As a popular coastal holiday destination, the North Coast has a number of old, smaller apartments in desperate need of a revamp. After a six-month overhaul, this Sheffield beach apartment has gone from drab and dingy to light, contemporary and super stylish.
“One of the biggest misconceptions,” says Ballito interior designer Margaret Berichon, “is that it is hugely expensive to remodel your home. If done cleverly, it really doesn’t have to be. And most times, hiring a professional will actually end up saving you money.”
Margaret, who has owned her own interior design company for more than 14 years, moved to Ballito from Durban four years ago. Her main focus is on residential properties, either new-build residences or renovations.
A NHBRC registered builder, she is passionate about buildings and houses.
Margaret’s signature interior design style is light and simple. “I hate overly-cluttered spaces with big, heavy drapes on windows and dark colours. I love white kitchens and light, airy rooms, especially in coastal homes.”
Which is why, she says she was very excited about being approached to help with the revamp of this particular Sheffield Beach apartment.
Owned by two couples for more than 20 years, the three-bedroom holiday home is situated in an older apartment block near Colwyn Drive.
“The owners wanted to update the house, but weren’t really clear on their vision. They hired a builder and started breaking down walls, but then realised they needed some guidance. And that’s where I came in. Because they don’t live locally, I could be someone they trusted on site who could make decisions and act on their behalf.”
Her first impression of the apartment, Margaret says, was that it was very dark and the brick walls absorbed all of the natural light. She knew they had to re-plaster and paint the walls. The first step, however, was to knock out the entrance wall and open up the kitchen area, making the house open plan. They also added a third bathroom and closed in the patio with aluminium stacking doors.
“The owners pretty much gave me carte blanche on the project, which was lovely. They just wanted to keep things simple and light and that suits my personal taste, so it was easy for me!”
For the walls, Margaret chose a neutral Dulux colour called Dusted Moss #2. “The owners loved it. It’s a great colour that just goes with everything.”
As they were limited in terms of not being able to change the existing building or raise the height of the ceilings, she says they had to be creative to make the apartment feel bigger.
“We went for a white kitchen with white duco push-open, handleless cupboards and chamfered grooved drawers. The island, which also doubles as a dining area, is white caesarstone with a bit of colour, to avoid it feeling too clinical and insipid.”
Most of the furniture was custom made, including all the saligna wood headboards (one of which is a whopping 4.5 metres long). New items worth mentioning are the chairs and coffee tables from Weylandts and the cane lounge suit and beautiful pendant lights in the kitchen, both from SHF. The used large, rectangular shaped tiles, to make the house feel bigger, and finished it off with a beautiful Hertex rug.
When the project was complete, Margaret says the owners were so happy with end result that they decided to no longer rent the house out, but rather to keep it for their own personal use only!
“I think the important thing to remember when renovating is that things might change as the project progresses. Just because something works on paper, doesn’t mean it’s going to work out on site. You have to be willing to work around challenges and come up with solid contingency plans.” Details: Margaret Berichon Design: www.bdesignstudio.co.za / [email protected] / 082 716 6914.
Text: Leah Shone | ‘After’ photographs: Chris Allan Photo | www.chrisallanphoto.co.za