About the Project:
“Donkermaan Cabin” was born out of a deep need to just sit and have tea with the “Donker”. This is an ongoing side project where it evolves as I find the right materials to make the ideas real as the need for them reveal themselves over time. The goal is to use materials that I…
“Donkermaan Cabin” was born out of a deep need to just sit and have tea with the “Donker”.
This is an ongoing side project where it evolves as I find the right materials to make the ideas real as the need for them reveal themselves over time. The goal is to use materials that I am able to find without buying them… Which means it is a slow-burn project that is built with reclaimed materials, offcuts and leftover materials from other client projects. This also means that the project is full of narratives that form an inhabitable collage of sorts.
Donkermaan is a small micro cabin nestled in a kloof on our family farm at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains just outside Swellendam. It is such a magical spot with a lot of healing sentiment connected to it for me. In 2015, I made the deck out of Eskom poles in combo with discarded vineyard poles.
With 2020 came a lot of change and uncertainty in my life and I just needed a moment to sit with it all. So, I pitched my 2.5 × 2.5m tent on the deck in the kloof and then went to live there for the three months of winter to just be closer to nature and really go deep into personal healing.
It was a new beginning for me and also a dark time with very little vision yet of what would come next. It was a beautiful time of inner work and intention-setting. In my time in the tent, it just felt right to create a more permanent structure to honour my time there. So, in the spring of 2020, I started collecting materials for a 2.5 × 2.5 micro cabin built on the same footprint as the tent.
The name “Donkermaan” is linked to the symbolic attachment that I had with the new moon for setting intentions for a new life phase to come.
Over time, I have expanded the deck and also replaced the vineyard poles with flat raw eucalyptus decking.
I have a dry compost toilet and an outside bath and shower that gets water from the mountain stream. I also added a cold plunge pool made out of an old JoJo tank that was damaged by a windstorm on the farm.
The space is currently only being used by myself and friends when there is a need to be immersed in nature and still have the basic comforts to really allow you to just take it all in.
In future, maybe this summer, I will also open it up for like-minded seekers to rent it out on Airbnb, but there are still one or two things that I would like to refine before then.
The interior and exterior wooden cladding is scorched and then sealed with raw linseed oil to protect the wood from beetles and rot as well as to give it a beautiful clean aesthetic. When you are inside, the black frames the views in a really lovely way.
I do most of the cooking on an open fire, but I also have a gas camp stove; all the firewood is from the wattle trees we cut down in and around this natural indigenous forest to try and make space for indigenous species.
It’s such a magical spot and I’m so grateful for every moment of building and enjoying this little blessing.
Reclaimed wood for decking