Gorgeous Green House

The Renovation Journey of a 1940’s ‘Traditional’ to 2015 ‘Contemporary, Green & Gorgeous’


Caitlin, Peter, Jane and Greg: Wild Coast, South Africa

This blog is About our Green Journey.

However, our story is not just about putting some green technology into an old house but the overall process of developing a gentler and kinder way of living on the planet.


Jane, Greg, Peter and Caitlin are passionate about the environment and deeply concerned about the health of all living systems.

We are endeavouring to live with consciousness and as gently as possible, with our carbon footprint in mind. We extend our energy into our community, getting involved in projects and organisations that share our intentions.

We are blessed to have the resources to be even greener closer to home, and our most recent project has been to create an urban space to live in that utilizes as much green technology as possible e.g. solar,  and water harvesting.  We are excited to be growing organic food, utilizing permaculture techniques, beekeeping and indigenous gardening. We are aiming to develop an environment that is wildlife friendly, beautiful and peaceful to live, work and play in.

Our Mission is to provide inspiration, information and motivation to others to follow suit.  We wish to de-bunk myths such as ‘green is ugly, green is for tree huggers, green is too expensive/complicated/ irrelevant.

This blog covers everything from solar power, to beekeeping, vertical and roof gardens, permaculture, indigenous gardens to natural swimming pools and much more.  It will endeavour to be practical as well as inspirational.

We look forward to sharing our journey with you and have faith that with all our collective energies we can contribute to reversing ourselves and our planet from this dreadful ‘tipping point’ we have found ourselves at.

The posts are also intended to be a ‘How To Guide’ so if you are interested in such topics as vertical gardens, roof gardens, green building materials etc.,  typing key words into the search bar will get you to relevant information quickly.

When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.  ~David Orr

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.  ~Albert Einstein, 1950

54 thoughts on “About

  1. This is very inspiring. I am pursuing a March in Sustainable Energy Efficient Cities and I must say, this has added to my determination. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Hi Jane,

    Please can ypu advice on where you obtained pond plant species as well as Tilapia.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Suvarna
      Some nurseries have a collection of indigenous aquatics but you best bet is to scrounge from friends like I did. We all have to do a major thin out from time to time so you will be doing them a favour. I got my fish from a friend as well. Good luck!

  3. Hi Jane and Greg

    Saw your home featured on Top Billing last night. WOW. My husband and I have been trying to build our own natural pool for some time now, but could only find vague details about how to build the reed pool. Do you have any tips on what gravel, clay, whatever to use here?

    Many thanks for your help here.

    Kind regards

  4. Good morning, what a great find this blog is and also the programme on the renovation via Top Billing. We are looking to renovate and are in debate on an eco pool vs the traditional pool.
    Cost is what I am looking at and although I understand the green environment am nervous about swimming in the pool with tadpoles frogs and the likes.

    What has been your experience and do you get this in the swimming area at all?

    Your advice and response appreciated.


    • Hi Shawn. Thanks for visiting!
      We absolutely love swimming with our fish and tadpoles. The fish will nibble you if you are completely still!!
      However, if you are not keen on sharing, just put your filter beds at a bit of a distance. You don’t have to integrate like we did. Just your linking pipes underground. You can re-locate the undesirable swimmers if they somehow get into your swimming section.
      Regarding cost: bear in mind that your filter beds are very shallow so you are not building twice the size pool. And down the line you’ll be saving a fortune on chemicals. GO for for it! the swimming experience is fantastic because of the quality of the water. Soft and fresh. Completely different from traditional pools. You will also be delighted and amazed and the birds and other creatures that are drawn to your property.

  5. Hi Jane. Well done on all you have done at your home. I have known about Pula water for some time and ear-marked them to put Flo-tanks into our house as their product looked so good. Now that we are ready, I have tried numerous times to get hold of them. Do you know if they are still in business? They do not respond to voice or email messages.

  6. Hi Jane, Greg, Caitlyn and peter,
    Your journey has been most interesting and rewarding I am sure. Your home as always looks wonderful. Makes me think of “Science club” days! Congratulations and much happiness to you all.
    Much love
    Doreen & Rhett

    • Oh wow Doreen. I had forgotten about all those experiments! You are so right, this has also just been one long experiment. Thank goodness it worked out – not like all the others when the kids were small!

  7. Hi Jane I heard your story at the Earthbeat function at La Lucia today so I had to go online and check out your blog for myself pretty impressive, keep up the good work although I can clearly see that it is more fun to you than work but good to know that more and more people in South Africa ARE concerned about our planet.
    I market a functional health beverage I am sure you saw our table and would love to send you more information all natural and very healthy regards Jennifer. rassooljennifer@yahoo.com please mail me so I can send you info.

