Restoration – Koos Ellis se Huis

The restoration of this historic building was approved by Heritage Western Cape on 11 June 2014!

The restoration plans of the historic building & the new outbuilding plans were approved by the Laingsburg Municipality on 24 June 2014.

This is one of five historic buildings older than 60 years on the Witteberg Private Nature Reserve property – the so-called “Koos Ellis se Huis”.

Once restored, this historic building will serve as a residence (as per the recommendation in the Heritage Impact Assessment Report that continued maintenance and reuse is desirable) and thus conserving the history of the farm Elandskloof and the surrounding Witteberg area. 

It is an interesting vernacular flat roofed building built from a variety of materials ranging from stone and mud mortar and 20th century cement blocks.  The core of this building may well date to the 19th century, however it has developed organically over the years.  The presence of steel framed windows (common to all buildings) suggests that all the buildings on the farm were subject to a period of modernisation in the early to mid 20th century.  However, it is quite possible that the original windows were simple casements of wooden shutters (as with the school building). 

Although this house is one of the larger structures, it shares consistency of style with others on the farm.  In common are the traditional hearths, flat corrugated iron roofs, low parapet and mini-gables. 

The Ellis family graveyard is not far from the dwelling house.

Close to the house is a large stone kraal, as well as eroded foundations of at least one mud brick building.

Significance:  This, like the other buildings mentioned, is a conservation-worthy building that is typical of local style.  Along with others on the property, it enjoys group value.  It is linked with a particular family with an associated graveyard, kraal and ruins close by.

Impact of development:  High positive, provided that the building is not over-restored.  Its continued maintenance and reuse is desirable.

Conservation guidelines

  • Conserve mud plaster where possible, make good plasterwork. Consider using local sand to retain texture.
  • Tidy up joinery, but don’t replace it unless absolutely necessary.
  • Repair roof with corrugated iron.
  • In terms of interior comfort, addition of some form of ceiling (traditional reed or matchwood pine) would insulate the interior and greatly enhance comfort levels.
  • Even out any possible dangerous areas in the cement floor, but try to retain its slightly uneven homemade quality.
  • Modernisation of kitchen interior is acceptable, but avoid changing any window/door openings which will change the appearance of the exterior.  Also, retention of traditional hearths (preferably in working order) will enhance the “visitor experience” of the place.
  • Re-apply white wash, but suggest retain characteristic exterior colour scheme.
  • Installation of electricity is acceptable.  However, candles and paraffin lamps contribute greatly to the sense of remoteness.

Historic Building Restoration Plan

New work plan

New work plan

Historic Building Restoration Elevations

New work elevations

New work elevations

New Outbuilding Plan

New outbuilding plan

New outbuilding plan

New Outbuilding Elevations

New outbuilding elevations

New outbuilding elevations

Historic "Koos Ellis se Huis" - SOLD - with an undivided share in the 4364 hectare nature reserve

Historic “Koos Ellis se Huis” – SOLD – with an undivided share in the 4364 hectare nature reserve

Approval of restoration of "Koos Ellis se Huis" by Heritage Western Cape

Approval of restoration of “Koos Ellis se Huis” by Heritage Western Cape

The plans approved by the Laingsburg Municipality can be downloaded here:

Building Plans Approved by the Laingsburg Municipality on 2014-06-24

(Page last updated 2014-06-24)