Our house was built in 1975, sold almost immediately to the old folks we bought from. So it has been well looked after, and was one of the prime reasons we bought, not having to do any real fixing up, only customising.
In August we'll have been in two years. The garden in front of the bedrooms had this big slope at the top, which we decided would become our pool deck. Which was duly done, and can be seen in this pic...
The ironically sad thing is that this pic was taken in Oct 06, the start of spring, and we expected the summer rains to really bring it along. And we've had absolutely not nearly enough rain, and everything has been drab and brown the whole summer. We water plenty by hand, but it's not enough. The few occasions we've had more than say 10mm rain, the ground has been so hard, it has just washed off. Incredibly sad, considering the garden is such a great joy to me.
We are still trying to fill in all the gaps after removing lots of junk, so it's loads of cheap plants like dietes, and agapanthus and solanum and stuff, then we can remodel to put in more focal points into the garden, once it's established.
The garden on the street side is more of an English type garden, with loads of roses (I have 42 in total!), and groundcovers filling in the gaps. Plus two large trees, and an awesome 3, Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. Monumentally spectacular after first blooms (around Oct / Nov), until the cooler weather sets in.
In the pic above you can see my bird feeder. We put out our indoor birds' leftover seeds and husks, old bread, old fruit skins, apples, you name it, out for the birds. Even occasionally some leftover mince which the bulbuls absolutely love.
We see the normal SA garden visitors...
Plus some of the more elusive ones...
(Only seen the coucal on the feeder this once, occasionally hear him clattering about in the trees, probably raiding nests.)
We also get hoepoos, olive thrush and hadeda ibis on the grass, and in the undergrowth, weavers, the fantastic bulbuls, tons of laughing and cape turtle doves, usual LBJs etc.
You can also see my braai spot; whilst it was tempting to build a proper braai closer to the house, I like nothing better than to do my Friday PM braai under the trees, on the lawn.
Indoors, it's quite a conventional house....
- Large (relatively, 30 sq.m) lounge with rollup blinds for an easy-to-use rustic feel; floor tiled, much easier on maintenance than the old cream carpets (we have two kids!)
- Dining room, seldom used!
- Large kitchen with solid wood units and faux lead-glass cupboard windows; also has breakfast nook, where we have most of our meals
- Study-cum-4th bedroom, cluttered with desk, PC, shelves, bunk bed; used to be their TV room, so was tiled already
- Long passage
- Kids rooms
- Our room with BICs off to the side, and en suite bathroom, which includes MY shower
- Study and all bedrooms had pressed steel pelmets replaced when we moved in, with oregon ones, lovely
- Kids' bathroom has bath and SO's shower
- Kids' toilet.... hmmm, dunno really, I try not to go in there, I don't have the right biohazard suit!
- Staff quarters converted to laundry
- Single garage (Volvo), double carport over drive (SO's and my everyday cars), another carport behind the house (trailer and another car if needed)
- Large courtyard where the kids can ride their bikes, shoot netball hoops up against the laundry wall etc
- Wendy house in garden for all the kids' toys, so they don't clutter up the house
Between the kitchen and garage, we had this wasted, rubbish little area that was good for neither man, nor beast. So we put up a steel frame, covered with 80% shade cloth, and created an 'indoor-outdoor garden'. Put in table and benches, and that's where I sit and smoke, or have a beer, or read the papers, or do whatever...
It also helped a lot with heat in the kitchen. Kitchen was extended outwards, such that the exterior wall is right under the edge of the eaves. Which makes it very hot with direct setting sun in summer. So the shade helps a lot.
House is split level, with steps at the start of the passage. But the builders got clever, and kept the roof height constant, so our living areas have these immensely high ceilings, which I love. It's not to everyone's taste, but they were also done with knotty pine, which has now aged to a lovely honey colour, and I absolutely love the cottagey-rustic effect.
Recently redid carpets in passage and master bedroom; as indicated above, cream carpets and small kids do not work together. Next major project will be an entertainment area, stroke guest accommodation, next to the pool, and we'll probably lose the carport in the process.
I love my house! It's practical, and neat, and everything's done with quality materials and workmanship; if not ever a candidate for the House and Home.