READER’S REN­O­VA­TION #7

AN EX­TEN­SIVE RE­MODEL HAS TURNED AN OLD MILNERTON HOUSE INTO A HAND­SOME HOME THAT MAX­IMISES LIGHT AND SPACE

House and Leisure Before and After - - CONTENTS - TEXT DAYLE KAVONIC STYLING KIM BOUGAARDT PHO­TO­GRAPHS KARL ROGERS

An ex­ten­sive Cape Town re­model was achieved thanks to an ex­pert bal­ance of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties

‘Ijust went with my gut feel­ing,’ says ar­chi­tect and in­te­rior de­signer Hanno de Swardt of On­nah De­sign when asked why he and his 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 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. The first tar­get was a third bed­room, which they sep­a­rated from the house and con­verted into a tiny self-con­tained cot­tage. It was here that the cou­ple lived while the rest of the home was ren­o­vated – an ar­range­ment that, while tax­ing, al­lowed them to be hands-on through­out the process. ‘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. Case in point: they marked the start of ren­o­va­tions to the main struc­ture with a house-wreck­ing party. ‘We in­vited friends over, gave them ham­mers and hard hats, and we all took turns knock­ing down walls,’ re­calls Hanno.

Re­mov­ing in­ner divi­sions was a sig­nif­i­cant part of the brief. ‘We wanted the whole space to read as one to make us feel like we can breathe eas­ily on many lev­els,’ Hanno says. In line with this vi­sion, the en­closed kitchen was made open plan and in­te­grated with the din­ing room and lounge. Other changes were cen­tred on mak­ing the house’s in­te­rior ap­pear grander, broader and longer – a feat achieved by rais­ing the height of door­ways, re­plac­ing car­pets with a con­tin­u­ous screed fin­ish and sub­sti­tut­ing poky win­dows for ex­pan­sive glass slid­ing doors. The transformation was also aimed at bring­ing the prop­erty’s dated in­te­rior into the 21st cen­tury. A mix of fur­ni­ture from the pair’s for­mer lives gives the home a lived-in au­then­tic­ity, while pat­terned tiling, graphic scat­ter cush­ions and bold art­works tie to­gether an

aes­thetic that’s both con­sid­ered and con­tem­po­rary. An off-white and grey pal­ette also does much to lift and re­ju­ve­nate the in­te­ri­ors. ‘The house was orig­i­nally but­ter­nut yel­low,’ says Hanno, ‘but I’ve al­ways liked the calm tones adopted by many At­lantic Seaboard homes, so we brought a bit of Bantry Bay sex­i­ness to Milnerton.’

The only rooms that break with this neu­tral scheme are the main bed­room and its en suite bath­room. The cou­ple’s de­sire for the lat­ter to be ‘dark and mys­te­ri­ous’ is ex­pressed in inky grey tiles, a black free-stand­ing bath, mar­ble-topped van­ity and wall-to-wall mir­ror. And in the bed­room, an ab­stract wall­pa­per me­di­ates be­tween this dra­matic scene and the greens of the wa­ter­wise gar­den out­side.

This 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.’ Find this home’s ren­o­va­tion spe­cial­ists’ de­tails in the Black Book on page 124 and on­line at house­an­dleisure.co.za

THIS PAGE A PHO­TO­GRAPH BY HANNO DE SWARDT IS ON PROUD DIS­PLAY IN THE LIV­ING ROOM OF THE HOME THAT HE SHARES WITH HIS PART­NER NICO FURSTNER IN MILNERTON, CAPE TOWN. THE FIRE­PLACE IS AN ORIG­I­NAL FEA­TURE OF THE PROP­ERTY THAT WAS GIVEN A NEW LEASE ON LIFE WITH A COAT OF WHITE PAINT AND NEW TILES AT ITS BASE, WHILE THE ARM­CHAIR WAS BOUGHT AT A SEC­OND-HAND SHOP AND RE­UPHOL­STERED IN MUS­TARD FAB­RIC. A LARGE RUG FROM HAUS BY HERTEX (HERTEXHAUS.CO.ZA) ECHOES THE GEO­MET­RIC SHAPES AND GREY TONES PRESENT ELSE­WHERE IN THE ROOM.

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