TOP TIPS FOR RENOVATING
EVERYTHING AND THE KITCHEN SINK.
Architects are the magicians of the housing world. After many years of training, and a couple of run-ins with platform 9 and ¾ (Harry Potter reference) it’s believed that they can achieve anything. Seeing is believing though and that’s why we thought we’d give a little insight into one of our latest renovations and spell out the recipe for our latest successful concoction. (Too many magic puns…? Never!)
This renovation project, a wonderfully sized and located apartment, is a two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, living area and outdoor balcony. The point of entry is a passage alongside a walled-in kitchen making for a very non-inclusive space and also giving off the feeling that the flat felt smaller than it was. There was a small opening in the wall to see from the kitchen to the lounge area but it was hardly sufficient for visual communication between the two spaces. Perhaps ideal for two roommates not on speaking terms or if you’re forced to live with your sibling but definitely not for entertaining or wanting to feel a part of the rest of the space.
The bedrooms, both well sized, were carpeted, had built-in cupboards, old lighting fixtures and a few damaged plug points. A big selling point was that both rooms had en-suites which were also of good size, just out of date and without effective storage means.
Importantly, this flat had great potential spatially. That’s the first thing you need to decide or find out: if the upgrades will be worth it and add to the space. We’re going to go out on a magical limb and say most of the time it is worth it. However, be careful not to overcapitalize. With this renovation, the main aim was to modernise while creating an efficient space. We have highlighted the top points we focussed on to ensure that this flat was brought back to life.
Choose a space that brings the home together and feeds into the other spaces. In this case, it is the kitchen. Not only because it was the room upon entry of the flat but also due to the size and configuration of the apartment, the kitchen sits central and thus is the pinpoint of the inspiration, the crux of the spell, that will flow into the rest of your home.
This is as important if not more than the focal point. Without this ingredient, the perfect concoction won’t exist. We cannot (and we shouldn’t) get enough of it. Whatever the source of the light – it’s best to find ways to emphasise it. We’re all about the reduction of the electricity bill with fewer internal lights but more so that, we want your space to bring you joy and make you feel happy.
DE-FRAGMENTAION | OPEN PLAN | COMMUNICATION
We do and probably will always emphasise moving away from the old school each-room-within-four-walls approach. This creates a more free-flowing space that allows for more movement and visual connection throughout. Breaking down a few non-load-bearing walls is a simple but really effective way to improve communication within the home.
Ensuring spaces are practical and efficient and arranging and designing storage space so that it is maximised as much as possible. Sometimes there is not much to be done about the size of a room. Especially an apartment without the ability to move walls or extend. This is when efficiency becomes vital. The ability to embrace storage effectively and configure a room in a manner that leaves so much room for activities.
FIXTURES | MODERNISATION
The spaces could be great but it’s the additions to the space that shouldn’t be neglected. It’s the little extra spice added to the concoction that allows for it to all come together. The fixtures, as small as some may be, that little attention to detail can make or break a space. The best part of these is that you can choose options that work with your budget and these are generally easily adaptable as your home grows and changes along with you. With that being said, we suggest trying to avoid following trends and rather lean into a vibe that you appreciate. Keep in mind that should you want to follow the trends, do it in a manner that is replaceable should it fade out.
Experiment with colours and textures to manipulate light and visuals. Nothing has to be permanent unless you’re moving plumbing or counters but the walls themselves are beautiful empty pallets waiting to bring you joy. Sometimes you have to move outside of your comfort zone to come across something even better than before. All family recipes can be adapted over time.
PAINT AFFECTS LIGHTING
This links up with the above. Depending on what you’re going for, mood-wise, paint is a pretty important consideration. There has been a lot of interesting research about the effect various colours have on your mood and this should definitely be considered. However, light reflection is equally as important. Lighter colours will reflect and bounce more light around the room and therefore make spaces seem larger. If natural light isn’t a luxury then we would strongly suggest considering this.
As mentioned in the focal point, the spaces need to flow and read together as a whole. This seems obvious but believe us, we’ve seen some shocking things. Start with your focal point and carry out elements from this space into the rest of the room.
AVOID MOVING PLUMBING POINTS
If possible this is one of the most important points to consider as it is by far the most costly. You never mess with the core ingredient.
Renovating will take up a lot of your time and budget. Building is not a cheap exercise and it isn’t worth the time and money to skimp or find short corners.
HIRE AN ARCHITECT
We say this not only because we are architects but because we want you to make the most of your space and we have what we’d like to call, the trained eye. We can also read the plans and help you make the best decisions that won’t affect the structural integrity of your home.
With the consideration of the above points, we kicked off Johannesburg Apartment Renovation with an abracadabra and focussed on enhancing the natural flow of movement and light while creating a modern and efficient space.
It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home and we’re here to tell you that it’s completely true. By effectively including this space, the opportunity was given to create a social hub that feeds into the other areas of the home (pun always intended). This kitchen in particular, being the point of entry, made for an important introduction.
Breaking down the non-load bearing wall between the kitchen and the living area meant that a few cupboards were lost but this important move created the opportunity to not only connect the spaces but allowed for a larger counter space that doubles up as a dining area. Extending the kitchen further into the room brings attention and socialisation to the person within. This move transcends the notion of physically connecting spaces, it connects the inhabitants within by creating a positive and comfortable environment. The kitchen was transformed from a space of segregation to an inclusive, multifunctional social activity.
In terms of enhancing the natural light, breaking down this wall allowed light from the living area to greatly complement the window in the kitchen with natural light spilling from the living area right through to the kitchen. The client chose to enhance light through the usage of darker colours. This simultaneously emphasised the opposing light sources and brought a sense of modern grounding to the newly bought leathered quartz table.
Having set the mood, the base of the potion, the kitchen initiated the vinyl flooring for the rest of the house including the bedrooms. This element along with the cabinetry colours was key in linking all of the spaces together. Simple furnishings were chosen to enhance the space and its modern intention. Noticeable features added in this project included modern ceiling fans that tie in the dark built-in cupboards (kitchen and bedroom) and the timber effect of the vinyl flooring. The bathrooms were retiled, basins and toilets updated and storage incorporated.
All the right ingredients and the correct method and order of concocting them made for a beautiful transition of an outdated apartment into a wand-erful space that emphasises a more modern, effective and efficient way of living.