HOUSE RAATH. Before & After

Completed in mid 2017, I have been threatening to share this project for a long while… Delayed by our feature in the SA Garden and Home in August 2018, I am finally sharing it on the blog nearly a year later. This 48m squared studio apartment in the heart of Sea Point has been in the Raath family for many years, having grown up visiting her Grandmother who lived there, my client had a clear vision of what she hoped to achieve when making it her own.

The Brief: Creating a light and airy space, my client was drawn to neutrals and very aware that living in a small space meant less is more. She is a young working professional who loves the outdoors and entertaining – I hoped to incorporate these elements when transforming her space.


The challenges; The apartment had a very outdated layout, a warren of rooms linked by narrow doorways. The existing kitchen was small with very narrow counter space and the layout needed to be reconsidered not only to incorporate modern appliances but to ensure maximum storage in a small studio apartment. The kitchen measured only 7.5meters squared with a natural light source from only one side this was something else to take into consideration.

With the bathroom only 3.5meters squared and the waste pipes for that section of the building running down the centre of the room meant that the layout predetermined. We had our wrk cut out for us in updating and creating the illusion of space. The client also wanted to replace the bath with a walk in shower.

The main living area was seemingly straight forward, restoring the original parquet flooring and chasing in modern electrical points was much of what needed to be done. We also skimmed the ‘popcorn’ walls and replaced the wardrobe which included drawers and divided hanging space to maximise storage.


The solutions; a bright new colour palette and modern finishes made all the difference in this space. We opened up the layout and with a few clever changes we transformed this dated studio apartment to a bright, contemporary home ideal for a young professional.

The kitchen transformation was the most influential in this space, by creating the open plan layout we were able to create a dining area and maximise on storage and counter space.

Top tip: when designing your small kitchen opt for push release systems on the cupboards and drawers, by avoiding handles/knobs you will have more movable space and it will be easier on the eye.

In the bathroom we replaced the door with an industrial style track door, this optimised movability in the space. To give the illusion of volume we selected a small scale white hexagon floor mosaic and a gloss finish metro tile for the walls – this reflective surface assists in distributing natural light in the space which is good for smaller low light rooms.

In general the neutral colour pallet is complimented by indoor plants and pops of colour through accessories and the iconic pink door which is a focal point in this space. These things can easily be repainted or replaced as trends come around.



Written, compiled, designed and styled by Melissa Lawrence. Photographed by Fiona Joy Photography. Assisted by Kayleigh Schuitema

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