Gorgeous Green House

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


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House and Leisure, Sunday Times and Top Billing

This months House and Leisure feature the Gorgeous Green House in its ‘Sustainability Supplement’.  You’ll need to flip to the end to find us on p.162.  Glynis Horning has described our journey well.  Pity the photos that were selected don’t link in a cohesive way to the copy.  Not sure what sustainability/green message there is in our bed image and where is the eco pool, veggie garden, bee hive….?  (sigh, Sally took so many amazing photos).  However, the vertical and roof garden do look spectacular and hopefully that will draw people in.  (Scroll to end for image of vertical garden).
Sunday Times

This Sunday the Sunday Times are doing an ‘Eco’ feature. It will be interesting to so how they present our home and lifestyle.

Lastly, for followers outside of South Africa and those of you who may have missed the Top Billing TV coverage, here are the first 7 minutes of the show:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/t4iThlXZVzs“>http://

House and Leisure image


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Top Billing Visits the Gorgeous Green House

The Gorgeous Green House  will be making her TV debut this Thursday 16 July via the very glamorous No.1 South African magazine programme Top Billing. ( 07:30 p.m. on SABC 3). For those outside of SA there will be a shorter segment on You Tube – will advise when I know.

This 3 day process was absolutely fascinating. At times it was nerve wracking, and at times tedious (“take 43”!).  It was also overwhelming and humbling as I know how the intro goes:

Good evening and a very warm welcome to Top Billing. Tonight we come to you from the Gorgeous Green house in Durban, the culmination of one couple’s desire to ‘live more gently on the planet’. It’s quite fitting as this Saturday is Mandela Day, a day to remember that everyone can help to make the world a better place.

This was how we experienced the overall process:

Day 1:  Lorna interviews Jane, Caitlin (daughter), Chen (architect) and James (vertical garden designer) about the house

Jane extolling the virtues of the eco kitchen

Jane extolling the virtues of the eco kitchen

Interviewd In the lounge: "no we didn't get in an interior designer, the garden is the decoration:.

Interviewd In the lounge: “no we didn’t get in an interior designer, the garden is the decoration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James, Jane and Lorna explaining how the vertical garden works

James, Jane and Lorna explaining how the vertical garden works

Walking, talking and shooting, eeks!

Walking, talking and shooting, eeks!

Day 2:  Lorna arrives in elegant evening gown, make-up artist in tow, to do all the ‘links’ that appear between the different segments of the show

Sparkling Lorna Maseko

Sparkling Lorna Maseko

Lorna next to the pool

Lorna next to the pool

Lorna verandaLorna bedroomDay 3: The director and team return with a drone to take aerial images!

Thanks Top Billing for this wonderful opportunity to get our “living green’ message out to such a wide and diverse audience.

Awesome team: Adrian (director).Lucky (Technician),Mfundo (Camera)

Awesome team: Lucky (Technician),Mfundo (Camera), Adrian (Director)

Setting up the drone

Setting up the drone

Away it goes!

Away it goes!


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Gorgeous Green House Covered by Papers Nationally

daily_news

It has been a fantastic week of media exposure for the Gorgeous Green House. Lindsay Ord has written up our story and shows how living green can be much more accessible than many people realize.  If you missed the article in your local paper you can see the online IOL version HERE.

Star 125cape-argus

 

 


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Indigenous Gardener Magazine Showcases Vertical Garden

The Indigenous Garden Magazine  inspires, informs and advises not only on indigenous gardening but the larger eco-systems they contribute too. Not only gardeners enjoy this publication as there is much to offer all people who have an interest in the natural world.

The Gorgeous Green House has been thrilled to share aspects of our gardening journey and the latest article features our vertical garden.  Enjoy and sign up, its free and fabulous!

http://issuu.com/theindigenousgardener/docs/december_2014/1

 Indigenous GArdener cover page


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Gorgeous Green House Complete!!

Party House!

Perfect Party House!

This post is somewhat later than it should be but I have the best excuse!  We’ve been sharing this beautiful space with our overseas family (10 in all) for 6 weeks and have been incredibly busy chilling, having lots of fun and feasts and just joyfully hanging out.

A good test for a home is a lot of visitors for a protracted amount of time and I am thrilled to report that the GGH works beautifully. The kitchen and open space living area flows brilliantly and dozens of meals were seamlessly put together without bodies bumping into each other.

Thanks to our super efficient solar system we were blissfully unaware that Eskom (SA’s only power utility) gifted South Africans with numerous power outages during this time. We remained switched on, connected and cooking!

The natural swimming pool coped with the daily invasion of overheated, sunscreen coated humans and the fish, shrimp crabs, plants and birds seem no worse for wear for sharing ‘their’ space with us.

The large covered veranda is perfect for our African climate.  It coped with many for several big celebrations (including Christmas Day) and all meals were enjoyed al fresco. This has been our first chance to soak up the beautiful garden within which, to date, we’ve enjoyed whilst hard at labour rather than relaxation!

