Move In And Improve!
Home South Africa|November/December 2020
A family of keen DIYers made the most of the Covid-19 lockdown to create a sociable entertainment area in their back garden.
Marie Opperman

WHO LIVES HERE? Carroll and Philip Smith with their son Ruben (16)

WHERE Vanderbijlpark

SIZE 48m²

About four years ago, Carroll Smith and her husband Philip drove around an old suburb in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng in search of a run-down house. “We’re avid renovators,” says Carroll. “We’d just put the finishing touches on our previous home, where we replaced everything but the roof over a period of 13 years. It was time for a new project.

“We’d also bought a few dilapidated houses on auction and renovated them to rent out,” she adds. “Philip, an electrical technician, isn’t afraid to tackle anything and I’ve always got plenty of renovation ideas. We make a great team – we usually build something that not only looks good but is also practical.”

While on their recce trip back then, a house with an interesting gate and front wall caught their eye. They couldn’t see much from the yard but after checking out Google Earth they were impressed with its privacy and orientation. One day, when passing by again, the gate was standing open slightly and Carroll took the opportunity to find out more.

“The open gate was a sign because the house was soon to be put on auction. We made an offer and the sale went through just a week before the auction was to be held.” Carroll recalls how dumbfounded their friends were: “We were exchanging our neat home for a neglected house that needed loads of work!”

A beautiful braai area

Their first task was to make the house liveable. Then they gave the swimming pool modern, straight lines and at the same time cordoned off a smaller section to create a heated plunge pool. Adjacent to the pool, down two steps, was where the new braai area would be located.

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