From the street it looks like any ordinary West Coast home but the green-red-and-blue front door is an indication that something special awaits inside!
a handful of old crank telephones, and even half a telephone pole... In Hanneli and Nico Denner’s home, you’d best expect the unexpected!
“If it’s here, it’s because it’s beautiful,” says creative Hanneli of her surprising décor. The couple conceptualised plans for their dream home a long while back and when they started building three years ago, Hanneli had the sketches ready as well as all sorts of accessories and furniture. “Some of my ideas left practical Nico a bit gobsmacked,” she recalls. “Fortunately, we like the same décor style.”
From the moment you enter the house, the corrugated-iron walls, rough cement finishes and stonework all create a warm atmosphere. “Being artistic is like breathing for me; it just happens,” says Hanneli. And each and every accessory has been selected and used with great care.
“The stone on the exterior walls was unearthed when the foundations were excavated. Nico picked up the cow skull in the veld and made the colourful clay birds sitting on its horns in a pottery class in Paternoster,” Hanneli explains. “The front door is new but I painted it to look old. After a long search, I found the perfect handle and sanded it until it looked weathered.” >>
A cow skull on the front stoep, antique sewing machines on display in the kitchen, a pendant rigged from an old ladder and chains,
A little bit of everything
Hanneli was born in North West and has owned her own interior decorating business, Annerkant die Draad, for 14 years. “I do a little bit of everything,” she says. “I paint, I love architecture, design, fabrics, historical novels, sewing and gardening. I’m also an amateur photographer.” But she’s actually a trained teacher!
Hanneli and Nico designed the house themselves. “It took many hours of drawing sketches. Nico’s insight and practical, logical input helped a lot. I used a computer program to do the sketches and an architect submitted the final plans to the municipality for approval.
“The building regulations for the town are quite strict. The height and width of the house, as well as the size of the windows and doors, are subject to stringent rules. Due to the height limitation, the upper level is situated largely in the roof.
“When it came to construction and design, it was like working with a blank slate. Our previous property was old and we renovated it, but this was the first house we built from scratch. Everything that bothered us in the past, we could do differently here.”
Hanneli has only one regret: “If we could change one thing, we would have made the house a little smaller. We were so excited about the dream of moving to Jacobsbaai that we totally forgot our kids would one day leave the nest.”
Fortunately, there is now more than enough room for when they visit with their friends! >>
The Denners lived in Rustenburg in North West but spent their holidays in Jacobsbaai for many years. They bought the plot on which the house now stands in 1998. “You can see, hear and smell the ocean from here,” says Hanneli. “The property adjoins a green belt and it feels as if we’re living on a farm. In winter, it’s so pretty with all the green and then in spring the flowers bloom.”
Construction began in March 2015. “We were scheduled to move in at the end of that year but it only happened the following March,” she says.
The house was designed around their furniture, most of which comes from their parents’ homes or antique stores. “I like old things. We buy from interesting places and we don’t follow trends and fads. I’m inspired by the French rural style, but also by local towns such as Rosendal in the Free State. It’s there that I got the idea to use stonework inside and outside the house.”
Hanneli says the Cemcrete finish on the walls accentuates the rustic appeal of the house. “All of the walls are painted with Earthcote Worn Leather in the colour Bakgat. On the ground floor we laid sandstone tiles and on the upper level the floors are recycled Oregon pine.”
Hanneli’s favourite part of the house? “The kitchen,” she says immediately. “It’s the heart of our home. It’s where we cook, make coffee, drink wine and entertain. In winter, the coal stove makes it lovely and cosy – even the cats are hesitant to budge from there.
“We are so content here. We only have one life and we believe in living it! Seize the day!” >>
Cutlery in the island drawer is neatly stored in old Butterfield loaf pans.
The living area on the first floor has a balcony with a sea view. It is also fitted with a fireplace and small kitchen.
The dining nook next to the kitchen leads out to the back stoep with its builtin braai. Portholes are a prevalent theme: there are two in the wall above the server and there’s even one inside the braai!
The staircase wall is decorated with family photos and wooden blocks that spell out the family’s favourite catchphrases.
Hanneli got the inspiration for the banister made of rusted copper pipes from a French magazine. “I love the way the French combine old and new.”’
One of Hanneli’s paintings hangs in Matista’s bedroom, while an old ammunition kist by the window provides storage space.
Halinka’s bedroom is decorated with colourful rosettes she has won in equestrian competitions. Hanneli discovered the kist at the foot of the bed in the veld and restored it.
Hospital bedside cabinets and a rough stone wall add impact to the guest bedroom.