‘We did ev­ery­thing, from plumb­ing to til­ing’

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Home Renovations - - CONTENTS -

Sharné and Luca Arnold des­per­ately wanted a change of life­style – they were keen on a smaller home, a sim­pler life and quiet sur­round­ings far away from the Port El­iz­a­beth rat race. So they be­gan look­ing for new prop­erty and were open to pretty much any­where in South Africa that would of­fer them a peace­ful change of scenery.

On­line re­search led them to the tran­quil vil­lage of Tes­se­laars­dal in the Western Cape’s Over­berg re­gion. An es­tate agent showed them four prop­er­ties – one of them a va­cant plot of 3 665m2 with a stream trick­ling through it. Even though it wasn’t part of their plan to build a new home from scratch, they fell in love and fol­lowed their hearts. They said farewell to their busy lives in PE and stayed in a car­a­van on their new plot for six months while lo­cal labour­ers built the foun­da­tion, walls and roof.

“Once the roof was on, the rest was up to us,” says Sharné. The cou­ple did ev­ery­thing from the plumb­ing and til­ing to lay­ing floors and build­ing and in­stalling the ash ply­wood cup­boards. “We read up on how to do things and asked for ex­pert ad­vice when we needed it – even though it took us longer than the pro­fes­sion­als to do it, we got it done!” she adds.

The kitchen and stoep show­case their love of com­bin­ing old and new to cre­ate some­thing prac­ti­cal and beau­ti­ful. “We love our view from the stoep, be­ing sur­rounded by na­ture and wak­ing up to bird­song,” says Sharné. “We’re at peace here; it’s ev­ery­thing we hoped for.” It made sense to have a din­ing ta­ble on the deck with its beau­ti­ful view. The cou­ple found the old Coca-cola fridges (be­low) at a scrap­yard. “Quotes for free­stand­ing cup­boards were ridicu­lous, so we opted for these fridges for stor­age,” says Sharné.

with Sharné and Luca

Any cost-cut­ting tips? Re­pur­pose! When we drew up the plans for our new home (us­ing Sketchup), we con­sid­ered our fur­ni­ture in PE and what we could re­pur­pose – and then de­signed our house around that. What would you do dif­fer­ently next time? It’s im­por­tant to bud­get for the cost of ma­te­ri­als in the area in which you’re go­ing to build or ren­o­vate – not in the area where you’re based! Where did you get your ideas? Most of our ideas were in­spired by cost-sav­ing drives. Any other ad­vice? Mea­sure twice, cut once. And when look­ing for more af­ford­able used items, re­mem­ber that there will prob­a­bly be ad­di­tional ex­penses such as clean­ing, re­pair­ing and paint­ing. What do you en­joy most about your new home? We love that the kitchen and din­ing area is cen­tral and opens up onto the stoep. What’s next? We threw away the quotes we got for man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­stalling garage doors and now Luca is mak­ing them him­self! Hav­ing learnt so much on this pro­ject, we’ve also started up our own com­pany, White Oak Home Im­prove­ment & Dé­cor.

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