Risen from the ruins
A young landscaper turned a tumbledown country house into a collector’s dream come true.
Reason for renovation
When Charl first laid eyes on the old ruin next to the plot where his parents live, he realised it was the perfect spot for him. Believed to be the oldest building in Hartbeesfontein and often referred to as the “nagmaal house” (communion house), it once belonged to farmers who would use it when visiting town to have their children baptised or if someone was getting married. Later, the almost century-old house that Charl’s parents now live in was a doctor’s residence with Charl’s house serving as living quarters for the doctor’s maids.
“To this day, when we dig around the house we find old medicine bottles which we use as decoration in the guest room,” Charl laughs.
Charl bought the ruin from his parents in 2009, and over a period of three years he added another 100m² to the 50m² cottage. By the end of December 2013, he and his wife Estie could move in – and today the original building is the current main en-suite bedroom.
Besides the actual construction which was done by a building team, Charl laid the foundations and wooden floors, installed the pressed ceilings, laid water pipes, did some tiling and the floor screed on his own steam.
• An open-plan living and dining room, a kitchen and an en-suite guest room were added to the existing structure.
• The wraparound stoep followed and new concrete floors were laid throughout.
• A new roof was installed.
• The original concrete floors in the main bedroom and en-suite bathroom were screeded as they were in a poor condition.
• Electricity, plumbing and sewerage were added as there were no existing services.
• With the help of his neighbour, Charl installed pressed ceilings and wooden floors – both of which he got for free from an old house nearby.
• A large fireplace was added in the living room and an anthracite stove was installed in the main bedroom.
• Lastly, the interior of the house was painted; the back of the building, however, was left to be covered by a tickey creeper ( Ficus pumila). >>
Tiles Union Tiles (011 663 2000, uniontiles.co.za) Taps and toilets CTM (0861 433 337, ctm.co.za) Basin Bathroom Bizarre (0861 555 000, bathroom.co.za) Exterior paint colour Karoo Land from Dulux Lights Sotran (011 894 6950, sotran.co.za) and Hadeda (011 788 5774, hadedashop.com) Second-hand furniture Almal se Winkel (082 312 0855)
Q&A with Charl
Any cost-cutting tips? Visit demolition yards; you never know what gems they might have. I bought my entire home’s windows for R2 200! I also saved costs on building materials by using Corobrik’s JEM utility bricks of one-and-ahalf thickness. Where did you get your ideas? From books and a friend who is an architect drew up the plans. What would you do differently next time? I’d build the house so that it gets more sun as it’s very cold in winter. It is east-facing with no windows on the north side as the building is just a metre away from the road, so the house is quite dark. What do you enjoy most about your home? I love the look and open space – and, of course, the stoep to relax on. What’s next? We’d like to build an extra room or two for kids!
( Top, from left) The drinks cabinet, which belonged to Charl’s grandfather, opens up like an ironing board; the old scale was bought from a school; and the cabinet was bought at a demolition yard in Potchefstroom. ( Middle, from left) The tennis...
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The large stones on the bottom part of the stoep wall were collected in the veld. The house has been ‘washed’ with a mixture of Cemcrete, cement and sand to save on plastering and future painting costs. Before