Home Renovations - - Façade -

years, avid DIYER Cather­ine Pate spent her free time tack­ling dé­cor projects, restor­ing old pieces of fur­ni­ture and do­ing minor ren­o­va­tions. So in 2013, when she came across a derelict house in her home­town of Porter­ville, not far from where she and her hus­band Warwick live, she jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to get stuck into a “real” ren­o­va­tion.

First up was the home’s façade, which in­cluded a 10.5m-long stoep. Since they had a lim­ited bud­get, Cather­ine, the owner of PR and copy­writ­ing com­pany CP Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Pub­lic­ity, and Warwick, who owns a waste trans­port business called Waste Pro, did most of the work them­selves, in­clud­ing break­ing down walls, plas­ter­ing and paint­ing.

It took the cou­ple about three weeks to com­plete the stoep – they were only able to get stuck in dur­ing their spare time – and now it’s the ideal space in which to un­wind and watch the trac­tors and horse carts mo­sey on by.

“I loved watch­ing Ele­phant Cot­tage, as we de­cided to call it, emerge from be­ing bro­ken and ne­glected to be­ing beau­ti­ful and proud,” Cather­ine says. >>

Cather­ine de­cided on a bright blue (Plas­con Mi­ca­tex in the colour Oceanos) for the re­stored home’s ex­te­rior. “My hus­band thought I was mad when I showed him the colour but once it was on the walls, he agreed that it was the right choice. Ev­ery­one in town was talk­ing about it!” Cather­ine says.

“We painted the out­side over a week­end so that when peo­ple drove past to take their kids to school on Mon­day morn­ing, they got a sur­prise – we nearly had an ac­ci­dent at the in­ter­sec­tion!”

The cou­ple found the beau­ti­ful red front door, as well as var­i­ous other dé­cor items, at a sec­ond-hand store in Tul­bagh.

“The door had been packed away in a shed; we needed a torch just to look around! It was a bit bent af­ter years of lean­ing against a wall in this damp space, so we had to wet it and weigh it down with ce­ment bags to straighten it. We then had to shave off a fair amount to en­sure that it would fit the door frame, but it was well worth it and this stun­ning old door with her orig­i­nal post slot and door han­dle has now been re­stored to her former glory. The coat of red enamel was the fin­ish­ing touch!”

with Cather­ine

What chal­lenges did you face dur­ing this ren­o­va­tion? I think the big­gest chal­lenge was try­ing to get it done as quickly as pos­si­ble. You can’t rush things when work­ing on an old house, es­pe­cially with a tiny team. Any ad­vice on buy­ing sec­ond-hand pieces? Solid wood is amaz­ingly for­giv­ing – you can re­ally get away with a lot! Search scrap­yards and on Gumtree – there are in­cred­i­ble bar­gains to be found. What ren­o­va­tion tips can you of­fer? Do a bud­get fore­cast then in­clude a con­tin­gency bud­get for un­planned ex­penses and sur­prises – then add some more! What’s next? The front gar­den: we’d like to de­velop the bougainvil­lea hedge so you look onto a riot of dif­fer­ent colours; with its thorns, it also serves as a good se­cu­rity mea­sure and it pro­vides pri­vacy. We used stone chips as a wa­ter­wise gar­den sur­face but I’d like to redo the path from the front gate to the stoep with some­thing more at­trac­tive than ce­ment slabs. We are also wait­ing for the very young wild olive trees along the side of our prop­erty to grow.

Plas­con Athenas Dream Plas­con Win­ter Sky Du­lux Fra­grant Cloud 3 Du­lux Sum­mer Med­ley 4 Du­ram En­dure End­less Sum­mer

The cor­ru­gated-iron roof and ac­cents such as the or­nate bur­glar bars in con­trast­ing white com­plete the pic­ture.

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