  8. Hi Jane, Awesome to see the green consciousness finally coming to Durban. We are a Durban based green building company and have slowly managed to get our green building principles going. But sadly, most of our work is done in Cape Town. Our SandBag Building concept recently won the construction award at the Big 5 show in Dubai – which just proves its viability. Our wire frame building system is starting to get some approval from the Durban people – with a significant project about to take off in the midlands. Our various building systems are incorporated with other energy and water saving technologies to create exactly what you have created. No doubt your project will inspire other Durbanites to look at these alternatives with more interest. LOL. Would love to pop when you have a showhouse of sorts. Congrats on seeing your vision through. Andy

    • Thanks Andy. Your work is known to me! Hopefully the momentum for green building is (pun intended) building. The Botanical Society will be organizing groups of tours in June. Watch the press for details.

  9. Hi
    Which company did you use for your solar panel installation?

  10. Hi. We’d like to get in touch to discuss an article we doing in The City magazine. Could you share contact details via email to us at thecity@fabmags.co.za. Thanks!

  11. Hi Jane, we would like to discuss adding your green project to a TV show that we are currently filming for, please could you contact me on werner@yourearthsolutions.co.za?

  12. You and your blog have been nominated for Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

  13. The Westville Garden club members would love to visit your exciting project. We always meet on the 2nd Wednesday morning of every month. I am looking for a venue for August 13th and need to notify our members before the end of July. Please contact me as soon as possible.

  14. HI I would like to feature your house as the next cover story for Green Home magazine. Please contact me on melissa@lifeinbalance.co.za

    • Hi Melissa. Sounds great. Look forward to chatting on mail.

      • Thanks for your reply – we do need to connect and I can only leave a comment on the site – don’t seem to have an email address?

        I need copy and images by the 10th July so time is a little short – are you able to provide the information and pics?

        Do hope so as we are counting on your home for the cover J

        Please respond soonest.



        Melissa Baird

        Editorial Director

        Mobile: + 27 72 104 7536



        P please consider the environment – do you really need to print this email

  15. Hi, I’m writing an article on Urban Greening and rooftop gardening for a global mag and would love to get in touch. Please send me your details on marianne@i4gl.org if you’re interested and willing to get involved. Marianne

  16. Love the whole concept. We see examples in a few places here in Austria. I am concerned by the lack of netting over the growing fabric. Will you not experience problems with birds pulling out the wadding for their nests? I had problems with nesting birds in UK destroying the linings of my hanging baskets.

    • Hi Anne. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. What a fascinating question. I have not yet notices birds pinching the wadding but I certainly do have many birds in the garden (especially weavers) who would like it very much. I am going to ask James Halle if he has any experiences in this regard with any of his other installations.

  17. Hey….love what you are doing. Question, are the induction geysers very noisey??

  18. Great plans. Thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading more of your journey.

  19. Thanks for dropping off your A4 flyer in my postbox. Have read your blog with great interest. We are looking at building ourselves our dream home, so your blog will certainly help.
    As you can see I am an enthusiastic indigenous gardener (still got lots to learn but try hard) worm farming, compost heaps etc.
    I am a local building contractor as well so will be learning a few new tricks. – would love to pop past to have a look at the project and chat to yourselves.

  20. Hi Jane,

    great blog! I would like to get in touch with you to exchange experiences in applying for embedded generation in KZN?

    Kind regards

  21. Hi Jane & Greg – a wonderful project which im going to watch with more than a passing interest. Regards Guy Hamlin

  22. Read your previous page, is very interesting. Looks like you are getting a lot of followers 😉

  23. Well done creating this very interesting blog – look forward to following the gorgeous green house.

  24. Yes it is going so well. Also looking forward to the new house development. Will watch this space 🙂

  25. Hi Jane & Greg. I look foward to following the progress with the new house – hope the red tape ends soon and the building can begin….

  26. Thanks for sending me this. You are doing an amazing thing here! I hope it is followed by many. It is so wonderful to have people like you who care so much about everything in our beautiful universe. Not sure besides this reply if I need to do something to become a “follower”. Look forward to watching your progress, the Eco House should be a great challenge which I am sure you will enjoy , and do very well:-) Thanks for including me on your exciting journey

  27. Thanks for the invite. We look forward to your progress…what a great adventure.
    Our solar heating great boon here and envy of many. All estates – which do more than enough damage any way – should be required to have them! Fantastic soil here, growing our own veg in our tiny garden and have devolped great indigeous garden in next door public space…included some ‘Aloe chabaudia’ grown from seeds collected at Crawford! Love grey colouring in summer and pink in winter – magic!

  28. Great idea, and I’m looking forward to following your journey, especially the new Eco-house.

  29. Fantastic! Look forward to following your journey……

  30. Hi

    the blog is a great idea. Wish you a great ‘ green journey’!


  31. As a member of the inner circle of 4 I like this and am extremely grateful to be an integral part of this process. Greg

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