Lastingham Farm, near Lidgetton, was discovered about eight years ago by the son of the owners who were looking to build a weekend escape. They subsequently created a dream hideaway for their extended family on this 5.1ha of farm in the heart of the beautiful Midlands, between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg. It suited them perfectly as it was easy drive from Durban on a Friday afternoon.
Being in the steel business, industrial steel and glass was a natural starting point for the building medium, and architect Joy Brasler was commissioned to design the six-bedroom, 660m2 home. Joy has known the family for years and they have always loved her style. They worked together on a ‘Long House’ concept to suit the needs of the growing family of three married children and their partners, plus grandchildren. Everyone needed privacy so a smart solution was to have two bedrooms inside, two ‘satellite’ bedrooms rooms outside for privacy, and two children’s rooms. Over the years, many happy memories were made here as children came with loads of friends. Equally, the boma and fire pit has become a great gathering point, with the wooden doors beyond opening into a games room with a snooker table and dart board. ‘It was originally intended to be a wine cellar, but this has been far more fun,’ say the owners. The use of natural wood and brick around the boma offset the dramatic black steel cladding on the walls, and landscaping did the rest.
The open-plan design of the living areas has worked superbly for the family who love to cook and bake together. There is no doubt that the kitchen is the heart of this home, as it’s in the middle of the living space – the more formal living room and the outdoor living area. When all the stack-back doors are opened, it’s wonderfully cool in summer and has sweeping views of rolling countryside. The calm and welcoming interiors were done together with Taryn Flanagan Interiors from Hillcrest. To keep it authentic, some of the artworks and cushions found by Taryn come from neighbouring farms such as Ardmore. Wall ceramics were commissioned from nearby Hilton artist, Sarah Kelly, and the two Queen Anne chairs were upholstered in a local textile with a pheasant and artichoke pattern, in keeping with the watercolour (also by Sarah) above the fireplace. Comfy sofas were locally made, the dining room table crafted by a local carpenter, dining chairs sourced from La Grange, and striking Morgan & Associates farm-style pendants in beaten copper hang in the kitchen. The steel structure was softened by layered textiles, delicate coloured glass and eclectic heritage pieces such as the old farm bench and antique milk cans.
The farm is independent too, with its own prolific borehole and solar geysers. Herbs and veggies grow in abundance and expansive lawns have been loved by dogs and children who thrived on idyllic farm life over weekends and holidays. And although this isn’t a working farm, even the practical mud room has a low sink with floor drainage to bath dogs and clean boots before stepping into the house – ideal for rainy days. Golf bags are stored here along with neat rows of wellies, organised farm style. There is also staff accommodation for convenience, plus plenty of storage space in outbuildings.
Today, everyone enjoys outdoor life here to the full: cycling, fishing, jogging and many rounds of golf at Gowrie Farm Golf Course. Lidgetton is also on the well-known Midlands Meander, a route that has attracted artists and artisanal crafters to the area for many years, so there’s always an abundance of restaurants, craft breweries and interesting studios to visit in this active rural community.
Written by Micelle Snaddon
Images: Lar Rattray
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