A bright and breezy living area in blue

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The walls weren’t in a good enough condition to leave exposed, but the wallpaper with its raw brick design is right on trend. Wood-look Floor tiles from CTM
The walls weren’t in a good enough condition to leave exposed, but the wallpaper with its raw brick design is right on trend. Wood-look Floor tiles from CTM
A small, dark kitchen and separate lounge were converted into a bright and breezy open-plan living area.

Photographs Elza Cooper | Styling Amanda van Wyngaardt

WHO LIVES HERE? Talia and Nick Botha with their four children: Trent, Troy, Taryk and Teabella

WHERE Johannesburg

SIZE 43mincluding the living/dining room

The splashback was finished with Delft-style tiles from Tile Africa – the Bothas fell in love with this look after seeing what Nuno and Ramona Afonso, the runners-up in our Fix it with Flair 2017 competition, did in their kitchen.

“After living in our house for 17 years, it was about time!” says mom-of-four Talia Botha when describing the conversion of the dingy old kitchen in their Jo’burg home into a beautiful open-plan space.

“We started our family as a young couple and now we are six – the small divided spaces just weren’t working anymore,” she explains. “We live in a house in one of the old mining areas of Johannesburg South and the rooms are rather small… It took a long time, but we finally decided to demolish some walls and create a more functional living area for our family.”

And in the true spirit of the Fix it with Flair competition, Talia and her IT wiz husband Nick got stuck in themselves. “The small rooms weren’t the only problem,” Nick recalls. “Every time you touched the hot water tap in the bathroom, you’d feel a slight electrical shock. We had to rewire the entire house as part of our kitchen revamp.”

Luckily, Nick has a pragmatic approach to life. “Cabling is cabling,” he says of the rewiring job that would usually have been done by an electrician. “Only the shock is different!”

Q&A with Talia

Any cost-cutting tips? Don’t be afraid to ask for help; many people have useful skills to share and sometimes a cake is payment enough. Cast-offs from people you know may prove invaluable.

Where did you get your ideas from? I follow a lot of home decorating and gardening via Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and I watch Home Channel whenever I have five minutes to myself.

Any other hints or tips? When working on a tight budget, you find amazing ways to ‘get the look’ without paying for what’s trending. Plan well and shop around.

What do you enjoy most about the completed project? I love that our family is together! Dad can game online while I cook dinner and the kids can do homework at the island while the baby of the family builds puzzles on the floor – and we can still have a conversation!

What’s next? A bathroom makeover and a second toilet!

The glass-front cupboards boast beautiful toile curtains that Talia made herself.

A space for us all

The Bothas’ home is about 60 years old, and Nick and Talia are only the second owners. Having lived in the house for almost two decades, they had a clear idea of what they wanted to do – and the first thing that had to go was the carpet in the kitchen. Although they discovered parquet flooring underneath, the damage to the wood was extensive, so they swapped what was usable for a mechanical repair of their car when it broke down.

For Talia, who bakes and decorates speciality cakes, creating a practical kitchen space was the perfect solution for her business. “I’m in the kitchen for 70 percent of my waking hours and it was difficult to oversee the older children doing their homework while also trying to entertain a toddler in another room.” Now this conundrum is a thing of the past.

“It took five months of being patient – not only when it came to finances but also in terms of our living conditions. But we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved!” says Talia. “My new space reflects my personality and I love the farmhouse look with its industrial touch and French country charm. The kitchen really allows our family to come together in a functional but beautiful space.”

To save on costs, Nick’s father Rudi Botha made up the Supawood cupboards: he cut 3mm grooves into the front to enhance the rustic farmhouse effect that Talia loves so much.

Paint colour
Fired Earth’s 3-in-1 Cabinet Paint in Mocca Chocca

Leather straps affixed with nuts and bolts serve as drawer handles.

The island is my baking centre and definitely a rather bold addition to the new kitchen. It’s the same deep blue I used in my dining room and scullery. – Talia

On the job...

The wall between the lounge and kitchen was removed to create an open-plan space.

The geyser was moved from the bathroom to outside so that the toilet, which was located directly next to the kitchen, could be moved into the bathroom. The wall between the old loo and pantry was then demolished to make way for the scullery.

The doorway from the lounge to the passage was bricked up and the kitchen door was moved to the passage.

The original back door, which led to a previously enclosed stoep, was also bricked up to make the space more functional.

Two small windows were removed and replaced with a slightly bigger window that overlooks the vegetable patch and much of the backyard where the children love to play.

After the new walls and exposed brick from the demolition process had been plastered, the floors were covered with woodlook tiles from CTM.

Total: R48 892

Building materials 5 670

Lighting 870

Electrical 2 500

Tiles 8 250

Custom cupboards 15 000

Gas stove, hob and microwave 9 650

Paint 2 512

Finishing touches 940

Builder/plumber 3 500

Fine finishes

Wood and countertops Boardmaster (011 680 5722)

Cupboard fittings and stainless-steel items M&N Fittings (011 435 1115)

Downlights, pendants and curtains China Mall (011 830 1588)

Glass and paint Builders (0860 284 533)

Delft tiles and sink mixer Tile Africa (0800 002 783)

Wood-look floor tiles CTM (010 003 9987)

Fabric Chamdor (011 762 1401)

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April 2023

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