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“We started our family as a young couple and now we are six – the small divided spaces just weren’t working anymore,” she explains. “We live in a house in one of the old mining areas of Johannesburg South and the rooms are rather small… It took a long time, but we finally decided to demolish some walls and create a more functional living area for our family.”

And in the true spirit of the Fix it with Flair competition, Talia and her IT wiz husband Nick got stuck in themselves. “The small rooms weren’t the only problem,” Nick recalls. “Every time you touched the hot water tap in the bathroom, you’d feel a slight electrical shock. We had to rewire the entire house as part of our kitchen revamp.”

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Luckily, Nick has a pragmatic approach to life. “Cabling is cabling,” he says of the rewiring job that would usually have been done by an electrician. “Only the shock is different!”

Q&A with Talia

Any cost-cutting tips? Don’t be afraid to ask for help; many people have useful skills to share and sometimes a cake is payment enough. Cast-offs from people you know may prove invaluable.

Where did you get your ideas from? I follow a lot of home decorating and gardening via Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and I watch Home Channel whenever I have five minutes to myself.

Any other hints or tips? When working on a tight budget, you find amazing ways to ‘get the look’ without paying for what’s trending. Plan well and shop around.

What do you enjoy most about the completed project? I love that our family is together! Dad can game online while I cook dinner and the kids can do homework at the island while the baby of the family builds puzzles on the floor – and we can still have a conversation!

What’s next? A bathroom makeover and a second toilet! 

A space for us all

The Bothas’ home is about 60 years old, and Nick and Talia are only the second owners. Having lived in the house for almost two decades, they had a clear idea of what they wanted to do – and the first thing that had to go was the carpet in the kitchen. Although they discovered parquet flooring underneath, the damage to the wood was extensive, so they swapped what was usable for a mechanical repair of their car when it broke down.

To save on costs, Nick’s father Rudi Botha made up the Supawood cupboards: he cut 3mm grooves into the front to enhance the rustic farmhouse effect that Talia loves so much.

For Talia, who bakes and decorates speciality cakes, creating a practical kitchen space was the perfect solution for her business. “I’m in the kitchen for 70 percent of my waking hours and it was difficult to oversee the older children doing their homework while also trying to entertain a toddler in another room.” Now this conundrum is a thing of the past.

“It took five months of being patient – not only when it came to finances but also in terms of our living conditions. But we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved!” says Talia. “My new space reflects my personality and I love the farmhouse look with its industrial touch and French country charm. The kitchen really allows our family to come together in a functional but beautiful space.

Stockists

Wood and countertops Boardmaster (011 680 5722, boardmaster.co.za)

Cupboard fittings and stainless-steel items M&N Fittings (011 435 1115, mnnfittings.co.za)

Downlights, pendants and curtains China Mall (011 830 1588, chinamall.co.za)

Glass and paint Builders (0860 284 533, builders.co.za)

Delft tiles and sink mixer Tile Africa (0800 002 783, tileafrica.co.za)

Wood-look floor tiles CTM (010 003 9987, ctm.co.za)

Fabric Chamdor (011 762 1401, chamdor.com)