I have always wanted to build a Colonial house and want to start on that next year. About two years ago I thought that it would be nice to build a typical South African Colonial house of the eighteenth century and when I stumbled across two very rare out of print books on the subject, one on the architecture and one on the locally made furniture of the time, I decided that I must have these books, well, I finally found copies in a good condition and ever since they arrived on Friday, I have done nothing but, dream, plan and scheme. During the Eighteenth century South Africa was very much under the rule of the Dutch and they had a big influence on the architecture and furniture of the time and the style is aptly called Cape Dutch, only the Cape province excited in those years, most of the others came in the next hundred years. Our family's first ancestor on my father's side Hendrik Oostwald Eksteen came to the Cape of Good Hope in 1702 as a twenty four old from Germany, he had three wives in succession, the first two died young and the third survived him for about 40 years, he had 18 children, many of them died young and at the time he was one of the richest men in the Cape, alas, none of that fortune has filtered through to me, although he was German, most of my blood line is Dutch. My middle brother loves family history and traced us all the way back.
Well, on to the houses, the townhouses was based very much on the ones you find in Amsterdam, but oh the country houses are just so different and magnificent, due to no lack of space, they generally only had a ground floor with a loft that was used for storage. To replicate this in miniature is going to need lots of space and building only a few of the rooms.
I am basing the general outlay of my house on this one, Stellenberg, a house that is in one of the suburbs of Cape Town and I think still privately owned.
The front of the house.
The back, showing the courtyard. You can see nicer photos of the house here and here.
The beautiful entrance hall.
The floor plan of the house from my book.
And my floor plan, with most of the back of the house gone, I need to fit this house on a table I have, as it is it is going to be huge, I had to reduce the rooms as it is a bit in size, but I didn't want to lose too much, as I don't want to lose the sense of space and grandeur. I might compromise and put a bedroom in the loft, I still have a lot of reading to do and it is quite possible that they did use the loft space as well, lots of the houses were build in a H shape with only six big rooms.
I will use other elements from other houses too, like this gorgeous gable from Morgenster.
The scale drawing of the gable in my book.
And I love the front door of yet another house Rust en Vreugde, my Dutch friends will understand all the names well.
Here are two more links to enjoy on Cape Dutch Houses, first up Groot Constantia and a variety of houses on this blog. Many of these houses are either museums or part of wine estates and so easily accessible to the public, only problem, I live 1600km's away, hopefully I will be able to visit there sometime next year.
In my next post I will show you some of the furniture from the other book.
Have a great week