Building The Dream; When a couple couldn’t find their perfect house, they built it! The result is a creative & comfortable family home

by antimedia on

Limitation of current living space

MOVE TO THE COUNTRY was on the cards for Anouk Kapiteyn and her husband Gert-Jan when their home in the centre of town was proving too small for their growing family. “We wanted the children [Sem, 8, Floris, 5 and Mack, 1] to be able to play in the street without the busyness of a town around them,” Anouk says.

Too small house for a growing family, think about some changes?

Too small house for a growing family, think about some changes?

It took four years of househunting for the couple to find something they liked, but the disused block of land with only a shed on it wasn’t quite the dream home they had envisioned.

A new plan for a comfortable house appears

“Standing on the plot felt good and right,” Anouk says. “It was just a 20-minute bike ride to the beach. And the best thing was that the previous owner had permission for a house to be built on the plot.”

When the couple saw the plans for the house they immediately fell in love with the design – “A pointy roof, a verandah, 180 sq m It had everything we were looking for,” Anouk says. “It still had to be built but we were prepared to go on an adventure and went for it.”

And the family certainly had an adventure. “It was a year of utter madness,” Anouk says. “But all our fantasies about what our home should be like were coming true.”

After finding that place, they plan for interior painting the house

After finding that place, they plan for interior painting the house

Repairing and interior painting the house

Just one year later the house was ready and the finishing touches to the interior could be made. To help cut costs the couple did some of the work themselves including all the interior painting; they also built a few items of furniture, such as a table and baby recliner chairs or workbench for the boys and a bed for Seb. “We didn’t buy many new pieces of furniture when we moved in, but a lot of what we already had changed function,” Anouk explains.

Reclaimed materials were incorporated into the house, too, such as second-hand roof planks and salvaged timber panels from market stalls that Anouk painted white and attached to the wall to add character. “It was important for us to bring old materials into a house this new to create a warm atmosphere,” she adds.

Furniture the house with new set of table and recliner chair for relaxing in the corner

Furniture the house with new set of table and recliner chair for relaxing in the corner

After five weeks of decorating the family moved into their new home and they couldn’t be happier with the result. “Every day I find myself lucky to be living here,” Anouk says. “It’s in the small things. Breakfast in the garden, sitting on the verandah. That’s when I enjoy living here the most.”

But the best thing about living in their new house in the country? “The children have plenty of space to bounce around in and we are surrounded by more trees and less traffic.” Mission accomplished!


Creative intuition and a liberal dose of improvisation have turned this apartment into an elegant yet down-to-earth home that exudes the unrestrained style of its owners

Given the stereotypes attributed to creative professionals, you’d be forgiven for expecting the home of a magazine fashion director and an advertising creative director to be an exacting sequence of slightly intimidating spaces. Not so the home of Chris Viljoen and Christan Boshoff, whose apartment in part of a former 19th-century manor house is both seriously stylish and playfully informal.

When the couple bought the 140-sq-m apartment, it was woefully rundown and comprised one bedroom, lounge, lobby and an ill-conceived, low-slung kitchen and bathroom in what was once the back verandah of the original residence. “Our entire apartment is the dining room of the former manor house,” Christan says.

All that remained of the building’s glorious past were the spectacularly high ceilings, wide floorboards, marble floors and a festoon of decorative woodcut detail on the window frames in the main bedroom and the ceilings throughout the apartment. It was this faded grandeur that captured the imaginations of the creative duo and gave vital clues as to what could be achieved in the renovation they would take on with good friend and architect Phillippe Fouche.

The back of the home had originally been open to the now lush communal back garden by way of a verandah, so floor-to-ceiling industrial conservatory windows were installed in the kitchen, thereby connecting the interior space to the garden. “The windows were a great choice in almost every respect,” Christan says. “They’re affordable, locally made and readily available. But most importantly, they let in a lot of natural light as the back of the apartment is quite dark.”

Industrial conservatory windows in kitchen

Industrial conservatory windows in kitchen

Rather than build a fitted kitchen, the couple made use of shelves across the windows for storage and have assembled a “creative” central island including an old table and a hospital unit on wheels. “The kitchen is still very much a work in progress,” Christan says. Both Chris and Christan love the old black and white marble floor tiles on the front verandah, and luxious dining table and chair set and so replicated them in the kitchen and bathroom. New white subway tiles cover the bathroom walls, while contemporary fittings complete the makeover.

A spiral staircase leads upstairs to the home office that looks out through the conservatory windows onto the garden beyond. The spare bedroom, a more private enclosed area, is positioned alongside it.

The resulting home is comfortable with a wonderful mix of the old, the surprising and the unlikely. It’s laidback yet inspiring, much like Chris and Christan.

Written by: antimedia

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