The veggie garden, although not properly planted as yet, provided an abundance of deliciousness and a foretelling of how are food lives will be in ‘normal’ mode.

In celebration of the finishing of the house I thought it would be fun to document the journey with ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘now’ images.  At the beginning of this journey I wrote on my ‘About’ page that part of OUR MISSION was to provide:

inspiration, information and motivation to others to follow suit.  We wish to de-bunk myths such as ‘green is ugly’…….

I also shared in one of my early posts:

Several years ago when I started talking about my dream of building a ‘green house’ a friend said “oh I saw one of those … a kind of hobbit house…really ugly”.  So the first misconception to clear up is that green design has nothing to do with the aesthetics of the house!  Whatever your taste (hobbit-like or otherwise) one can incorporate green design principles.  Essentially it means building in harmony with the natural environment and cooperating instead of fighting with the regional climate. 

Now we are at the end of the project (at least the building part) I do so hope that these images represent a realization of that early goal.  I look forward to your feedback.

Front View 'Before'

Front View ‘Before’

Front View During

Front View ‘During’

Front View 'Now'

Front View ‘Now’

Back View LHS 'Before'

Back View LHS ‘Before’

Back View LHS During

Back View LHS During

Back View LHS 'Now'

Back View LHS ‘Now’

 

Entertainment/barbecue Area 'Before'

Entertainment/barbecue Area ‘Before’

Entertainment/barbecue Area 'Now"

Entertainment/barbecue Area ‘Now”

Pool 'Before'

Pool ‘Before’

At the commence of the build the pool became a pond.

At the commence of the build the pool became a pond.

Reshaping The Pool Area

Reshaping The Pool Area

Constructing the Reed Beds to Filter the Pool

Constructing the Reed Beds to Filter the Pool

Finished result. A beautiful green and healthy place for us to play and relax for years to come.  Click HERE for more details.

Finished result. A beautiful green and healthy place for us to play and relax for years to come. Click HERE for more details.

Old Garage Wall

Old Garage Wall

Old Garage Wall Becomes Backdrop for Vertical Garden

Old Garage Wall Becomes Backdrop for Vertical Garden.  Click HERE for more information.

Mid Way Through Planting Process

Mid Way Through Planting Process

Planting Just Completed

Planting Just Completed

DSC02460

Old Garage Wall Today!

 

 

Old Roof Above Kitchen and Lounge

Old Roof Above Kitchen and Lounge

Flat roof replaces old pitched roof providing foundation for roof garden which is off the master bedroom.

Flat roof replaces old pitched roof providing foundation for roof garden which is off the master bedroom.

Layers of Geotextile (white) then Flow Cell mats.

Layers of Geotextile (white) then Flow Cell mats.

Early stages of planting

Early Stages of Planting

Roof Garden 'Now'

Roof Garden ‘Now’. Click HERE for more information

 

Outside Dinning Area Before

Outside Dinning Area ‘Before’

Outside Dinning Area 'Now'

Outside Dinning Area ‘Now’

Old Outbuilding with Lemon Tree foreground

Old Outbuilding with Lemon Tree foreground

New Veggie Garden with Lemon Tree Still Pride of Place

New Veggie Garden with Lemon Tree Still Pride of Place

 

 

Back View 'Before'

Back View ‘Before’

Back View 'Now'

Back View ‘Now’

Original Store Room and Washing Line Area

Original Store Room and Washing Line Area

Storeroom now a Granny Flat and Washline Screened off with Recycled Plastic Fence

Storeroom now a Granny Flat and Washline Screened off with Recycled Plastic Fence

Area Outside Kitchen 'Before'

Area Outside Kitchen ‘Before’

Outside Kitchen Area 'now'

Outside Kitchen Area ‘now’


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Gorgeous Green House Featured in Green Home Magazine

Cover Green home magWe are thrilled that our green message is being picked up by other publications.  Thank you Green Home Magazine for sharing our story.  They have shared an electronic version.  Click here  and go to p.12 to see what a wonderful job they have done!

Green home mag p.12


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Architects Come to Visit: photo competition

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

We recently hosted a group of enthusiastic architects from Sagnelli Associate Architects.  They were challenged by Chen Sagnelli to take photos of any elements of the project they were inspired by. These they then presented to the team.

Ian Rall was the winner and its easy to see why. His images are beautiful and arty and the Gorgeous Green House looks incredible.  There were lots of lovely pics so I’ve included a cross section of some of the others.  It was really fun having them and hopefully they will be inspired to discuss with their clients the opportunities in going green without compromising on aesthetics in any way. Enjoy!

IMG_2296 (Copy)

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

Ian Rall

 

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Dhiagan Chetty

Dhiagan Chetty

IMG_1892 (Copy)

Dhiagan Chetty

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

Chen Sagnelli

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

image (9) (Copy)

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson

Chantal Robertson


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Daily News Covers The Gorgeous Green House

daily_news

Today the Daily News published the third article on the most Gorgeous Green House on the planet!

