First impressions

Start­ing with the stoep over­look­ing the Kamies­berg Moun­tains, this fam­ily farm­stead is slowly be­ing re­stored to its former glory.

Home Renovations - - Contents - By Wi­cus Pre­to­rius • Pho­to­graphs sup­plied

that an My grand­fa­ther al­ways said

if you old house is like an old man:

pa­tience don’t treat it with lots of

life very and re­spect, it will make

Crous dif­fi­cult for you. – Esmi

Rea­son for ren­o­va­tion

If a farm­house has with­stood the va­garies of five gen­er­a­tions, it’s un­der­stand­able that the struc­ture would be a lit­tle bat­tered and run-down af­ter so many years. That’s how it was on the farm Groot­valleij in Na­maqua­land.

When Philip and Esmi – her maiden name is Van der Westhuizen and she is the sixth gen­er­a­tion to live at Groot­valleij – moved to the farm in 2012 af­ter two years abroad, a ren­o­va­tion was def­i­nitely on the cards.

They started at square one: the stoep. “Be­fore we moved in, the house had been stand­ing empty for al­most 15 years, so it was in a very bad way,” says Esmi. “But the real prob­lem was all the al­ter­ations and add-ons that the pre­vi­ous res­i­dents had done – not all of their ideas were good ones. The house had com­pletely lost its char­ac­ter and we wanted to re­store it to its former glory.”

Work­ing from an old pho­to­graph they got from Esmi’s grand­fa­ther’s el­dest brother, un­cle Neelsie van der Westhuizen (93), they planned their ren­o­va­tion ac­cord­ingly.

They’re far from done but the new façade en­sures that guests ar­riv­ing at the farm (Esmi also runs a guest­house) will re­ceive a warm wel­come.

“The old house has re­gained its pride,” says Esmi. “So much of my fam­ily’s his­tory was wrapped up in this home­stead, so it was re­ally sad to see it so di­lap­i­dated. Now my son Alexan­der loves rid­ing his scooter on the new stoep – al­beit at the ex­pense of his par­ents’ men­tal health!”

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