When new job opportunities meant relocating to Durban, the Stockil family’s limited budget and growing family forced them to consider a number of different properties. And while the house they eventually bought was nothing like the 100-year-old farmhouse they’d left behind in the Drakensberg, Simon and Jules knew that this home in Salt Rock north of Balito would afford them a similar lifestyle to the one they’d enjoyed on their family farm.
“It was a very ugly but functional lock-upand-go cottage and we knew it would require significant work to give it the farmstyle look we were after,” says Simon. “We had to do a complete renovation on a limited budget, so we had to be very careful how we spent our money.”
The Stockils decided to go the DIY route. “Jules grew up in a family of general contractors. With the advice of a respected local building contractor, KR Projects, we worked out which internal walls could come down without affecting the structural integrity of the building, while also enabling us to create a more open-plan living space,” says Simon.
The couple called in the help of three men who had worked with them on their previous home: between them, Skumbuzo Cebekhulu, Lucky Nyandeni and Goodwin Meya offer skills ranging from carpentry and bricklaying to painting and plumbing.
“Because our budget wouldn’t allow for the drastic makeover we had in mind, buying anything new was out of the question. Instead, we went on a mission to find as many fixtures, fittings and furniture items as we possibly could on Gumtree, local buy-and-sell groups on Facebook such as Balito Seconds, and from Durban-based Atomic Demolishers.”
Jules and her team of handymen set about creating an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room. Throughout the house, the flooring was replaced with laminated wood or parquet blocks and two smaller bedrooms were combined to create a main en-suite bedroom.
“All our wooden furniture was either upcycled by Jules and Skumbuzo or built from scratch by Goodwin, using pallet wood and offcuts. This gave our home a unique and inviting feel,” Simon says proudly.
The Stockils built a balcony above the stoep onto which the bedrooms open and the storeroom on the ground floor was converted into an en-suite guest room. Outside, what was once the gardener’s room was converted into a laundry and another outdoor room was turned into an en-suite bedroom for the nanny. Between the kitchen and laundry the couple created a courtyard and spruced up the garden.
“After two months of hard work, Jules and her team gave us the green light – even though it was a tense two weeks leading up to the move!” laughs Simon. In the end, they were all proud of how the house had been transformed with a new façade and undercover stoep next to the guest suite.
Best of all? The only new items they bought were two toilets, 80m2 of laminate flooring and a ceiling fan. Impressive! >>
To create an entertainment space, Jules and her team converted part of the downstairs storage area into an outdoor dining room and lounge by removing the garage roller doors and opening up and squaring off the arches.