Click HERE to read the on line version.

Thank you Lindsay Ord and Marilyn Bernard for getting this information to a wider audience. Fingers crossed it will inspire and motivate others to look at some greening options in their own home.


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Vertical Garden: an exceptionally glorious green moment

Patrick Blank Vertical Garden

The first time I stumbled  upon an image of a Patrick Blank vertical garden I was transfixed.  The beauty of his work is indisputable  and the idea of clothing the hard surfaces of buildings with vegetation quite mesmerizing.  I had already walked the path of research on roof gardens so knew that there would also be insulation benefits, but to be really honest at that moment I just wanted one! I had an inkling that there would probably be quite a lot of science in the process of a successful VG and began looking into it. I learned very quickly from viewing a hotel in Johannesburg that maintenance could be quite a big deal as they had many sections in re-hab mode even though the garden had been installed a few years prior. Once you get a few metres above ground level logistics have to be considered.

green wall vertical garden thailand.jpg

Pula Water Pot System

The Patrick Blank process is basically hydropics with irrigation behind the greenery. I became nervous of my ability to re-create this aesthetic in our hot tropical Durban climate  and then discovered the pot/container method which is a viable alternative.  Here you are planting in soil so essentially you are gardening a large volume of pot plants (that are also carefully irrigated) and a very pleasing result is achieved. My research took me to Pula Water whose system of this kind is no doubt the best in SA and probably globally.  A major advantage is that an almost immediate ‘full’ planted result can be achieved.  I was just about to commit!

James Halle Green Wall

James Halle Green Wall

I then arrived to work on the Botanical Society stand at the Home & Garden show and to my amazement saw that our center piece was a magnificent mini Patrick Blank, designed and developed by our own James Halle:  james@halle.co.za . Over the next few weeks of volunteering at the Indigenous Plant Fair James and I spent a fair amount of time together and combined with further research of my own this is what I learned:

  • Plant selection is the most important factor in determining the success and long time health of your wall.  Patrick Blank has walls that are over 30 yrs old and the reason they thrive is because he chooses plants that grow on rock faces with little soil.  Naturally you locally indigenous (native species) are best.
  • One must study very carefully the aspect of your wall in terms of the micro climate it exists in. The amount of  sun it gets in winter and summer further informs ones plant selection.
  • A great vertical garden is a science and an art.  I strongly advise you consult a plant expert who firstly understands the species that will grow best (science) and then knows how to put them together to create something beautiful that has the potential to get richer and stronger over time.  James Halle is a special talent in this regard.  He talks about ‘plant communities’ that will work together, weaving into a gorgeous tapestry where no species dominates and crowds out the others.  He thinks about the vertical plain in the multi layers it will become over time, ensuring that some gaps are left for mosses and smaller treasures to take a foot hold.  James ensures textures are contrasted and flowering seasons considered so colour will always be present.  I truly cannot over exaggerate how valuable his expertise has been.  On reflection, I know (on my own) I would have started off with a pretty design that would have eventually amalgamated in mash of reduced diversity.
  • If you are an instant gratification person this technology (images to follow) is not for you.  Small plants are inserted into the fabric as they have the greatest likelihood of ‘taking’ which means a lot of the background material is visible in the first few months. However, the rewards long term are greater than the pot bound system (I believe) as the wall can become an interwoven living system that grows from strength to strength.

So here is my (early stage) extraordinary and beautiful green wall of art (thank you James):

A PVC board id attached to a stainless steel frame

A PVC board id attached to a stainless steel frame

James's specially developed hydrophilic fabric (2 years in R & D!)

James’s specially developed hydrophilic fabric (2 years in R & D!).  Two layers are installed with irrigation between.

Planting begins.  Each small plant is provided a nest of coconut husk, nutrient and a few secret ingredients to give it a fantastic start

Planting begins. Each small plant is provided a nest of coconut husk, nutrient and a few secret ingredients to give it a fantastic start

Planting to plan, note the chalk marks on the fabric

Planting to plan, note the chalk marks on the fabric

James graciously gives my space to participate.  Emotional - I'm still pinching myself that this incredible thing is installed on my house!

James graciously gives my space to participate. Emotional – I’m still pinching myself that this incredible thing is installed on my house!

All done!  Use your imagination to see where it will be in a few months

All done! Use your imagination to see where it will be in a few months.  Note the trough below. When the pond is complete (a few meters away) it will be stocked with Tilapia fish whose waste will provide the nutrition for the plants.  (Watch this space!) Note also the bar near the top.  I am having a custom ladder made with hooks to secure me in place for easy maintenance in the years to come.

Note the diversity of form and colour

Note the diversity of form and colour

Another angle!

Another angle!

Streptocarpus sp.

Streptocarpus sp.

 

Begonia homonyma

Begonia homonyma

Begonia sutherlandii

Impatiens hochstetteri

Impatiens hochstetteri