Name: Vivien
Surname: Louw
Location: Franschhoek, Western Cape
Entry Date: June 25, 2024
Category: Most Beautiful
Project: Entire House

About the Project:

At the end of 2021 we made a life-changing decision and relocated to the picturesque town of Franschhoek in the Western Province. After renting a property for two years, we started looking for a property to purchase. I came across an empty, semi-detached “carrot” orange Victorian home in Haumann Street, within walking distance from the…

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At the end of 2021 we made a life-changing decision and relocated to the picturesque town of Franschhoek in the Western Province.

After renting a property for two years, we started looking for a property to purchase. I came across an empty, semi-detached “carrot” orange Victorian home in Haumann Street, within walking distance from the Franschhoek village. When viewing the house with my family, my daughter (not knowing which house we are viewing in Haumann Street) mentioned, “as long as it is not the ugly orange house.” I knew that I could turn the ugly orange house into a beautiful home. My husband trusted my vision and we bought the house.

We contracted Hands On Creative building and management to do the renovations with Karin Cronje as our project manager. Karin was amazing and totally shared my vision and loved my ideas. The renovations started in June 2023 and were completed by the end of November 2023, just in time so that we could spend our first Christmas in our “new” home.

The project started with the removal of all the old rotten carpets and ceilings. The house was very dark, and we decided to open up the front by replacing the front door with massive double wooden entry doors. This did not only increase the amount of light into the house, but also increased the curb appeal and gave a dazzling focal point to the property. The front stoep was tiled with the “leftover” black and white bathroom tiles from my son’s bathroom, which created a nice contrast with the wooden front door.

Next up were the ceilings, which were very low and also made the house look small. We removed them and opened up the rafters in the lounge/dining room area to have the wooden beams exposed. We discovered that some of the beams were cracked and instead of replacing them, which meant taking off the entire roof, we secured them by adding extra beams alongside the original ones. We then installed IsoBoard and painted everything white. This made a huge difference and made the main living area look much lighter and more spacious. New light fittings were installed in the entire home.

The kitchen was small and tucked behind a wall just off the dining room. I envisioned a more open-plan kitchen/dining room, which meant the wall had to be demolished. We soon realised that removing the wall also meant moving the electrical distribution board, which was originally placed in the wall that was removed. The open plan not only made the entrance into the kitchen much wider but also made the living area look more spacious.
The wooden kitchen cupboards were still in a good condition and just needed a ‘fresh’ look. I decided to paint all of the cupboards myself with Tjhoko’s Olivia’s Pale. I was very lucky to find a kitchen island on Facebook Marketplace that matched the original cupboards, and I painted it in the same sage green colour. The kitchen tops were replaced with solid oak tops and the double sink with a butler’s sink. I opted for brass doorknobs to give the kitchen a vintage look. An additional sash window was installed next to the sink to bring more light into the kitchen.

All three bathrooms were stripped and renovated. I wanted to include my family in the decision-making and my son as well as my daughter each chose their own bathroom tiles, fixtures and fittings. The two bathrooms are very different and reflect each of their personalities perfectly.

For the main en suite I went with a more classical look and kept everything white, with gold fixtures and fittings. Because I love antiques so much, I restored an old Welsh dresser that I bought from a second-hand shop, which I painted with Tjhoko’s Lebo’s Light and turned into my vanity unit. The crystal chandelier and light fittings were also bought second-hand. The new light fittings, as well as the white deco shutter inside the window, changed the look of the bathroom to make it feel more luxurious.

All three bedrooms got brand-new doors and flooring. The rooms were painted white, the cupboards were outfitted with new door handles, and pull-down blinds were installed inside the windows.

The main bedroom’s ceiling was replaced and a security shutter door was placed in front of the original glass door that leads onto the back patio area.

Engineered laminate flooring, in the colour Sunbleached Oak, was chosen as the flooring for the entire house.

The back patio’s floor had to be re-screeded with Stucco Italiano and the entire side wall was tiled to bring some colour and character into the patio area. The steps into the garden were tiled with non-slip tiles and a wooden balustrade was installed for extra safety.

The entire home was painted white, and the window and door frames as well as the fascias were painted in a grey/blue colour. The wooden shutters and garage door were all painted with Woodoc sealer.

Both the front and back garden were cleaned, trees were removed, and new stepping stones leading to the front door area were placed. A new white picket fence with a pedestrian and sliding gate were installed to make the front of the property more inviting. The old wooden fence in the backyard was replaced with a white PVC fence.

This entire project was one that I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait for the summer to start so that I can begin planning the backyard and pool.

Budget Breakdown:

Timber double front door and frame
Kiploc sheeting and IsoBoard
Engineered laminate flooring
Light fittings
Tiles and grouting
Sanitary ware
Internal doors
Electrical : plugs, light switches, circuits etc.
Gutters and downpipes
Geyser and pipes
New ceiling boards and cornices
Paint and painting material
New sash window
Waterproofing material
Tool hire and equipment
Extra timber beams and bolts
New oak tops
Stucco Italiano screed
Bathroom vanity units
Kitchen island
Fencing and gate


Hands On Creative building and management Pty Ltd
Grand Total