The Roundhouse design was
based on the tradional African Rondavel's you see in the rural
areas. The traditional houses are round with thatch roofs (although
built with mud and straw). We wanted to create a modern version
of this to give guests a unique experience with truly african
feel. The house was designed on the computer by Dave and Elna
and Dave drew 3D models of the house and created nealry everything
as a 3D model to get a real feel of what the finished product
would look like.
This was much fun and a
totally new experience for us being able to design a place from
scratch. We designed everything in the house and gave it extra
special touches such as the Pine tree up the stairwell and lights
in the walls illuminating the ceiling instead of ceiling lights.
Even the interior and initial colours were designed on the computer.
Little did we know at the
time what a stressful experience this whole building process
will be! They say moving house is one of the most stressful
experiences.. try building a house whilst you live in it!
We moved down from Johannesburg
in March 2002. Up until then the foundations had been started
and building process was well under way.
We rented accommodation
until the back apartments were finished and then moved in. Living
on site had it's advantages and disadvantages. It was good to
be on site to oversee the building of the house but it was very
stressful living on site with all of the sand and workmen everywhere.
The only privacy we had was when the builders left the site
at the end of the day and the sun went down.
As well as overseeing the
building process we also worked hard on design ideas for the
furniture. Elna is very creative with things like this and she
made clothing racks to go in the rooms.
There were a few hazards along
the way as you can imagine!
The design of the building
made the whole process much more difficult as no one on the
project had built a round house and this was a very unique shape
and design. It was actually very easy to line up the internal
walls as everything was referenced to the center point of the
The pillars were then positioned
exactly in place using steel moulds and one by one the moulds
were filled with concrete after careful aligning and positioning.
The deck was next. The
deck boards had to be hacked to pieces due to the shape and
the main headache was the shape of the Balconies. Due to the
width restrictions of the plot the balconies had to be wrapped
around the building starting from the sides and then tapering
back in again on the other side of the building. This shape
was very specific and the curve of the balconies had to be drawn
from 6 different reference points.
The balcony shape was shaped
using Asbestos board which was soaked and then curved into shape
along the profile.
Then the steelwork was laid
as well as the electrical conduits and plumbing.
The decks were all poured
by hand with manpower rather than machinery. This is the way
things are mostly done in small towns in South Africa. We hired
around 20 workers and they mixed and threw the concrete for
the decks. We went on into the night and finally finished at
We then had to wait a couple
of weeks for the concrete to be strong enough to build on and
then progressed from there. The second deck was the same as
the first so this was quick and easy as we just had to repeat
the ground floor process.
Then it was on to the interesting
stuff, the bar and entertainment area! This was definitely the
highlight of the building process as we could really appreciate
the stunning views from the deck and the bar area.
One of the changes we made
towards the end of the building process was to extend the staircase
to the top of the building and build a 'crows nest' at the top.
This provided us with unbeatable views over Gansbaai and walker
bay. The thatch guys then arrived
and began their work weaving the roof together. It was amazing
to watch them working at such height without any fear.
The all that was left was
the painting, decorating and most importantly the lighting plus
many weeks of finishing the house to our high standards before
opening. We made all of our cupboards, curtains and put a real
personal touch on every room in the Guesthouse. It was a very
painful and exhausting experience but now we have forgotten
about the pain and just have selected fond memories about this
In 2007-08 we decided to renovate the guesthouse
and add all of those expensive classy touches that we could
not afford when building. We slowly worked through each room
and after a year have ended up with a very special place. The
rooms and Guesthouse is now designed with a stunning contrast
of rough earthy walls and stone clad walls. The bedrooms are
soft and warm with a thick carpet and living rooms in most rooms
have stylish wooden flooring.