A heart of stone
In just four months, this heritage home was transformed into a gorgeous villa.
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.