This past week took me on a journey to the Cape Winelands where I stayed in a stone cabin in Tulbagh for 4 days. While I went there in part to find myself, I also found that the simple, nature inspired means of building is in fact very beautiful, but also very, very clever.
Use what you have around you – this is how our ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years and perhaps we should take a page from that age old book and incorporate this into our own lives, especially if it looks this beautiful?
The cabin I stayed in was, as mentioned, made of stone. This type of stone is clearly indigenous to this area as the ground is saturated with it. It would in fact be very easy to gather up enough of the correct size to accommodate a small cabin like this of 30 square meters or so.
The next thing that caught my eye was the natural, raw wooden trusses used for the pitched, open ceiling. They are finished in a clear varnish, which I think shows off the rustic nature quite nicely. The poles appear to be made from the either pine or blue gum (the latter I think is more likely). The retreat is running an alien tree removal program, which making using these flora species all the better for building materials – bonus!
The last little feature, I thought quite the splash of luxury – excuse the pun. The little 2 x 1 m splash pool is built into the patio and works by a simple “fill when needed, empty when not needed principle”. At the time when I though about it, I thought, “Gosh, that doesn’t seem all that eco-friendly, now does it?” But when I thought about it some more, I realised that if you are using it a few times a year with your own source of water (either borehole or a spring), you can simply and inexpensively use a small pool like this to cool down instead of an air-conditioner, right? I think so…
*Images are of cabins at Blue Butterfly Retreat in Tulbagh*