wasn’t even a bumpy one it was an outright off-road adventure with no suspension. For those who know me, I can be a little…um…particular, maybe even pedantic and often (fine, VERY often) there is only 1 right way of doing things in my mind, and thats the right way, so despite time and money constraints I pushed and pushed on every little aspect, because much like getting dressed, everything comes down to the details, and when you miss those, you miss the mark.
At this point, i’de like to give a little shoutout to my buddy Vito Da Silva, this guy took out so much time from his weekends to come and point out every mistake and then help me fix them. He helped me put my kitchen together – because of course, with no budget you cant pay people to do that – he helped me carry things around, install things lift thing cut things and even swear at things, and I can never be grateful enough.
In the end, it’s never quite done, I don’t think any home is. But I’m proud to say it came a long way from where it was.
Here’s the new downstairs:
I’ve tried to go for a very clean and neutral palette, with white walls and grey concrete floors. I have a lot of colourful ‘things’ so it was the best way to not create a house that looked like a christmas tree. My furniture is also all from different era’s with some super retro stuff and some ultra modern stuff, so the neutral space helps everything work together.
Clean lines, glass, concrete and wood! That was my plan and I stuck to it! Rather than having fancy screeded floors, I went with the same floors they use in a warehouse and because I needed a lot of custom built joinery I just went with a simple pine plywood hoping that the repetition would help join the different areas of the apartment, it was also the cheapest option. It really is just like putting your outfit together, you’re trying to match everything you put on but without making it match right?
I really wanted the upstairs area to feel like a little boutique hotel, I mean, if you only have 1 room and really cramped quarters you gotta make it as nice as you can right? I also had a serious storage issue up there and knowing full well that my wardrobe alone is enough to fill up wardrobe space for 2, building storage in every usable space was the most important thing. I managed to design a bed with storage everywhere, in front, underneath and even on top, it’s come in super handy and really helped keep the space clean.
I also did everything I could to source all the design elements from local designers, with exception of the bedside lamps that I had to bring in from the United states. There really are too many products to mention where it’s all from but if there is anything you really like and wanna get your hands on leave me a comment below and i’ll try steer you in the right direction.
A home is never quite finished and it feels like its sometimes an ever evolving thing, Elzaan and I are constantly finding new little odds and ends to add to our little home, it’s tricky because we’re quickly running out of wall space and display space so it forces us to be 100% sure it’s something we love.
And that’s about it folks, just thought I would share this little bit of my life with you. I must however make one thing clear here, all the above images are property of The Bureaux and they have full usage rights so please contact them if you maybe need one or 2.
Okay. Stay fancy.