|Kitchen Sink & Mixer||1245|
|Bathroom Sanitary & Fittings||6680|
|Bedroom, Kitchen,Bathroom Cupboards||16723|
|Oven, Hob, Extractor||7198|
|Tiles & Materials||8121|
|Paint & Materials||5000|
|Bricks, Sand, Cement, Shutter board etc||11500|
|Kitchen Countertop & Installation||7000|
|Installation of Cupboards||4900|
|Building, Cleaning. Tiling, Painting Labour||28675|
|Shower Glass & Mirror||3793|
|Laying Parquet Floor||8000|
|Managed the entire project|
|Designed all cupboards and assisted with fitting|
|Installed Kitchen & Bathroom shelving|
|Made and fitted bedroom light|
|Had false bathroom shutter made to hide geyser and fitted it|
|Removed bathroom door and rehung it on opposite side|
|Sanded and oiled window sills|
|Used old shutter-ply to make box shelves for bedroom|
About the Project:
In 2016, I returned from working abroad. I was trying to establish what I was going to do going forward but one thing that has become apparent to me in recent months is the rapid growth in the price of property and popularity in Cape Town CBD. I wanted a part of this, but I…
In 2016, I returned from working abroad. I was trying to establish what I was going to do going forward but one thing that has become apparent to me in recent months is the rapid growth in the price of property and popularity in Cape Town CBD. I wanted a part of this, but I knew price was a major factor. I began scouting property websites with tremendous enthusiasm.
I decided I wanted an apartment, but they were either too expensive or had already been snapped up. I eventually came across an apartment… but it required a total makeover! I enquired and on the same day I put in an offer which was accepted. It was daunting; although I have always enjoyed DIY and being handy, I knew I was in for a major challenge.
I eventually took ownership of the property in October 2016 and based on the amount of work required, I thought it was best I started looking into getting quotes for a contractor to come in and do the entire renovation. I had heaps of ideas, but also had a budget of around R100 000 – R150 000. After speaking with some renovators, and receiving their quotations coming in at R260 000, I quickly needed to rethink my strategy. I spoke with a friend who worked in the industry. He suggested that I run with the project on my own and that he would lend me tools I didn’t have and point me in the right direction when looking for labour, contractors and a bit of advice. That was it – decision made! I was finally going to do my first renovation, and something I had always dreamed of.
I began stripping the apartment on the 20th October 2016. I had a good look at the space and decided on what I wanted to create. The apartment was a complete mess and had been left behind in the ’70s. It was a 43m2 studio and I decided I would transform it into a one-bedroom apartment. The original apartment was comprised of a bedroom/living area as you walked in, which made up the left-hand side of the unit. On the right, there was a bathroom leading off the living space and just after the bathroom entrance there were cupboards recessed into the wall. As one walked past the cupboards, there was an entrance on the right which became a tiny dining area and kitchen.
After considering my options, I decided that once the apartment had been stripped, I would knock down the wall behind the cupboard and bring it in line with the bathroom entrance wall. I also increased the length of this wall to create a smaller entrance into what was the old kitchen and would become the bedroom. The wall which was to be rebuilt would have a kitchenette built along it. This would now allow for a living space comprising of a kitchenette, lounge and dining area with a bathroom leading off this living space and then a separate bedroom. More space and more functionality.
There was a lot to be learnt in this project. I set off ordering all the initial materials to get my labour going with building the wall and clearing out all the rubble. Unfortunately for us, the goods lift was being serviced and we had to haul all our bricks, sand and cement up the staircase. What a task! It was all totally worth it when I came to discover that there was parquet flooring under the carpet which had been preserved for years. My love for wood spurred on the decision to revive the parquet and bring it back to its former glory. The old kitchen and bathroom were ripped out and then I planned the layout of the bedroom and the bathroom.
After the apartment had been cleaned out and the wall had been built, I was able to get in the electrical contractor as well as the plumber to begin their work. I was now able to look at the whole space and begin ordering anything I needed. This came with many challenges, such as certain items that needed to be built, fitted or installed before another item could be measured or ordered.
I planned a bathroom consisting of a big walk-in shower where a bath was originally and I removed the old metal vanity, which was replaced with a concrete countertop and wooden shelves next to it. For aesthetic appeal, I kept the original retro toilet with the original bathroom tiles on the wall behind the toilet as a statement wall. When the shower base was in and tiled, I was able to get the shower glass and mirror measured up for cutting and installation.
In the bedroom, the newly built wall was left unplastered as a feature and then built-in cupboards were installed up against the existing wall between the bedroom and bathroom. Since the bedroom was originally the kitchen, an old and really horrible floor was left behind. I decided that I wanted parquet floors throughout the apartment. I was fortunate enough to source this for free from another renovator who was getting rid of it. The floor had to be levelled to get the same floor height throughout the apartment.
When working on the kitchen, I was able to use the existing plumbing from the bathroom. Unfortunately, with the apartment being outdated, the electrical supply wasn’t sufficient to support modern appliances. I decided it was worth installing a separate DB board in the unit as opposed to using the original which was housed in a cubicle in the corridor. This also made life a lot more practical. I spent a fair amount of time planning the kitchen to ensure I got the most out of the limited space. I also had a false ceiling made up above the kitchen to create the impression of being in a small kitchen. I was originally going to do concrete countertops but due to time constraints at that time of year, I sourced a similar looking counter in engineered stone.
New lights were installed throughout the apartment; they were also installed in new locations since they were all originally on the walls. A number of additional electrical points were installed and I also added some at a higher level along with a TV connection to hide behind the TV so that there were no cables hanging below in plain sight.
The majority of my time was spent either planning, managing labour or fetching materials. A huge challenge was the fact that there was no parking available at the building and we had to work around this. I knew my back was against the wall from the beginning, since December was approaching and thus so were builder’s holidays. Suppliers and contractors would be shutting down and thus I had to ensure that I kept my finger on the pulse. Every so often, certain labour would not pitch and the same for contractors. It certainly was nearing silly season. I also had to get the work completed as a number of apartments were being let out to holiday-makers. We all know renovations and holidays don’t mix.
The 20th of December arrived and believe it or not… I had completed this mammoth task. What an incredible experience and learning curve. Proud moments were knowing I had saved massive costs and also did well with time, considering there were other apartments being renovated and they had gone over their timeframes. When I wasn’t managing I always got back to being hands-on. I designed the kitchen and assisted with the fitting. I fitted the shelves in the bathroom which were made from reclaimed wood that I had aged myself. I also fitted the floating kitchen shelves which was a challenge since the wall was already tiled. I sanded and oiled the window sills and I hung the bathroom door, which we had swopped to the other side and had to create recesses for the hinges. I helped fit the skirting as well as a skirting for the feature wall behind the toilet. I designed, built and fitted the bedroom light and I also fitted all the towel rails etc. in the bathroom.
I also realised there were a number of areas in which one could save on costs, but I am a firm believer that if you want something, do it right the first time to prevent would have, could have, should have. Since I managed the project and sourced all items, I was already saving on that cost and thus I felt I could go for a slightly higher end but funky finish. When it came to furnishing the apartment, I sourced some second-hand vintage furniture and then restored it myself. I built shutter-ply box frames for shelving with the remaining shutter-ply from the renovation and used them in the bedroom. One learns to be resourceful when on a budget and it is amazing how much further you are able to stretch your cash. I learnt a great deal with this experience and now I am looking forward to the next one hopefully!