A 62sqm House That Fits Everything In

This former storage room is converted into an amazing, modern-rustic two-bedroom rental

Original Article: Mandy Allen/ Photography: Greg Cox/ Pictorial Direction: Sven Alberding/

Doreen de Waal has taken the decision to open up her home to an ever-evolving mix of tenants from around the world. A respected South African design consultant and freelance stylist on magazines such as Elle Decoration, Doreen’s latest project is In Awe Stays, a listing of Cape Town cottages and loft apartments owned and designed by her and her husband that are available for short- or long-term rent to tenants.

This particular building, located at the top of Doreen’s property, was used as a storeroom for wood. Now completely transformed from its dark and poky former self, it reflects the hallmarks of the designer’s aesthetic identity: minimal clutter, accents of bright color, an abundance of natural light, a focus on function, and a sense of playfulness and personality.

The first task was to address the structure’s architectural shortcomings. Guided by Doreen, the team of builders raised the low-slung roof as high as possible while still keeping it within the lines of the original building. The tall ceiling is now one of the cottage’s most outstanding features. The next task was how best to configure the 62-sqm floor space in order to create distinctive and well-defined zones within what was essentially, in her words, a “rabbit warren of small, shoddily built rooms that were added over the years.” Here’s how she transformed the former storage area. 

Living and Dining Area

Renters Kat and Kone lounge in the open-plan living and dining area. Soft furnishings are kept simple, as seen in the white slipcovers and brown linen drapes that flank the door leading to the courtyard. The dining table is a simple wooden piece, with chairs that can be folded and hung on the wall to save on space. 


The galley-style kitchen within the general living area has a blue mosaic backsplash wall that visually separates it from the living and dining areas. The oakwood top of the refrigerator doubles as a butcher’s block and as extra counter space.

Guest Bedroom

“The internal glass doors are great because they act as impromptu message boards and a cheeky place to write quotes on,” shares designer Doreen de Waal.

The “thought bubble” mirror in the guest bedroom shows Doreen’s wry sense of humor. Get a similar “Bubbles” mirror from Calligaris, Clipp Center, 11th Ave. cor. 39th St., BGC.

Master Bedroom

A portion of the original brickwork of the house is covered by a sheet of glass to create a very unusual headboard. This feature serves as a visual reminder of the house’s original state.

Gray storage cubes flank both sides of the bed, serving as night table, hidden storage, and statement piece.


The narrow but efficient master bathroom is brightened up with blue mosaic and red accents. A floating vanity counter was installed to save on floor space.

Read the original article ("Shades of Gray") in the June 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

More on

A Rustic-Inspired Apartment Filled With Travel Finds

LOOK: This 17sqm Home Is The Smallest We’ve Seen!

A Compact 32sqm Condo Filled with Rustic and Industrial Touches


Latest Stories

A Feng Shui Guide for Every Room in Your House

As we approach the Year of the Dog, it’s time to clear your space and balance out your energies at home

Easy Small Space Tricks From An Interior Designer

Solve your tiny floor area woes with these ideas

Manila's Historic Houses Are Grand and Beautiful

Let's take a trip down memory lane and have a look at the stately mansions from Manila's bygone era of grandeur

10 More Places To Visit in Antipolo This Weekend

Because there's always something new to experience in art, culture, and food at this Northeastern city!

6 Colors You Never Thought You Could Use in Small Spaces

It’s time to give your go-to white and neutrals a break

See The World's Largest Picture Frame in Dubai

Designed by award-winning architect Fernando Donis, it's a marvel like no other

10 Things Millennials Want In Home Design

Condo units? Check. Industrial-hip style? Definitely. But the other items on their home wish list will surprise you!

Your Modern Filipino Home Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Add pizzazz to this well-loved style with these handy ideas inspired by a Tagaytay condo unit

5 Tips To Achieve Monochromatic Decor

Your home can look like a one-hue wonder with these design ideas

How To Work With Adhesive Hooks Without Ruining Your Walls

Get started on your DIY project ASAP with these helpful tips

A Lovely Resort-Like Home in the City

This family home in the South combines a bit of the old and the new, with tropical-inspired elements and a refreshing feel of the outdoors completing the timeless aesthetic

10 Ways To Use Patterned Tiles Without It Looking Too Crazy

Yes, you can mix and match patterned tiles! Plus, we give you important tips on how to install them.
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!