Carin Smith

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BEFORE
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AFTER
Name: Carin
Surname: Smith
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape
Entry Date: Jul 3, 2023
Category: Most Beautiful
Project: Outdoor Areas

About the Project:

When we bought our ‘white box’ 1930s bungalow on the corner of the street, we were excited about the endless possibilities that lay behind the gate. It was and is still a fixer-upper. The first thing that spoke to us, and it’s literally the first thing you see when the big gate slides open, was…

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When we bought our ‘white box’ 1930s bungalow on the corner of the street, we were excited about the endless possibilities that lay behind the gate. It was and is still a fixer-upper. The first thing that spoke to us, and it’s literally the first thing you see when the big gate slides open, was the halfmoon-shaped ‘stoep’.

Our dream is to one day have a farm stoep for us and the dog to sit on in the sun; for now, this one is perfect. But to access the front door, and therefore the garden entertainment area, you only had one opening down very wonky steps and the unsafe railing, although charming, was a bit dangerous. To access our entertainment area, you had to walk out the front door, down the steps and turn right and walk around the wall to eventually reach the braai. Although this sounds trivial, opening the area up created easier access and now our garden feels so huge.

Other than our access problem, the stoep was a bit dated and had a crack running through the middle which indicated that the foundation was sinking – and that meant a complete demolition and rebuild. A bit of a shock to the budget as the first plan was a light remodel and to add another set of steps on the other side. Andrew is an architect and I am an art director, so we did manage to cut costs a bit with our skill set and contacts. (We feel the joy of spending time on the stoep will be our repayment).

We met with builders, started making moodboards, sourcing tiles etc. I really wanted a klompie-style stoep but that was going to break the bank a bit, given that we still have so much renovating to do, so we were very excited to find a supplier of klompie-style clay tiles. We did have some sleepless nights regarding the layout of the ‘klompie’ tiles – I think that’s where our professions and perfectionism kicked in. I even did an accidental social media poll. In the end, we opted for a classic herringbone style which we think suits the essence of the house better. Andrew did the tile layout on CAD and we got everyone working. We wanted to get stuck in ourselves but realised that with structural things it’s better to get the experts in. I did, however, paint the step rises so I did get my hands dirty in the end.

With the demolition we found some interesting artefacts that hark back to when the house was first constructed, and I think this speaks to what we ended up with: something modern but timeless – our family stoep or, as we like to affectionately call it, our “Wedding Cake stoep”. There are still a few tweaks and we’re conceptualising some wall vases for the open space on the wall but for now, even in winter, Thandi the dog, Andrew and I can be found on the steps, drinking coffee. In summer, we’re looking forward to having friends and their kids running up and down the stoep and using it as seating.

Budget Breakdown:

Materials:
Bricklayer labour
9000
Bricklayer material
8500
Tiler labour
2000
Tiling material
6300
Rubble removal
2500
Paint
1000
29300

Contractors:

Carin Smith
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Grand Total
R29300