Tell us about your family …
They really are my everything. My husband (Rudi) is my number one and my most favourite person! He was my first big love and I admire him tremendously. If I look at my children, I feel truly honored and privileged to have the task to educate them and watch them develop and grow. They are so perfect in every way and I try to take in each moment (big or small) with them. My boy, Ruan (3.5 years) is a real joker and very close to my heart. My little girl, Karmi (14 months) is my “happy go lucky child” and my second chance at parenting. I guess every parent sometimes feel that you did so much wrong with your firstborn and that your second or further children are your chance to redeem yourself. 😉
Your house is extraordinary – tell us more about the process of building a house like this?
Thank you very much! Every morning when I walk down the stairs from our bedroom to the kitchen, I first remind myself; “You are very lucky, it does not get better than this…” The process of designing and building your own house is a dream that comes alive bit by bit. First in your mind (where at this stage you think how on earth are we going to do this), then on paper, on computer screens and finally to the point where you start the building process. Although your patience and pockets get tested all the time, it is still one of the most humbling experiences of our lives. And off course the setting (farm living) of the house just makes it picture perfect.
What is your favourite design style?
It is very difficult to describe it in one word, but let’s use the Afrikaans word “EMMERS”: Earthy, modern, minimalistic, environmentally friendly and rustic with splashes of colour and texture. Sjoe – that is a bucketful!
We just love the minimalist decor and open space – what is the secret to achieving this look?
Rudi and I laughed so much when we read this question! That is easy. Your money has all gone into the actual building so no funds for decorating. Haha! No, to be honest, I don’t like clutter and unnecessary things or furniture. When we moved in last year December we decided that we are going to live in the house and first see where, what is needed. Since the photo shoot with Lizelle we actually made 2 furniture purchases and inherited a lovely daybed from my parents.
What inspired the look for your house?
We saw a movie once and we loved the look and design of that specific house. We also have these picturesque views from our house and it just called out; “big windows, double volume”! Now we can savor every moment from inside the house as well. Come rain or sunshine.
Which spot in your house is your favourite and why?
The kitchen for sure! This is where everything happens in the house and I just love the flow and look of it. With kids you feel you are in the kitchen all day! And luckily the house is open plan, so from there I can keep an eye on everyone. My mom always said a mother should have eyes behind her head. At least from my kitchen, I just need a good side-view!
Any tips for people trying to achieve the same interior look?
Try not to overdo it and don’t be hasty. I believe a house “speaks” to you. Live in it for a while. The interior look will come to you in due course.
Your children are so lucky to grow up on a farm – how did motherhood change your point of view?
Before children you only think in terms of having a career and being successful. With children THEY are all you think about. Your reason shifts. You are not doing any of this for YOU anymore, but for them. But, I must say, whilst we are doing it, we are enjoying the ride! We know we are very fortunate to live and work in this peaceful setting and we try to also raise our kids with that in mind. We love the fact that our kids grow up around us. They keep us young at heart and teach us not to take life so seriously.
How would your kids describe you and their dad?
I really never thought about this. I have no idea what they would say about me. Maybe “Mommy enforces rules and also gives lots of hugs and kisses”. Rudi is an easy one; fun-loving, playful and intelligent.
You are the co-owner of the amazing Kol Kol Lodge – what inspired building these wonderful cabins?
Rudi’s parents lived and worked in Canada for 10 years. He visited them on two separate occasions and this is where he saw this building style. He bought a manual – something like “Log building for dummies” and already decided in 2003, whilst studying at the University of Stellenbosch, that this should be the plan for their family farm in Botrivier. A hand build lodge of some sort with an earthy style.
We also met each other there and Rudi even drew up plans for the first cabin in our fourth year of studies! During our first holiday together we decided that a Business plan is required for funding. Sounds very boring I know, but for us it was more about having fun than doing work. I think we realized our passion.
We know that Kol Kol lodge is very eco-friendly – how do you mix eco-friendliness and design to achieve that perfect balance?
I think the key is to remember that you don’t HAVE to stick to only one design style. The main and most important point was that the cabins should blend into their environment. You can build log (pine trees) and -stone cabins and have peach pip floors, but still have soft furnishings and modern touches on the inside. We also had to take into account that each cabin is a guest house and that comfort and luxury was of high priority. We always try to keep the décor in accordance with nature.
We are crazy about the wood-fired tub – tell us more!
Another brainchild of my very innovative husband! The first cabin (The KolKol cabin) was built with a plunge pool, but off course it was a “white elephant” during winter time so Rudi searched the net for an eco-friendly solution to heat the water so that our guests can also enjoy the pool during the colder months. From there he designed and manufactured the wood-fired stove and later also the “tub” part. It was a clear winner amongst our guests and it was apparent that no cabin at KolKol will ever be built without it! It is as easy as set it down, start a fire in the stove and the water will heat from 18-38 degrees Celsius in about 1.5 hours. And the best part – no Eskom to worry about!
Favourite local designer: My husband 🙂
Favourite online store: Mr Price Home. Their products are always so trendy and if you feel after a year or two you need a change, you don’t have to feel bad to pack or give it away as it is so reasonably priced.
Favourite overseas destination: New York (we have only been there once and only for two days, but we would definitely love to go again!)
Favourite local product: Oh Lief Natural products for sure.