The ingenuity with which this young couple renovated their ’70s-style kitchen on a limited budget earned Fransa and Grové Schoombee of Pretoria third place in our Fix it with Flair competition. But, as they discovered, a lack of funds means a lot of effort is required – it took plenty of hard work, a lot of courage and some clever ideas to take their kitchen from dated to contemporary.
Although the Schoombees only entered their kitchen into the competition, they have since also renovated the rest of their home. ‘We fell in love with this house in Lynnwood Glen in October 2013. It’s about 35 years old and, fortunately, none of the other prospective buyers spotted its potential. We were able to snap up our first home for a bargain!’ says Fransa, an architect.
The couple, who were married in 2012, moved into their new house in February 2014 and immediately set to work. ‘We camped in our own home for seven weeks while we painted every single surface, lifted all the old carpets, laid new tiles and scrubbed the place from top to bottom,’ recalls Fransa.
An Open-Plan Kitchen
The biggest change was in the kitchen. ‘The room was partitioned off in a typical ’70s fashion, where the wife’s cooking had to happen away from hubby and the guests,’ laughs Fransa. The Schoombees’ plan was simple: The doorway between the dining room and kitchen was closed off with a dry wall, and the large cupboard with its serving hatch that previously hampered the open-plan flow was carefully removed so that the kitchen became connected to the rest of the house. Grové took great care in making this cupboard smaller with a handsaw so that it now fits perfectly against another wall in the kitchen.
‘I didn’t realise Grové, who develops apps for smartphones and tablets, was so handy. It was really a pleasant surprise,’ says Fransa proudly. After they’d finished shifting things around and building, all the cupboard doors were removed, scrubbed and painted with Plascon Aqua Pura; new door handles were then fitted. At first, they tackled the removal of the wall tiles themselves, but then decided to call in some help.
The only items that were purchased new were the grey quartz worktops, the checkerboard porcelain floor tiles and the black-and-white metro wall tiles. Grové installed the butler sink, taps and induction stove. ‘The project was actually quite sociable at times – especially when friends came to help!’ says Fransa.
A Unique Style
‘Our home is somewhat cluttered and it can be a bit chaotic when it comes to colour and some of its elements, but we love it,’ says Fransa. ‘It suits our laid-back lifestyle and the house always feels sociable. We love to entertain, so its eclectic style disguises the clutter!’
The entire renovation took about four months, which also included the upgrade of the entrance hall and two bathrooms. The house, for which the couple only paid R1.3 million, is now worth almost double that, thanks to the sought-after area in which it’s located.
Text and images: Home