Elmarie Randewijk

Name: Elmarie
Surname: Randewijk
Location: Table View, Western Cape
Entry Date: Jul 18, 2023
Category: Innovation
Project: Other

About the Project:

My husband and I live in an old but hip three-story, one-bedroom loft apartment in Waves Edge, Table View – 400m from the famous Kite Beach. With the arrival of our little boy last year, we needed a bit more space. We looked around at bigger places but couldn’t find anything with the same amount…

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My husband and I live in an old but hip three-story, one-bedroom loft apartment in Waves Edge, Table View – 400m from the famous Kite Beach. With the arrival of our little boy last year, we needed a bit more space. We looked around at bigger places but couldn’t find anything with the same amount of character as our loft. After a disappointing search, my husband proposed the idea to change our single garage into a second bedroom.

At first, the idea seemed rather daunting, as the garage seemed like a dark cave that housed our guest bathroom, laundry, tools and a lot of our sporting equipment, such as bicycles, surfboards, body boards, hiking and trail running equipment. We also could not replace the garage door, as we live in a sectional title complex. Yet, the idea meant that we could stay in our beloved loft and I accepted the challenge to transform the space into a space that would be a storeroom and bedroom, but also an inviting reception room as it would be the first space people would see upon entering our front door. After quite a number of initial designs, I finally came up with something that could potentially work. Luckily for me, my very capable retired dad was keen to get involved and helped us throughout the process. Our renovation adventure was launched.

Our first challenge was to break down the existing bathroom in front of the only window in the garage so that we could get some natural light into the room. (Later in the process, we also changed the bathroom glass to clear glass.) This meant that we needed to move the bathroom and laundry and all the plumbing to a new location. We opted to have a bathroom under the staircase (leading to the second level) and have the laundry inside a cupboard along the same wall. We contracted a plumber to move all the plumbing from the right wall of the garage to the left wall after building a laundry cupboard skeleton. We wanted to still be able to do laundry throughout this lengthy renovation process. However, the laundry cupboard had to be built over the sewerage pipe running from the adjacent bathroom. We also wanted to include a wash through in the cupboard so that we can rinse and wash our sporting equipment. Luckily, my dad was capable of including all of this in his design and together we built an operational laundry. We were also able to use many of the old laundry cupboard boards, along with old cupboard doors, to build the new cupboard.

Storage space is very important to us, and we decided to corner off a small section of the garage that we could use as a storeroom. The idea was to access the storeroom from outside through the garage door. Unfortunately, we had to remove the garage door automation motor as we didn’t want it in our new bedroom, but we were quite happy to go ‘old school’ with the storeroom.

With the garage motor removed, the next priority was the ceiling. Since it was a garage, the ceiling was raw cement blocks with big gaps in-between them. In some places, piping could be seen that came from the second level. It was really ugly, and a coat of paint was not going to fix it. Since it was also already quite low, adding ceiling boards meant we were going to lose even more space. Luckily, we had a very capable builder who suggested we skim the ceiling and he and his team did a lovely job for us, transforming the cement bricks into a smooth ceiling with a cornice! We were blown away by the difference.

Our next phase was to build drywalling to enclose the bathroom and also to separate the storeroom from the bedroom. This took careful planning as the garage door still needed to open comfortably, but we also wanted the maximum space for the bedroom. Originally, we wanted built-in cupboards to separate the storeroom from the bedroom, but this meant that the cupboard would interfere with the laundry cupboard. I also felt that it was important to have some wall space for furniture. Our solution was to have drawers built into the drywall where we could store our boy’s toys, clothing and extra bedding. We have an excellent contractor who we have used before to do our bedroom cupboard doors, and he was able to make a ‘chest of drawers’ which we then built into the drywall. He also made matching laundry cupboard doors for us and designed a big triangular drawer for that awkward space under the stairs. For the drawers fronts and cupboard doors we chose white PVC wrap doors with simple black handles.

Since our geyser is under our kitchen sink on the second level, having space for recycling bins is quite challenging. The new triangular drawer under the staircase could now hold two bins, as well as our vacuum cleaner and other cleaning equipment. This was a great win for us!

