‘Renovating is our bread and butter’
This innovative couple has turned their talent for transforming homes into a profitable business.
The kitchen was moved from the middle to the front of the home to form a spacious open-plan area with the dining room.
The bold blue on the focal wall was mixed by Mica based on a sample Kelly made by combining various tints. With the help of their friends from Time Out Creations and Hanga Steel, the couple built a new staircase leading to the old attic, now a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom; the raw iron railing adds an industrial touch.
The Croesers brought the Oregon pine dining table with them from Zimbabwe. “It was once an art table covered in paint, then the legs were chewed by farm dogs and it became a workshop table in a garage. Finally, after Johnathan sanded it down, it became our dining table,” Kelly explains. Johnathan made the benches from scaffolding planks.
In 2010, Kelly and Johnathan relocated from Zimbabwe to South Africa. Upon arrival, they were faced with the daunting prospect of earning an income – and finding a place to live. After a rocky start, the inventive couple found a way to kill two birds with one stone: they decided to buy a cheap, run-down property, stay in it while renovating and then sell it.
Their plan worked and now, six years later, the renovators are experts at turning derelict spaces into beautiful homes – and they always have a place to stay. Each renovation takes just over a year and they do almost everything themselves, right down to the tiling and plumbing. Each time, their builder, Onias Banda, makes the trip from Zimbabwe to Cape Town to assist.
The avid upcyclers say this Fish Hoek home, their most recent project, is one of their favourites (and it’s sold already!). “It was a small and dated two-bedroom, one-bathroom property with mismatched windows and a neglected garden,” Kelly adds. The windows were too high and the kitchen was in the middle of the house with walls separating each small room, creating a cramped look and feel. On top of that, all the countertops were almost at chest height – totally impractical!
But the Croesers saw the property’s potential, including wooden floors, high ceilings and a spacious attic. “Now we’re proud to describe it as a gorgeous, light, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home full of character and charm,” Kelly says proudly.
While renovating is their bread and butter, Kelly and Johnathan hope to one day stop moving into homes only to leave them a year later. “One day, we’ll have a permanent place we can truly call our own!” >> The couple used the unusual height of the windows to their advantage and created a sunny breakfast bar in the kitchen. They replaced the old, rotten Meranti window frames with white cottage pane windows bought from a demolition company. “This saved us a lot of money and the windows came with their original burglar bars and glass,” Kelly says. Old forks and spoons were used to create quirky handles and empty picture frames were added around the cupboard air vents. They were screwed on with chipboard screws and painted over. “The frames were affordable and gave the flat and dated doors a bit of depth and a French feel,” Kelly explains.