Ooh la la from floor to fridge
Home’s managing editor, editor, Daledale Niehaus, niehaus, and her husband Ruan spent many a weekend and evening repainting their dark kitchen to give it a romantic
Ruan’s father, George, made this dresser from oak veneer for Dale and Ruan years ago. It has served as a TV cabinet and a linen closet. After a coat or two of Annie Sloan Old White and then Annie Sloan Clear Wax, it now has pride of place in the kitchen. >> Crystal handles from Plan B Vintage
THE COLOUR PALETTE
1 Annie Sloan Old White (sealed in some places with Sabre Stone Seal, in others with Annie Sloan Dark Wax and Clear Wax – see captions) 2 Annie Sloan French Linen 3 Black Auto Paint from Mark’s Paints (mixed with white Auto Paint to get the right shade of grey)
We didn’t really have money for a new kitchen, says Dale. She estimates that their expenses came to less than R7 000, excluding the cost of the new gas stove and pendant lamps. “It’s difficult to say exactly what we spent because we did the work over a long period,” she adds.
The couple re-used what they could – from the existing cabinets to old scaffolding. Even the old door handles were used again. “New handles really are a luxury. As long as it isn’t a lion’s head, I can live with it,” Dale laughs.
Dale and Ruan, a handyman, literally spent weekends and evenings repainting the space. If you ask Dale how long the project took, she replies: “Too damn long.” Or who helped paint: “I painted every single flipping brushstroke on those cupboards myself...”
The pair have been living in their home in the Cape Town suburb of Kuils River for 20 years and in 2004 installed brand new plywood veneer kitchen cupboards and a laminated floor.
“At the time, we thought it was the most beautiful kitchen in the world,” says Dale. But 10 years later it began to bother them more and more that the kitchen was separated from the other living areas.
“When I started working at Home magazine in 2013, a whole new creative world opened up to me.”
Dale’s makeover ideas had a domino effect. “Initially, we were only going to break out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and move the top cupboards. But then we decided to break through to the outside room, which is now a scullery and laundry. And then those cupboards had to be moved... And the sink...”
Dale and Ruan worked creatively with what they already had in their kitchen. “The cabinet carcasses are timeless and I also knew that painting would really be the most affordable way to make the biggest difference. A rectangular cupboard door, after all, never goes out of fashion,” she chuckles.
In the midst of it all, the laminated floor, which had been laid on top of Novilon, was lifted – Novilon and all – and they painted the floor black with Mark’s Paints’ Auto Paint.
After the building and alterations had been done and the shifting around of cupboards was complete, they removed the cupboard doors, sanded them lightly with 60-grit sandpaper and Dale began to paint in earnest. “I applied two coats with a sponge roller and then sanded the edges lightly with 120-grit sandpaper to create a weathered look. Then the doors were sealed with Sabre Stone Seal.
“We worked like this for six months, sometimes until after midnight, and had to make one-pot meals on a two-plate stove. The dishes had to be washed in the bath! But you won’t believe the transformation. My youngest son Armin ( above), who is disabled and doesn’t like change, says it’s great to have everything so open. Ruan is incredibly proud of our handiwork but he is also so grateful it’s finished.
“I feel like I won the lottery! The kitchen is now where it all happens. Everyone sits at the counter and no one is excluded from the party. The island is definitely the best addition!”
• Plan well beforehand (we didn’t!).
• Choose a colour scheme and stick to it but don’t be afraid to play around within that palette.
• Be patient and wait for the paint or sealant to dry completely. I made the mistake of stacking the sealed doors against each other until Ruan could hang them again but they stuck together. I had to re-paint them, wait for them to dry and re-seal them – a tough lesson learnt!
• Give yourself a deadline and stick to it.
LEFT After Dale painted the cabinets, she sanded the edges lightly (otherwise you’ll sand through the veneer) to create this weathered look.
Dale decided on a neutral palette for her kitchen because it’s an open-plan space, “not because I wanted a tranquil feel – tranquillity isn’t exactly a word that anybody would associate with me!” The cupboard doors were painted in Annie Sloan Old White...