Volte-face (pron.: /vɒltˈfɑːs/ or /voʊltˈfɑːs/) is a total change of position, as in policy or opinion; an about-face.
The expression comes through French, from Italian voltafaccia and Portuguese volte face, composed of volta (turn) and faccia (face). (Wikipedia.)
“There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
(Jodi Picoult)
And so it happened – far sooner than expected – the house was sold and it was really not practical for me to pay exorbitant rent to the owners as a tenant. I was pressed, with a very low budget, to buy an apartment in a hurry, on a very low budget.
Unfashionable (to read it simply, dodgy) areas are perfectly in order abroad. They may, in fact, be viewed as thrillingly eccentric. In South Africa, however, moving to one of these areas may be seen as a form of deliberately assisted suicide. I forged ahead nonetheless and have purchased an apartment, with the blind faith that I will create a cosy home for myself and live under the ‘benign hand of God’: a fatuous construct in some eyes, perhaps, but the deed is done.

I have entered the lion’s den. Mine is the top floor, right hand end apartment. It overlooks one of the top schools in Johannesburg and I will be able to enjoy watching the lads play cricket while enjoying a cup of tea on my balcony.

yes flat_edited


Once the almost exclusive enclave of Jewish immigrants seeking out the safety of an apartment community; what they were used to in Europe, the area became, in the 80s, the stomping ground of well-heeled hippies. I remember it being the very epitome of bohemian nightlife. Sadly, it has since degenerated into a ghetto populated by Nigerian drug lords and the like. I recently read that there is an initiative underfoot to reclaim the area and trust that my leap of faith will prove to be a fortuitous one. If nothing else, it will give me an exciting project for interior decorating and will provide some blog fodder.
The apartment itself is a warren of large, sun-filled rooms, currently populated as a commune.




I will begin by beefing up the security and making a lot of cosmetic changes to the interior. It is filthy, but nothing that ripping up the horrid carpets to expose the beautiful parquet floors and a lick of paint can’t improve. I shall need the services of a handyman, for quite a while, with a little luck I will find a beefy shirtless hunk with a big toolbelt. Our combined experiences will – no doubt – offer up much blog fodder. I promise photos of the progress.

One thing I am particularly looking forward to is having a proper oven again and being able to bake. With the miniature stove I’ve had in the cottage, freshly baked cakes have been a thing I have sorely missed.


I am excited. Watch this space!


85 Comments Add yours

  1. WOW! You are going to have SUCH fun turning your flat into a home!! I cannot wait to see you do your magic 🙂 xxxxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Choosing paint samples already, even though occupation is only 1 August. Going to die of impatience 🙂

  2. Hotly Spiced says:

    Congratulations on your purchase. I believe you will bring fresh love to your part of South Africa and that more wonderful people like yourself will move in and reclaim the area. You will have so much fun renovating and turning your new space into a delightful and comfortable and stylish place to call ‘home’. I can’t wait for your blog posts and I look forward to seeing images of your handsome hunky tradesman with the large tool belt xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m very excited, HS, hope the toolbelt is a BIG one 😉

  3. Deborah Watson says:

    So encouraging to see your resolve and the inner-spirit that is as strong as steel/

    Deborah W

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you Deborah 🙂

  4. Colleen says:

    On the positive side……it is YOURS! And I love the spacious rooms and the bright natural light. You have a view 😉 and you can sit and daydream in between working and enjoying cups of tea on your balcony soaking up some rays 🙂 The biggest positive? It is a new beginning….starting afresh with a clean slate! I look forward very much to what you are going to fill that slate with. I know it is going to be awesome. ❤ you always and covering you in prayer for safety xxxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      As it happens, my new wall paint is in a shade of slate 😉

  5. Colleen says:

    Oh and PS! I totally love the gas hob and oven and look forward to the cakes you will be baking and sharing with us via this blog 🙂 YAY! xxxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nice that the stove is a Bosch one and relatively new 🙂

  6. Congrats on your new home. So excited to see you work your magic!

  7. footsy2 says:

    Always a joy to see you. Have much fun.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Footsy, I’m sure I will 🙂

  8. crafticat says:

    I am so excited for you. Any place you can call your own is magic. At least you have big rooms. I will be watching for your pics on how things change 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ll be a long wait until August, Crafti, so let’s hope the time flies.

      1. crafticat says:

        I can’t help having images of your blue eyed baby moering off that balcony. Im sorry but I always see the side of the cat 😦

      2. theonlycin says:

        Have thought of that already – going to put safety net up before I move her in 🙂

  9. Oi and here I thought you have moved in and could not, for the life of me, associate you with a place looking like that. And the baby stuff …….. 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s going to look drastically different when I’m done 🙂

  10. SuziCate says:

    I can’t wait to see what you do with the place, Cin. I expect, big, beautiful, and bold things, lol! Best wishes to you on this new chapter of your life.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Suzi, it’s all very exciting 🙂

  11. MissChris says:

    I swear I used to live in that block in the 80’s!! Oh for those big spacious rooms and what a vibe you will have in the evenings – own it Cin, make it all yours! Very happy for you!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hope you’ll come for a visit, Chrissie 🙂

  12. Pussycat44 says:

    Congratulations on the purchase of your very own space. I can just imagine that you’ll be thinking colours, patterns, texture for the next few months. Happy planning.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Pussycat, I have to reign myself in and be patient. I always want everything to happen yesterday 🙂

      1. Pussycat44 says:

        I have already “furnished” my cottage 😉

      2. theonlycin says:

        Can’t tell you how many times I’ve ‘moved’ my furniture around already 😉

  13. adinparadise says:

