There was a retired fireman, from England, residing in Barrydale.

The municipality of Swellendam had a redundant fire engine as they had obtained a new one. The fireman organized for the fire engine to be delivered to Barrydale, and as he was mechanically minded, he repaired the hydraulic functions, and it was set to go for a test drive. Next thing the firemen saw smoke up the hill in Barrydale, they quickly filled up the truck at a fire hydrant and raced up the road. Mark’s house was on fire, and it was doused, with minimal damage. A portion of the thatch roof was burnt, this prompted mark to employ me to rework the cottage. one could see what the original style was, but previous additions had spoilt the scale and cohesiveness of the architectural language.

The result shows a happy mark, entertaining us in his new holiday home.

Location: Barrydale

Mark’s words

The house in Barrydale was a Nagmaal Huisie, meaning that once a month the farmers came to Barrydale for a church service, which included communion. As it was only occupied once a month, it was like a farm labourers’ cottage. It was called huis Pienki, when I bought it, it had been added onto. The coincidence is amazing, the fire happened on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

The fire created an opportunity to get it closer to what I wanted, the room in the roof! Without changing the footprint, a garden room and a bedroom /study was created, with access to an upstairs deck. The inside was also opened up.

I went on on the Mekong River Run during the construction, and I was happy that Ken the architect said not to worry, he will deal with it, now I have a space that I call home!

So, I then wanted to alter and improve my home in Newlands, in Bisset road in Cape town, I got hold of Ken! It’s an old 1960’s house, which was modernized without too much intrusion. Some of the improvements were the rooflight over the kitchen, the outside deck, with a view over the Newlands Forest, and a new en suite master bedroom.

I felt unstressed and had confidence in Ken, who was my architect and project manager!

At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable experience, and I did not age 10 years!