The old homestead on the farm Steynskraal outside Heidelberg in Gauteng was pretty much in ruins when Yolandé Lotriet and her husband Jean decided to give it a new lease on life.
“We had to redo everything in the house as it had been standing empty for many years and all the electrical fittings, plumbing, doors and windows had been stolen,” explains Jean.
The couple decided to tackle the kitchen first. “This was the first room where we knew what we wanted: a warm, welcoming space where you can sit for hours, talking and having a good time with guests.”
Although they had help from a builder when it came to constructing and breaking down walls, Jean says they did about 80% of the work themselves, including making all the window frames. “I did all the plumbing, electrical work and woodwork, and Yolandé did all the decorating and painting.”
The couple also made use of leftover materials they found on the farm, including bricks, cement and lintels which they used mainly for the kitchen cabinets and counters.
The Lotriets used slate tiles on the floor to create a rustic look; their biggest challenge was to get the floor level. “We combined three different rooms to create the kitchen and levelling the space was difficult,” says Jean.
Some of the kitchen lights are made from old paraffin lamps, while the coal stove was made from empty drums found lying around on the farm.
Where do you find ‘golden oldies’? Yolandé loves to hunt for antique treasures in antique and second-hand stores. Van Ouds Af and Timols (both in Heidelberg) are her favourites, says Jean. How does one accommodate changes in personal taste? You can always play with colour and paint furniture and walls. But I don’t think we’ll do that soon – we love our kitchen!