    Great to see you surface again, Cin. Congrats on your new home. It looks to have amazing potential, and nice big rooms, which is something you don’t get with newer apartments. I look forward to seeing the work in progress. Good luck with the hunky handyman. 😉 xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks AD, with my luck I’ll land a handyman with plubler’s bum and a beer boep 😉

      1. adinparadise says:

        Hmmmm………I hope not. 😯

      2. theonlycin says:

        Holdthumbs AD 😉

      3. theonlycin says:

        LOL, me too 🙂

  14. Congratulations again Cindy! You are going to have the most beautiful home and how very exciting to make it all your own from the get go with renovations. Have fun and I cannot wait to see all the photos of how you transform your lovely sunny home.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mandy, I already have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head 😀

  15. Sue says:

    I’m so glad to see that you are posting again 🙂 I have missed them. And delighted to read that your daughter has reconciled with you. Best wishes with your ‘flat’ project. Can’t wait to see how you transform it!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Sue, it’s going to be a long wait 🙂

  16. Jodi says:

    How exciting! Can’t wait to see how things turn out. Please stay safe.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I will, Jodi, at least there is good security in place already.

  17. Mika says:

    So very happy for your sake amica mia . This will become your new home, and you will turn it into something magical . xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks amica mia *heart* xxx

  18. slpmartin says:

    Excited to see what you do with your new home and hope that all else is going well for you…as always my best wishes are being sent your way.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Charlie, best wishes to you too.

  19. Onecakebaker says:

    It looks like a great space with wonderful potential. It’s sad to see bars on the terraces, but I understand crime is unbelievable in South Africa. Maybe a burly student roomate would help?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Onecakebaker, instead of a roomate I think I will have to teach my cat karate 😉

  20. nrhatch says:

    Yay! Sounds like just the project for you . . . you have great interior design sense.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Nancy xxx

  21. dearrosie says:

    Didn’t realize you hadn’t moved in until I read through the comments. The flat looks lovely from the outside and the rooms are decent sizes and there’s lots of bright light plus a lovely new Bosch cook top.

    1. theonlycin says:

      The Bosch was the deciding factor, Rosie 😉

      1. dearrosie says:

        Is the oven also new?

      2. theonlycin says:

        Yes, looks like it 😀

  22. souldipper says:

    There’s nothing like having something grand to look forward to…and you have the talent to pull off a marvelous reno. This will be fun to watch. Besides the slate on the walls, do you have your colours picked already?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nope Amy, apart from silver for the curtains and lots of red accents, I shall have to do with what I have and make the best of it. Don’t have much budget.

      1. souldipper says:

        A decorator told me to pick some article in my belongings that held the colours I love. She said to keep that ever in my clutch while choosing, deciding and picking. You probably know that already, Cin, but it’s invaluable when time is needed to let finances catch up.

      2. theonlycin says:

        A good tip, thanks Amy.I’ve started making a ‘mood’ page in my journal and carry it everywhere with me 🙂

  23. I AM excited for you! I know that you are going to do wonderful things with the place. I can see your creativity taking hold there, and bringing the whole complex out of the realm of drug lords and into a new gentrification project! I love the sound of your enthusiasm! Hurray for you! Congratulations!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Cindy, I shall try my best to turn a blind eye to the drug lords 🙂

  24. Leeswammes says:

    Good luck in your new flat, Cindy. I’m sure you’ll do a great job redecorating it. Let’s hope the area is indeed up and coming!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes Judith, let’s hope 🙂

  25. Ruth2Day says:

    this will be a project I will enjoy reading about. and if you can provide a tool bearing beef cake then I’ll be here daily 🙂 Very best of luck to you in your new home, I know you’re going to make it wonderful 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Ruth, I know it’s wrong to wish time away, but I hope August comes along quickly.

  26. optie says:

    Looks a great space just in need of TLC which I am sure you will provide with loads of flair. Hope you are soon enjoying living on top of the world 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Optie, I can’t wait 🙂

  27. Once you’ve worked your magic, it’s going to be great.

    Why two fridge freezers?

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s currently occupied as a commune, Tilly, I guess the occupans keep separate fridges?

      1. I thought that was a joke when I read it in your post 🙂

      2. theonlycin says:

        Seriously – three families living there :O

  28. Big move, and we’ll all be praying that it’s a really wonderful one for you! xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Celia *heart*

  29. I will pray for your safety as well as affordability and ease of decorating. You are going to do great things. Lots of love, Linda

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Linda, I am very impatiently biding my time until I can move in 🙂

  30. adeeyoyo says:

    Good for you, Cin. Make it a home and be h-a-p-p-y! Nowadays all the suburbs contain such a mix, intentionally, which can be a good thing. I am so glad that you are positive – it will really stand you in good stead. ♥

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Adee, you are right about all the suburbs being a mix. I guess one just has to be vigilant. xxx

  31. Dee says:

    I just know that it will be wonderful when you are finished and it appears to have much more space. Stay strong and have fun with your new project.I am excited to see what you will do.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Dee, my mind is in a frenzy of excitement. Just this afternoon I decided that I am going to have one of the kitchen walls bashed out to give me more space to play in there 🙂

  32. Tammy says:

    I’ll bet that it will be beautiful. I’m excited to watch and so happy to hear that you’re pulling up that carpet. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Tammy, the carpet is pretty horrendous, but I remember it being very fashionable way back when 🙂

  33. Jamie Dedes says:

    Look forward to the progress as only you can do it! 🙂
    What a nice sized kitchen. Enjoy.
    Good luck, Cindy.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m debating whether to knock out one of the kitchen walls to make it even bigger, Jamie. Time and budget will tell 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mal, on my way over to you 🙂

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