renovation, houses

Renovation: Before & After House #4 Anlo Neethling and Pierre Smith

A charming Cape Town townhouse in the lap of the mountain has been spruced up with a clever reconfiguration of special spaces.

Greg Cox


Anlo Neethling and Pierre Smith are both in the business of design and reimagining spaces, so they quickly saw the renovation potential in this three-bedroom, ground-floor townhouse in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. They were able to ‘look past its flaws and see it with new eyes’, says Anlo, an interior designer who runs his own business, ONE Design and Development.

Before making an offer on the 100 square-metre flat Anlo (and Pierre, who is a creative director specialising in corporate branding) were able to spend a night or two in the with their puppy Louis, a 16-month-old Boston terrier). This allowed them to get a feel for the space and for Anlo to rustle up 3D drawings for a potential renovation. ‘The property is in a two-storey 1929 heritage block and was an Airbnb rental at the time, so we could stay over before we bought it,’ says Anlo. Their conclusion: there were plenty of flaws, but rectifying the main ones – a dark interior that had no logical flow, and an ugly backyard – was not an insurmountable task.



Also read: All the other Before & After House and Room renovation finalists.

After signing on the dotted line, Anlo and Pierre didn’t rush into the renovation process. Instead they chose to live in the property for six months first ‘to see if their ideas would work’. When the renovation did commence, the main aim was to enlarge the living space, create improved indoor-outdoor flow and maximise the potential of the backyard. ‘To do this, we sacrificed one bedroom, which was adjacent to the lounge-cum-dining room, knocking down the adjoining wall and inserting stacking doors leading to the exterior,’ says Anlo. ‘We then transformed the yard into a garden with plants, grass, a water feature, seating and an outdoor kitchen.’ 


In keeping with their desire for a light-filled living space with seamless flow, the wall between the original living area and the kitchen was removed. The kitchen was also gutted, and sleek, floor-to-ceiling onyx cupboards and countertops were installed. 

This clever reconfiguring of rooms, remodelling and modernising of fixtures, and mixing the old with the new has resulted in a gem of a home that has come into its own. As Anlo puts it, ‘The townhouse was a damaged old lady and we’ve restored her to her rightful glory.’  

For all the homeowners’ personally recommended renovation contacts, see the Before & After Black Book.

To place your vote in the Readers’ Renovation awards, click here.