Illovo Apartment Renovation
The idea of a large, sprawling apartment seems to belong to another age, or perhaps another country. Here and now, apartment living has largely become a matter of smart, compact spaces. But reversing that trend, as the owners of this ground floor apartment in Illovo, Johannesburg, discovered, unlocks a host of forgotten pleasures. The apartment was, until recently, two separate apartments: one with two bedrooms and one with three. The opportunity to join them to create a grander, more spacious home base proved irresistible.
WHAT THEY DID 1. Reconfiguring the spaces of a ground-floor flat is not without challenges. While re-routing plumbing and services reticulation through the floor is easier than it would be on any other floor, certain supporting pillars and beams have to be kept in place. The concrete ceiling meant that changing the lighting for the reconfigured spaces could prove difficult and unsightly because it was impossible to chase into the ceiling. Architect Georg van Gass of Gass Architects opted to install dropped ceilings, which meant the lighting could be totally reconfigured for the new arrangement of spaces. It also had the additional benefit of disguising the concrete support beams that had to be retained for structural reasons. 2. The alteration involved screening in the balcony. The wood-clad front slides away and can be opened to views of the garden, or enclosed to create privacy when necessary, not only from the garden, but also from neighbours above. The wood and steel cladding complements the existing lines and proportions of the building. Staircases have also been added, allowing direct access from the balcony to the garden, creating an alternative entrance to the apartment.
This article was originally featured in the July 2014 issue of House and Leisure.