Sim­ple lines and rus­tic fin­ishes in a farm-style home in Vlees­baai

Sim­ple lines and rus­tic By Sarah fin­ishes Stu­art-Reck­ling make • Pho­to­graphs this Vlees­baai Justin Pa­trick re­treat the per­fect spot to sim­ply re­lax and re­ju­ve­nate.

Home (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Frieda le Roux Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster Styling Mar­ian van Wyk

What’s the one thing a house needs in order to feel like home? For Jo­han and Madeleine Smuts of Ge­orge it’s a seam­less flow be­tween the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior – so syn­ony­mous with a South African life­style.

“With an abun­dance of sunny days – and our love of braai­ing – this was a top pri­or­ity for us,” says Jo­han.

The Smuts’ hol­i­day home in Vlees­baai flows from the liv­ing room to the kitchen and out to the braai area. Huge slid­ing doors make the in­te­rior liv­ing ar­eas and the ex­te­rior feel like one big space and with large win­dows that open onto a counter just out­side the kitchen, no one is ever ex­cluded from what’s go­ing on.

Usu­ally, the en­tire fam­ily – in­clud­ing the cou­ple’s three adult chil­dren – gath­ers here ev­ery De­cem­ber. Some­times, Jo­han and Madeleine slip away for a week­end too; they live less than an hour away in Ge­orge where they run Die Waen­huis guest­house.

“At this stage of our lives we don’t re­gard this as our re­tire­ment home but rather as a won­der­ful get­away spot that we’ll use more and more in the fu­ture,” says Jo­han. >>

In a farm style

The house, which was built be­tween 2013 and 2014, was de­signed by Jo­han’s ar­chi­tect brother, Boets. “We owned the stand for about 25 years and had long dreamt of cre­at­ing a home here for the next gen­er­a­tion, which is why we built four bed­rooms, each with its own bath­room, so that our three chil­dren, their friends and their fu­ture fam­i­lies could all have their own space,” says Jo­han.

The charm of this farm-style home is en­hanced by sim­ple lines and rus­tic fin­ishes. “Ev­ery­thing we chose was based on the farm theme,” says Madeleine. “The garage has a slid­ing door in a coach-house style, there are ex­posed roof beams, the balustrades are made of wood and steel ca­bles, and we have a cor­ru­gated iron roof.”

The at­trac­tive fit­tings in the cou­ple’s home are also prac­ti­cal. For ex­am­ple, wooden shut­ters on the win­dows help to reg­u­late heat and sun­light. Even the “silo” next to the beach gate serves a dual pur­pose (see page 44). Jo­han ex­plains that ev­ery house in Vlees­baai has to have a water tank. “We de­cided to make ours a fo­cal point that com­ple­ments the farm theme – the tank is dis­guised be­hind cor­ru­gated iron so it looks like a silo. This also cre­ated the ideal space for an out­door shower.” >>

At the end of the year, the house some­times feels as if it will burst at the seams with fam­ily and friends; we re­ally en­joy the sense of to­geth­er­ness. - Jo­han

A peace­ful co-ex­is­tence

The Smuts fam­ily’s va­ca­tion time largely re­volves around cook­ing and eat­ing de­li­cious meals. “In the morn­ing, the kitchen win­dows are opened so we can en­joy an ‘in­door-out­door’ break­fast of tasty sum­mer fruit such as peaches, apri­cots, litchis and water­melon. For lunch, we bake a loaf of bread – we are, af­ter all, miles from any su­per­mar­kets or shops!” ex­plains Madeleine.

Jo­han says most evenings are spent around the out­door fire. “It’s been set up like a camp fire with chairs around it and it’s shel­tered from the wind by the sur­round­ing milk­wood trees. It’s not un­com­mon for us to pre­pare three dif­fer­ent dishes on the braai.”

The fam­ily loves spend­ing time out­doors. In Vlees­baai they en­joy the beach and sea, but they also love cy­cling, jog­ging and row­ing. After­wards, there’s al­ways time for some rest and re­lax­ation. “We’ve strung ham­mocks be­tween the trees and we love hav­ing a snooze here, our books soon forgotten in our hands,” says Madeleine.

It’s fit­ting that this home has been dubbed ‘See-Lah’ – a play on the bib­li­cal word ‘se­lah’ which oc­curs fre­quently in the book of Psalms, and is used to de­note a pause. “It means to stop and lis­ten,” ex­plains Jo­han. And this is re­flected in the Smuts fam­ily’s love of wind­ing down in Vlees­baai and tak­ing a mo­ment to con­tem­plate life.

The huge old work­bench – com­plete with a vice grip – was a lucky find and now serves as a kitchen work sur­face with a but­ler sink. It sits on a plat­form to make it level with the other work sur­faces. Light­ing from Arc Light­ing

The in­door and out­door balustrades are made of tim­ber and steel ca­bles.

Old-fash­ioned wooden beds work well in one of the guest rooms (above left). Pale-green, blue, aubergine and red have been used as ac­cent colours through­out the house, while the walls and other fin­ishes are in neu­tral hues to keep the look light and airy. In the bath­room (above right), Madeleine made blinds from antique em­broi­dered sheets and linen fab­ric, which she bought in France and Italy. Tow­els from Arabesque

The water tank has been con­cealed with cor­ru­gated iron; the tank is lo­cated above with an out­door shower be­low.

Some sec­tions of the home’s ex­te­rior fea­ture ex­posed bricks that have been white-washed with ce­ment; the win­dow and door sur­rounds are coated with Earth­cote Ce­ment Paint.

The gar­den re­quires min­i­mal main­te­nance as it’s filled with hardy in­dige­nous plants; the laven­der bushes at the en­trance (top right) welcome vis­i­tors with their lovely fra­grance and the out­door fire (above right) is shel­tered from the wind by milk­wood trees.

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