Gideon and Lana Van der Merwe

before_image
BEFORE
after_image
AFTER
Name: Gideon and Lana
Surname: Van der Merwe
Location: Vanrhynsdorp Western Cape
Entry Date: Jul 1, 2020
Category: Innovation
Project: Entire House

About the Project:

We bought a plot in Vanrhynsdorp in the Western Cape with the intention of building a house. On the plot was a square reservoir and a concrete stand for a water tank. Both these structures were erected in 1931. The olive tree growing out of the old reservoir contributed to our decision to, instead of…

Read More

We bought a plot in Vanrhynsdorp in the Western Cape with the intention of building a house. On the plot was a square reservoir and a concrete stand for a water tank. Both these structures were erected in 1931. The olive tree growing out of the old reservoir contributed to our decision to, instead of building a house from scratch, use the existing structures as a base for our house and give new life to the old reservoir and tank stand. The reservoir was to become the kitchen and the tank stand the bathroom. Once we had established this, we then mapped out the rest of the house.

We started with a shed-like steel structure with a corrugated-iron roof. Then all the walls were built up. To turn the dam into a kitchen we had to use a grinder and a jackhammer to get through the thick reinforced concrete walls. We kept the tank stand as is and the top of the stand where the tank used to rest became the roof of the bathroom. The shower area is not finished as we are still considering various options of covering the floor and the walls of the shower. The window of the bathroom opens into the living room area, and fitting a normal bathroom window would not have worked. The solution we came up with was putting in a wooden frame with a wooden shutter-like door which we manufactured ourselves. We installed a small wood-fired foot stove in the living area on a raised concrete platform to add atmosphere. The end result of our planning was a 90 square metre building consisting of a kitchen, a bathroom, a sitting room, a living area and a workspace for ourselves, as we work from home. We are currently in the process of putting on roofs for the front and back porches.

Our next phase will be building a loft above the kitchen and installing a reed-covered ceiling for the entire house. We are planning to add on a second bedroom and bathroom in the near future as well as a big stone fireplace on the rear porch. The area is known for sandstone and beautiful rocks and we would like to incorporate that into the additions that we are planning. We moved in just as lockdown commenced with most of the inside work still to be done, including the painting of the interior. With few resources, and businesses closed, we had to dig deep and improvise to make the house into a home. We made use of family heirlooms, sentimental keepsakes and items lying around, and repurposed these for door handles, curtain rails and bathroom and kitchen accessories. Light fittings were structured from things like rope, MDF board, and enamelware. We used pallet wood and secondhand corrugated sheets for making our own kitchen and bathroom cupboards. In the building process we made use of wooden lintels reclaimed from what was left of an old farmhouse, and for serving tops in the kitchen we bargained with the builder to use his old scaffolding planks to add some character to the kitchen. We tried to keep with the character of the old structures, and with the rest of the finishing and decor enhance the vintage feel. We plan to add more rustic features to the house as we go along. Our little dam house is still a work in progress. Luckily, Rome was not built in a day!

Budget Breakdown:

Materials:
cement
10000
concrete blocks
21600
sand and stone
7000
wooden roof poles
5000
lintels for doors windows and concrete countertops
3700
old scaffholdingplanks for serving tops
0
reclaimed wooden lintels
0
corrugated steel roofsheets and flashing
6000
copper waterpipes and fittings for bathroom and kitchen
3300
wooden doorframes
7200
secondhand doors and wooden windowframes
4500
brickforce steel etc
10000
Durham paint
3200
kichen zink
0
toilet
1200
waterpipes and fittings
3500
curtainrailings
0
bathroom washbasin
0
build in cupboards kitchen and bathroom
1200
light fittings
0
bathroom towel railings and toiletrollholder
0
athroom window shutter
0
interior doors
0
87400

Contractors:

willem mosterd
39000
AB Filand
51000
C. Steenkamp
8000
98000
Grand Total
R185400