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If you’re in need of a break from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city, the Lit­tle Ka­roo is just the ticket. Here, on the farm Uit­sig in the Hoeko Val­ley be­tween Ladi­smith and Cal­itz­dorp, Narine and Jur­gen Prins have con­verted a di­lap­i­dated labourer’s cot­tage into a comfy guest­house.

The cou­ple set­tled in the val­ley, where Jur­gen farms, in 2016. Jur­gen and Narine, a former Grade R teacher, were ready for a new chal­lenge and the house – prac­ti­cally a ruin – soon piqued their in­ter­est.

The build­ing had been un­oc­cu­pied for a long time and had been stripped of its roof and floor. “The weeds were al­ready start­ing to cover the walls,” re­calls Narine. But the view of the Tow­erkop Moun­tain was spec­tac­u­lar. The cou­ple were later to name the cot­tage Hemel­rand (Heaven’s Edge).


“Be­cause we have a sim­i­lar vi­sion, it was the perfect project for Jur­gen and I to tackle to­gether,” says Narine. While Jur­gen planned the lay­out, she fo­cused on the dé­cor. They started the ren­o­va­tion in Septem­ber that year, re­plac­ing the floors and doors and in­stalling a new roof.

The steep and wind­ing gravel road to the cot­tage was in­ac­ces­si­ble for trucks and the farm was far from any hard­ware stores. Out of ne­ces­sity, the cou­ple had to plan the project care­fully, es­pe­cially since they had to trans­port the build­ing ma­te­ri­als them­selves – and at just the right time so work could pro­ceed un­hin­dered. “On one oc­ca­sion, I ran out of petrol half­way up the moun­tain, and at other times I just left bags of ce­ment or shut­ters next to the bumpy farm track,” says Narine.

But they were un­de­terred and three months later they wel­comed their first guests. “It was worth all the blood, sweat and tears,” she adds. The cou­ple has since also set up an­other guest­house, Geluk­stroom, on the farm.

“Af­ter ev­ery project I say ‘never again!’. But be­fore you know it, we’re at it again.” >>

with Narine

Any cost-cut­ting tips for other ren­o­va­tors? Make sure you re­search the prod­ucts you want and don’t make rash de­ci­sions. Where do you like to shop for ac­ces­sories? My mom and I love brows­ing for dé­cor – whether it be in a re­tail store or at a road­side farm stall. We’ve re­fur­bished plenty of items, from tin trunks to wooden lad­ders. Any­thing can be re­vamped! What do you en­joy most about the com­pleted project? It’s so full of char­ac­ter. Al­most ev­ery dé­cor item has a story. What would you do dif­fer­ently next time? I would call in the help of a pro­fes­sional plumber. And per­haps set a dead­line for the project, oth­er­wise it drags on for too long and be­comes ex­haust­ing.


Ce­ment to which black ox­ide powder has been added Walls painted with ce­ment wa­ter Ceil­ing Isoboard (021 983 1140, isoboard.com) Tiles My Tiles (South­ern Art Ce­ram­ics, 028 316 3296) Taps AH Marais Se­uns (023 626 3071, ahm.co.za) Tracks for shut­ters Steel & Pipes for Africa (stee­land­pipes.co.za) Ac­ces­sories Bali Trad­ing (028 713 2080, bal­i­trad­ing.co.za); Cal­itz­dorp An­tique Fur­ni­ture (079 580 0528); Vic­to­ria & Al­bert (023 347 4939, vand­abaths.com)

Be­cause it uses so­lar power, 12V lamps have been in­stalled through­out the cot­tage. The bath­room light­ing (above) is sus­pended from an old pul­ley and the ‘lamp­shades’ in the lounge are or­di­nary glass jars.

The shelves were made from re­cy­cled wood to keep costs down. Al­though Narine loves the rope de­tail, it does make the shelves a lit­tle shaky. “Put it this way, I wouldn’t dis­play my grand­mother’s an­tique din­ner ser­vice on those shelves!” she says with a gr

An old meat grinder serves as a peg in the kitchen; the dresser has been given a new coat of grey paint (Paris Paving from Plas­con).

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