Restoring historic homes are always interesting projects to work on, and something we really relish at JNA Group

Before the pandemic started, we were contracted by Wynand Wilsenach Architects to work on the historic De Mond barns in Hermanus, South Africa.

De Mond in the early days

Built in the early 19th century, De Mond was one of the first buildings in the region – what was then known as Mosselrivier, has since become a sprawling seaside town, attracting visitors from all over the world and being recognised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one of the 12 best whale-watching destinations in the world.

It is therefore no wonder that De Mond became a holiday home for prominent Cape Town farmer, Hendrik Cloete as well as Michael du Toit who purchased the property in 1913.

Roof beams for the thatch roof restoration – photo: Wynand Wilsenach Architects

In the 1950s, De Mond underwent the first round of major renovations, making it more modern than it had been before. The Hamilton-Russell family, well known in the region for their world-renowned wine production, added more modern features like a double garage and a guest apartment above it.

Years later, they made further improvements to the property, adding more accommodation and linking the two barns, creating the perfect seaside retreat where Tim Hamilton-Russell would finally retire in 1991.

Preparing for tiling in the main bedroom en-suite bathroom – photo: Wynand Wilsenach Architects

With extensive knowledge of restoring historic homes, JNA Projects was the obvious choice of building contractors to assist with the latest and most extensive renovations at De Mond. This time around, the challenge was to create a truly modern home that’s comfortable to live in, while preserving the historical aesthetics of De Mond.

Photo: Johann Jordaan

JNA Projects assisted with the refurbishing of the interior and exterior, adding a modern touch to this incredible home and ensuring that its history will continue for many generations to come. We worked alongside Johan Cornelius, a heritage expert, who ensured that the new restorations do justice to the original design of the buildings.

As experts in the restoration of thatched roofs on historic buildings, as they did at Kleinplasie, JNA Thatchers were brought in to complete all thatching work. We added further contrast to the historic and modern nature of this project by using the unique closed construction method, creating a fire-safe, dust and draught-free roof.

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