With a passion for restoring hand-me-downs and an exceptional flair for décor, this young couple turned an old, rented house into a home brimming with character.
Paarl, in the Boland, is wellknown for its long main street lined with character-filled old houses. Alison and Len Bester, along with one-year-old Zac, live in one of these beautifully restored gems.
The couple moved into a rented house complete with high ceilings and wooden floors six years ago, and have made it their own.
Main photo: With its spacious braai area and screed floor the stoep is perfect for entertaining, and Alison and Len have turned it into an inviting space with plenty of seating and a spacious dining table.
Indoors and out, you’re greeted with lovely still life collections. The entrance welcomes you with a grouping of glass containers beautifully lit with distinctive cement lamps.
From worthless to wow!
Alison and Len love tackling new projects in and around the house. Most of their furniture pieces are hand-me-downs that they’ve transformed with a coat of paint and new upholstery.
Of course, it helps that Len is good with his hands. He’s always busy with a new project, whether its creating photo frames from old skirting boards, or the louvred shutter that’s now an orderly home for post (with storage for keys).
The Besters’ décor philosophy
Decorating takes time but doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Even in a rented home, it’s essential to plan what you want and then carefully select your furniture.
We enjoy giving old things a new lease on life and, in turn, they unquestionably have more character.
The Besters share tips for decorating a rented home:
- Shape it to your needs; as long as you live there, it’s your home.
- Introduce you own style by painting whatever you can – but do first obtain permission from your landlord.
- Personalise the house with things like a wall of family photographs.
- Move your furniture around regularly.