Why can’t I just get exactly what I want? That’s not too much to ask, is it?
So, we’re renovating this place because our lives are never complicated enough. Naturally, I have VISION. This mostly due to hours browsing Pinterest and Home magazine.
Sadly, my vision is not shared by the suppliers and builders of Gauteng. Well, not the reasonably-priced ones anyway.
I want white wood floors. I mean, white, it’s like, the most basic colour. And yet, truly white laminate or vinyl flooring appears not to exist in this country. Not pinkish-white, not yellowish-white, and definitely not greenish-white – stark crystal oak white. It did make a brief appearance on the market, just long enough for me to fall in love with a sample before disappearing from the African continent for evermore. What has everyone got against white floors? They’re huge in Scandinavia. Why not here?
Then there’s my stairs with wooden treads. White risers and wooden treads. What do the artisans tell me?
Just tile it.
I hate it when people say ‘can’t’. It makes me bitey. And one million image search results on Google say CAN.
Now clawfoot baths are very much in vogue and can be found all over. If one is clever (as one – based on empirical evidence – appears to be), one can find them at greatly reduced prices. No thank you, Builders Warehouse, CTM, and other mainstream suppliers of sanitaryware, I will not be paying R8000 for a water container.
Trouble is, I want my clawfoot to have a shower.
What can this ridiculous personage possibly have in mind?
It’s not rocket science, I promise. You just get a circular or oval shower hoop and attach a bracket for holding a hand shower so that it directs the water inside the domain of the shower curtain. Voila! Bath and shower in one.
Except you can’t get circular shower curtain hoops here.
Or brackets for shower heads that attach to a shower rail.
Or Victorian-looking taps with white levers for under R4000.
You can get them overseas. China appears to be experiencing an extreme surplus. And they’re cheap. But ordering them from China means you have to trust SA customs to release it within 8 months so that you’ll be able to wash yourself when you move in. Based on my experience of the last 12 months, this is unwise.
I’ve scoured the local Interweb – Gumtree, OLX, Junkmail, Locanto, Facebook Marketplace. Traipsed around all the plumbing, flooring, and hardware stores. They all sell the same stuff. Does no one in this country have any imagination?!
And don’t even get me started on Chinoiserie wallpaper.
I’m disappointed to say the least. Foreigners are freely decorating their places a la Pinterest with minimal expenditure and fantastic finds at second hand shops and I’m stuck with a choice of 3 laminate flooring colours (because when you get right down to it, no matter how many ‘ranges’ there are, you really only get 3 colours) and <retch> tiles.
Please prove me wrong and tell me that you have discovered amazing ranges and options at dream prices…that there is hope for imaginative South Africans on a budget!