The transition of this one-bedroom Sheffield Beach bachelor flat from dated, dingy and cramped to modern, masculine and functional is quite remarkable. We spoke to the designer responsible for this incredible apartment makeover.
When designer Margaret Berichon was first shown this old, Sheffield Beach apartment, it was in desperate need of an overhaul. Owner Iain Cochrane had bought the flat from an elderly gentleman who had owned it for many years. He wanted to update and modernize it, while still preserving the basic structure.
Margaret, the owner of Margaret Berichon Design, has a special interest in residential renovations and loves challenges like this one, which allow her to look back and see the remarkable transition a space has undergone afterwards.
“I just love how this apartment turned out. It was really old an drab and in need of a new look and I think we managed to achieve it without doing anything too drastic. This flat has looked the same, I think, with the same built-in-cupboards and floors, for more than 30 years.”
Although Iain had a clear idea of what he wanted in mind, Margaret says he was happy to hand over the reigns and allow her and her team the freedom to create and design the new look.
The first step was to remove the wall that separated the kitchen from the entrance area, opening up the entire kitchen, dining and living area. They also bricked up and removed one other wall, leading from the lounge into the bedroom. The builders chosen for the project were MCC Construction.
Iain wanted to preserve the high ceiling and beautiful exposed beams, says Margaret, which now (especially with the beams painted black) is an eye-catching feature of the home.
The kitchen, done by Blue Olive Design, is inviting and modern with wonderful unique features that are well-suited to the home’s owner. “Iain is a tall man and he lives alone, which means we were able to use the high ceilings to our advantage and put in beautiful floating shelves and high cupboards.”
Working in an apartment of just 110m², the team had to find creative and clever ways to use the space they had. “It is not a big space, so we had to find ways around different things. One of the things we did was to include a cupboard in the kitchen for Iain’s inverter. We also added sliding cupboard doors to hide the appliances,” says Margaret.
The striking black Franke Kubus range of sanware in the kitchen is both contemporary and masculine and gives a dramatic effect when coupled with the unique solid wood oak worktops. LED lights were added underneath the floating shelves for extra lighting, as they couldn’t put in downlights with the high beams.
The once-stuffy bedroom and en-suite bathroom was completely redone and is now a contemporary masterpiece, which would sit comfortably in any brand new home or estate.
After knocking out a small wall and adding a steel eye beam, the team managed to retain some of the original brick wall. Margaret decided to keep and paint it, bringing in texture and keeping some of the original feel.
The shower, bath, basin and toilet were all gutted and replaced with a stunning double-volume toilet (complete with funky, striped wallpaper) and a fantastic, oversized shower with black sanware and towel rails. The simple herringbone tile pattern in the shower finishes off this beautiful bathroom feature.
The solid oak bathroom cabinets were custom-made and the old tiles throughout the apartment chipped off and replaced with oak veneered flooring.
Shutters were used to block off the bedroom from the living area and the sliding doors were replaced and new security shutters and a wooden deck put in to finish off the patio, which has the most exquisite sea view overlooking Sheffield Beach.
One of the best things about the revamp, Margaret says, is that they were able to retain and use most of Iain’s old furniture. He brought a beautiful antique writing table with him, which has pride of place underneath the flat screen television in the lounge.
Margaret’s company doesn’t only do renovations. They also specialise in new builds and their services include project management, full interior specifications, kitchens, built-in-cupboards, cabinetry and bespoke furniture design.
“There are so many old apartments in the Salt Rock, Sheffield Beach and Ballito areas and it really doesn’t take a massive amount of money or big changes to update and modernize them,” says Margaret. “It’s amazing how far a new coat of paint and maybe taking out one or two walls can go to change the whole look and layout of an apartment!”
Text: Leah Shone