A heart of stone

In just four months, this her­itage home was trans­formed into a gor­geous villa.

Home Renovations - - Contents - By Beat­rice Moore-nöth­nagel • Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster • Styling Shelly Bergh

Rea­son for ren­o­va­tion

De­spite 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence as a ren­o­va­tor to her credit, this stone house was the most dif­fi­cult project that Esté Smit had ever un­der­taken. The 135-year-old house with its stone walls, so typ­i­cal of the homes in Mos­sel Bay, was a real chal­lenge.

If you needed to make an open­ing for wa­ter pipes, the walls col­lapsed be­cause sand, not ce­ment, was used in-be­tween the stones. If you were in­deed able to re­move a sin­gle stone, you had to chisel an­other one to fit the hole ex­actly.

But Esté per­se­vered and ren­o­vated the her­itage home with the sen­si­tiv­ity nec­es­sary to re­tain its orig­i­nal in­tegrity. And al­though the bill of about R640 000 sounds like a lot, she added R1.5 mil­lion in value. To­day, the house is rented as hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion and is known as The Cove Old Stone Villa, but to Esté it will al­ways be known as “Our Stone House”.

Be­cause the house is a her­itage build­ing, the 135-year-old roof struc­ture had to be re­tained. Esté re­placed the steel win­dow frames with wooden ones as were orig­i­nally used in the build­ing. Nei­ther the stone struc­ture nor the façade may be al­tered (top left). The dis­tinc­tive long pas­sage was also re­tained (far left); the quirky ta­ble (left), and the rest of the art­work in the house, was done by Esté’s friend, Mari­aan Kotze.

You can save a lot of money by hav­ing shelves and fur­ni­ture made by a car­pen­ter, in­stead of buy­ing them, says Esté. The kitchen was de­signed and made by Brian Bronkhorst of Wood Forge.

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