Interview – Nicolene van der Linde

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Man … I love blogging. This is a place where I get to share awesome people! It’s been a long time since CS has interviewed someone. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the time! But we are back and we starting with a beautiful soul. She is a women after my own heart. We talk the same language. We get excited about the same creative things and its so refreshing.

Nicolene has a background in law as well as lecturing law at Varsity College but her law career was placed on hold when her heart felt that practicing law was very different from studying it or lecturing it. Once Nicolene had children she found her herself with a much happier spirit being creative with her kids and in this her love for creativity that photography took shape.

” The photography bug bit very hard from there onwards. I think I have finally found my vocational passion! It is very creative but also very technical… actually a little bit of everything. I love it!”

Her home renovation journey has been an inspirational one. Never a dull moment in renovating is there?

Living in this solid old Durban North home with Nicolene is her husband Ewoudt and together they have two kids Luwaldt(4) and Limirie (2) &  four dogs. The house over looks the beautiful ocean but not close enough for salty spoils. However, it was in need of some modern love and personal spice. Nicolene really needed to find someone who would take their family into consideration while renovating as she was heavily pregnant at the time and wanted to use what they had existing to create their perfect space but that did not happen the first time round. Their first building experience (The Granny Flat behind the house) was rather a huge learning curve …

” With the granny flat we managed the process ourselves. We contracted builders, tilers, painters, electricians, plumbers and so forth. We bought and scheduled delivery of all the supplies ourselves. It was a grueling process. The first builder we had went awol with a portion of our money, and the admin around what should happen when was pretty intense. As was choosing all the finishes (we planned a certain look, but halfway through realised the floor we wanted wasn’t available anymore and had to change course half way). But luckily all turned out ok (and nobody got divorced or murdered in the process).”

exposed-brick granny-flat-bathroom

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Most of the material used for building and decor was restored and Nicolene tried to use whatever they had to make magic happen. Not solely for cost savings but because that is what being creative was all about!

” We kept the basics natural and organic- screed, wood, raw brick. Décor wise we always joke if its rusty or peeling we will take it, so the organic look was pretty much the natural choice for us.”

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FRONT OF GRANNY FLAT: This is where they cooked outside most evenings while the main house was being renovated. Rain or shine.

THE MAIN HOUSE

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The main house reno was done while they loved in the granny flat. This picture is of the view of the main house, ocean in the distance.
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Walls were knocked down to open up the living area
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Practical flooring & beautiful kitchen design make the perfect heart of the home zone for the family.
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Ladder on display but used when needed!

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CS- What tips have you got to share with someone who is starting a renovation? Plan, plan, plan (the look you want, budget, timeline… the list is endless). Finding builders you can trust is a big step in the right direction. Think outside of the box– we recycled our old garage doors into a linen kist and used walking sticks as towel rails. Don’t feel discouraged when the going gets tough keep your eye on the ball, it is so worth it in the end! Live in the space for at least a year if possible before renovating you get a comprehensive idea of your needs.

CS- Can you say what the best part of the reno was? Moving in! The space was ‘us’ and felt like home!

CS- Can you share your worst experience? As I mentioned the first builder disappeared with some of our money (hard lesson to learn). And we had a bad burglary in the middle of the process which meant we had to up security by installing an electric fence which of course took a big bite out of our budget.

CS- Looking back on it all, why did you choose the design and decor you did or was it just an organic way? I am an avid décor magazine reader and got lots of ideas there. We had a pretty good sense of what we liked as we had to save for a long time, so plenty of dreaming had happened! However, it was difficult putting everything together and letting some ideas go that just didn’t work.

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CS- Having kids is a big factor in deciding on your layout and decor choice. Can you tell us what decisions were made for this? We wanted an open space where kids could play and everyone is ‘involved’ whilst going about their daily tasks. Nothing is too fancy and where very few things are ‘don’t touch that’. Most things are easily cleaned (like the leather couches and grass carpets) and I squeeze in extra storage wherever I can (example, some old milk cans are now home to a variety of balls).

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CS- You are definitely a creative & hold a natural flair for ‘thinking out the box’
with designs… Can you share which item you made with whatever you
had lying around?
My favourite is probably our headboard made from old burgler bars from before the renovations. Oh and our TV unit which Jomo (our gardener and handy man) and I made from scaffolds used in the building process.

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Shelves in kids rooms also made from scaffolding, pretty awesome hey!?

CS- What would you do over again if you had the chance?Mmmm I currently have a bee in my bonnet to white wash the wooden floors…

CS- Would you do it all over again, ie do you enjoy the process and why? Hahaha, that depends on when you ask the question! The process is very exciting, but there are times that you are 100 % sure it’s going to kill you and you can’t take a minute more (of course having the right team will minimise this feeling). However… in the end it is a couple of months worth of tough going and then months and months and months of loving your space every day… So yes, I would definitely do it again!

Favourite aritists: Marike Prinsloo-Rowe- One day when I am grown up I would love to own one of her pieces. Ingrid Hall & Rentia Smith.

The car bed was made by Nicolene

Knob Kirri’s used as hand rails in the bathroom.

{Through Nicolene’s Eyes}

Sundays are about church and family time… and relaxing as much as possible with two toddlers around! My favourite memory in this home isthere are too many to choose from! Life is not complete without chocolate Super M’s (my kids would argue its strawberry) If we were the last family on earth we would live simply and farm organically. Today is a gift and a blessing and glorious! I love my country because there are a million places and things to be discovered. The way to a kid’s heart is being emotionally present and being involved. If I had the time I would watch a movie or 10, learn some new tricks in photoshop and read, read, read. My favourite corner in my home is the study because so much of my creative energy is spent there. I am cooking spicy chicken for supper. Nothing is better than seeing my kids be carefree. Being creative is like shooting stars in heart.

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Man, dont you just love this women and her free creative spirit! What I love about her & her home is that she used something old and made it something new.She used what she had and with thinking out the box she created beautiful things!

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