Every year, our readers enter their upgraded homes into our annual renovations competition. This year’s finalists are simply brilliant. The winners are determined by reader votes, so make sure to vote for your favourite.
The winners of the House and Leisure Before & After competition will receive a trip for two to Thailand for a 5-star break. Incredible prizes are up for grabs by 13 lucky readers, just by voting for their favourite reader’s home or room renovation. Prizes include Caesarstone Surfaces to the value of R10 000, a Sophia chandelier from K Light worth R10 000, a two-night stay for four guests sharing at Abalone House’s Pool Villas, in Paternoster on the West Coast, worth R12 000 and much more! You can only vote once, so be sure to choose wisely.
Reader’s Renovation: House #7
An extensive remodel has turned an old Milnerton house into a handsome home that maximises light and space.
‘I just went with my gut feeling,’ says architect and interior designer Hanno de Swardt when asked why he and partner Nico Furstner chose a tired 1970s-style residence in Milnerton, Cape Town, to be their first shared home. ‘When you’ve been looking for so long, you know exactly what you want, so you can tell straight away when you’ve found it.’ Both living in central Cape Town at the time, the couple were drawn to the generous size of the property (big enough for a garden and pool), and its relative affordability – a benefit of its location being 20km outside of the CBD.
The fact that the L-shaped house was sturdy, but old – a prime renovation project – also appealed, and the two started alterations almost immediately. ‘I did the layout and design, and Nico was the project manager and budget keeper,’ says Hanno. ‘It was the perfect balance of responsibilities.’
Being so involved was strenuous, but rewarding, and the pair had some fun along the way, too. The home’s natural flow from inside to out and within the walls of the house lends itself to an easy lifestyle, underpinned by a warm sense of home. ‘It’s a happy space,’ says Hanno, adding with a smile, ‘I used to be a city sort, but now I never want to leave the suburbs.’
Hanno’s Top 5 Renovation Tips
- If you’re doing the renovations yourself, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what’s required at each stage of the process so as to ensure a logical sequence of events and avoid time delays. Bear in mind that you’ll have to complete certain installations (such as flooring) before you can move onto others (like cabinetry). If you overlook a step, it could hold up everything else.
- Consider installing solid interior doors, rather than hollow core doors – they might be more expensive, but they’re much more effective at noise control.
- Measure carefully and allow for enough space to accommodate elements that need to fit exactly or require precision craftsmanship. Remember to take into account details such as skirting.
- Employ a good waterproofing contractor. There’s nothing worse than moving into your newly renovated home and finding that you have to stand around with buckets after the first rain.
- Get all of your contractors involved right from the beginning of your renovation, and make sure everyone has a clear vision of the interior look and feel you have in mind. This way, all team members will be working towards the same goal, and all the different components of the build will align seamlessly.