Next on the list was to do the electrical wiring and, luckily for us, my dad used to be an electrician in his younger days. He was able to put in new plugs and lights in the laundry cupboard and bathroom. Now all that remained was the skimming of the drywalls and painting, and then we could start the furnishing process.

We decided to not do any fancy flooring in this room, but to merely paint the floor with white Showfloor Polyurethane Floor Paint. Having white walls and ceilings and a white floor really made the room bright and light despite the fairly small window. We wanted a seamless look and therefore also merely painted the bathroom floor. We also kept the bathroom all white and added matte white flat subway tiles against the one (non-drywall) wall and a simple white wall sconce from local Cape Town company Hoi P’loy for a touch of elegance. My dad built a white cover box for the sewerage pipe from a similar cover box we had in the old garage bathroom. The box acts as a shelf for extra towels, some books and a candle.

We have also always wanted a fireplace in our loft, but seeing that we were not able to install a chimney, we thought it would just not be possible. We had a small biofuel tabletop fireplace that provided some heat and so we explored the option of a bigger one. We found a bigger bio-ethanol fireplace from 1green that could be wall-mounted off the ground (and safe from little hands) and decided to install this in the downstairs bedroom. Bio-ethanol is the cleanest, most efficient fuel source on the market and is natural, renewable and green. This means there are no harmful fumes or smoke that could affect our little man.

Each level of our loft has a nook, and the downstairs room, even though it was a garage, is no exception. The nook would be the perfect space for our wall-mounted bio-ethanol fireplace. We painted the nook back wall black to match the black fireplace and installed dark wood shelving above and below the fireplace for more of our books. We have already spent many cold winter nights in front of our new fireplace, reading and enjoying a glass of red wine – completely oblivious to loadshedding.

We replaced the solid fire door into the garage with a glass panelled interior door so that we can also get some natural light from the glass panelled front door into our new room. Closing this door whilst the fireplace is in use also means we create a really hot and cosy environment.

Another small issue was how to cover the ugly distribution board and electrical meter that was now in our beautiful room. We considered so many different options until our love for LEGO® led us to design Lego-looking cover boxes that can easily be removed when needed by hooking them from their attachment brackets.

For furniture we decided on a low divan bed that we would ‘dress up’ like a couch. Being low meant that our boy can climb onto it (and from it) by himself. A low bed also creates the feeling that the ceiling is a bit higher than what it actually is. We also included a leather mid-century modern chair and a vetsak® bean bag (also locally made in Cape Town) where we could sit and read. Two black-and-white baskets store some of our boy’s soft toys, whilst the rest is neatly packed away in the built-in storage drawers. We kept all the decor black, white and grey in order to keep the feel light and bright. We also wanted the space to be more of a family room than merely just a second bedroom as it would be the first room guests would see when they enter our home. It is important to us to have a home that still feels sophisticated, despite the fact that we share it with a toddler.

This transformation has provided us with a play-, snuggle- and reading space where we can break away from all our electronic devices and just spend time together as a family – and, of course, we can also do our laundry in it. It is definitely our new favourite room, and our friends can hardly believe it was once a garage.

Budget Breakdown:

Bathroom Franke Serenus Basin mixed
Bathroom Livorno White Rectangular Wall Hung Basin - 335 x 290 x 110mm
Coral Front Flush Toilet Suite
Subway Metro Ceramic flat matt white
Hoi P’loy White Simple Wall Sconce
Stick on laundry cupboard tiles
Bathroom door: deep-moulded interior door 4 panels Canterbury
Barn door track black
6 Eurolux 6W LED filament pear-shaped globes
Black metal 6-light chandelier ceiling light
1green freestanding bio-ethanol fireplace
Vermont 9-panel raised and fielded solid interior door
Duram wall (and ceiling) low sheen white 20L
Dulux gloss enamel white 1L (for doors and door frames)
Duram Showfloor Polyurethane Floor Paint
Duram Satin Touch black paint 1L
Cupboard and electrical sundries (from dad)
Lego boxes were made from old cupboard doors and painted with leftover paint
Dark wood shelving planks (from dad's garage)


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