Dull kitchen revived with a fresh paint job

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Die vloer is ’n sampioenkleurige
sement, wat agterna met ’n
poliuretaan-seëlaar afgerond is.
Die vloer is ’n sampioenkleurige sement, wat agterna met ’n poliuretaan-seëlaar afgerond is.
Floating shelves and a new island – plus a fresh paint job – have revived the De Wits’ kitchen.

Photographs Francois Oberholster | Styling Marian van Wyk 

Who lives here? Elzaan and Arno de Wit, and their son Noah (5)

WHERE: Welgemoed, Cape Town

The Roman blinds were made with fabric Elzaan found at a Hertex sale. The worktops are Silestone in the colour Blanco Norte.
We all know paint is amazing! – Elzaan

Elzaan and Arno de Wit’s clever ideas are not unfamiliar to Home readers. They are regular entrants in our annual Fix it with Flair competition and in 2015 were placed in the Top 5!

When you take a look at this kitchen, it’s easy to see why.

 The couple and their five-year-old son Noah have been living in this house in Welgemoed outside Cape Town for the past three years. Arno is a leasing consultant at Pam Golding Properties in the city centre and Elzaan is an independent travel consultant who works from home. She says that this is the longest they have lived in one house.

“We are habitual renovators – this is our eighth home in 10 years, but it looks like we may settle here for a while,” Elzaan says with a wink.

Their kitchen project took just two weeks and the De Wits say people are amazed at the transformation they achieved largely with paint.

But this wasn’t their first painting project. “We’ve renovated, painted and sold the ugliest old houses; Arno has dragged home many dilapidated pieces of furniture that now enjoy pride of place in our home after a fresh coat of paint,” says Elzaan.


Dulux Khaki Mists 6 (Cupboards)

Dulux Khaki Mists 4 (Walls)

The project

The well-designed solid oak kitchen cupboards were in excellent condition but Elzaan says the colour was very dated. The couple also wanted to buy a freestanding gas stove, which meant that the cupboards had to be adapted.

“I adore floating shelves, so these became another requirement for the new kitchen,” says Elzaan.

She also wanted a new island that would make a better impression. Elzaan says that the original one was tiny and totally out of proportion in their kitchen space.

And in terms of their colour choice, Elzaan says: “The palette had to be as neutral as possible, but not white; that’s just too clinical and cold.”

Although the pair usually get stuck in themselves, this time they decided to call in some help. Christo Barnard of Mr Do It All did the necessary woodwork for the cabinets, built the floating shelves and installed new Silestone countertops. In turn, he asked Marlene Kruger of Inspired Interiors to take care of the painting.

“We knew about Marlene through her handiwork featured in Home. I think the entire project was a breeze, simply because Christo and Marlene knew exactly what we expected.”

The under-counter cupboard from the previous tiny kitchen island was retained and covered with a new, bigger slab.

Expert advice

The prep work

If you want to make your task easier, the right preparation is vital. Here is what Marlene did:

1. First we removed all the cupboard doors – it’s easier to work with loose doors than ones attached to the carcasses. This made the carcasses, which also had to be painted, more accessible.

2. All the surfaces were sanded with 80-grit sandpaper. It wasn’t necessary to remove all the varnish; the surfaces just had to be rough enough so that the undercoat would adhere.

Tip: If you want to put on new handles, fill the old holes with wood filler (choose white filler if you’re going to paint a light colour and if your paint is dark, get the shade closest to the old wood colour). 

3. Next, a universal primer was applied; use something like  Dulux Supergrip with a short-haired roller on the flat surfaces and a small brush on the routered edges. The primer needs 24 hours to dry completely.

4. Then I applied the tinted coat with a roller and brush on the various surfaces. Two coats were sufficient for this project. Make sure everything is evenly painted.

5. When the paint was completely dry, I sealed it with Sabre Stoneseal.

6. Before we re-attached the cupboard doors, I painted all the carcasses.

The De Wits got rid of the old wall tiles and added narrow wooden ‘skirtings’ above the countertops to protect the wall; they were painted in the same colour as the cupboards. 

The anthracite-coloured stove provides a strong focal point. The De Wits are keen to add a splashback, using small Portuguese tiles in charcoal and white.


    • Because our time is so limited these days, it was the best decision to call in the help of two experts. Everything ran so smoothly. The job was completed quickly and professionally, and we’ve received plenty of compliments on the end result.

    • We knew exactly what we wanted and conveyed the ideas we saw on Pinterest and in old Home magazines to Christo and Marlene so there could be no confusion.

    • Previous projects taught us to keep the colours as neutral as possible. 


@home 0860 576 576, Hertex 0860 437 839, Inspired Interiors (Marlene Kruger) 082 879 5083Le Creuset 086 177 3321, Mr Do It All

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April 2023

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