was a scene guaranteed to get many a renovator’s hands itching to get stuck in: a run-down farm cottage with a huge old tree towering above it and a view to die for.
“The little house on our farm Vleidam outside Koringberg was built by labourers in 1930,” says Nikki Loxton.
“And everything about it really is little – from the rooms to the windows. When we did the restoration, we tried to stay as true to the original aesthetic as possible, keeping the walls as skew as when they were first built.”
Nikki and her husband John run a guest farm on Vleidam and the cottage is now one of the self-catering units they rent out. Nikki and her daughter Christine, who is in charge of the admin for the guest farm, joined forces to plan and execute the renovation.
Although they had a vague idea of what they wanted, the project was still an adventure, says Christine. “I think you can never really be 100% prepared when you tackle something like this, especially if you do most of the work yourself. There were definitely a few surprises and many of the ideas only came to us as we went along.”
The cottage consists of a kitchen-cum-living area and a large bedroom that both open out onto the spacious stoep with its built-in braai, comfy seating and tranquil reading nook. And, of course, the vast open space of the Swartland serves as the perfect backdrop.
“The only structural change we had to make was building a wall between the bedroom and bathroom. Fortunately, the original wooden ceiling was still intact – we simply painted it white,” says Nikki. The corrugated-iron roof is still the original, but a new roof was added over the stoep to provide much-needed shade.
Nikki says that the most difficult aspect was getting the electricity, water and sewerage lines installed. “We had to dig the sewerage trenches with a bulldozer; luckily, we were able to use our neighbour’s machine. And drainage stones for the sewerage system had to be hauled here from the veld by tractor and trailer.” >>