My name is Claire Botha and I’m a property renovator and interior stylist, helping people improve their homes, whatever stage of their journey.
Growing up I dreamt of being a journalist and after leaving school I worked on newspapers for ten years before moving into corporate communications. I turned a passion for interiors into a business in 2013 when, following two property renovation projects, friends and family insisted that this was my true calling.
I began sourcing vintage & unusual furnishings from flea markets and antiques fairs, selling them in online marketplaces under the name ‘Maison Vintage.’ Hunting out pieces for regular clients soon led to me helping to style them in their own homes and, in 2015, I renamed the business ‘Geek Vintique’ and started offering renovations’ advice and interior styling services.
Over the last four years I have continued to study interiors, gaining accreditation at Central St Martin’s, and my home improvements & styling consultancy has grown organically through word of mouth and recommendation. I now eat, breathe & sleep interiors much to the despair of my husband, two daughters, the cat and the dog. I would love to be involved in your home improvement project and help you create a finished look that’s worthy of any interiors magazine.
Getting the build integrity right is a vital part of any home renovation project, restoring, replacing or reproducing original features or creating focal points where there are none, but it is only half the story. With the right decor, furnishings, accessories and styling, even the blandest of modern houses can be transformed into intriguing spaces that are a joy to come home to.
My life, in projects…
My first taste of home improvements came at the tender age of six. My Dad, a fevered renovator, decided to rip the front off our cottage just before work took him on an extended trip to south America. For the next few weeks, as darkness fell each evening, my Mum would gather together us kids and a 12 -bore shotgun and barricade us into a bedroom behind a chest of drawers, as tarpaulin flapped outside where the front of our house used to be. Fair play to my lovely Dad - who was sadly taken from us just a few years ago - he restored the front of our 500-year old cottage with his own bare hands, but it wasn’t long before the compulsion to do it all again took hold and we inevitably moved on.
My mum wasn’t much of a home improvements fan after that, but my sister and I well and truly had the bug. My first, very own, fixer-upper was a 1940s detached in Reading that we bought in 2005. As soon as I viewed the house I could see its potential and knew exactly what we were going to do with it. By day I worked in the city, sneaking into empty meeting rooms to take calls from builders. By night, I poured over plans and created mood boards. This was to be our ‘forever house.’ Yet just a year after moving in, our circumstances changed and we were forced to sell.
Our second renovation in 2011 was an Edwardian three-storey divided into two flats, and untouched since the 1950’s. This time I became full-time project manager - hard hat, high vis, and six-month old baby strapped to my chest – and I managed every aspect of the build myself. With no budget for an interior designer, or to throw at fancy furnishings, I set about learning everything I could about interiors & home-styling and, most importantly, about developing my own personal style. Many of the images on this website are of this house, which was to be our ‘forever home’ but in 2018 our circumstances changed again. We bought an even older property to work on, an 1860s Victorian property which is currently very much work in progress!