A whimsical Greyton cottage

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Antonie Robertson
The picturesque town of Greyton sets the perfect scene for a retired couple’s intriguing Faraway Cottage.

Situated smack-bang in the middle of the charming town of Greyton, nestled in the enchanting Overberg, Peta and Ian Levin’s whimsical cottage is a beacon for locals and tourists alike. In fact, visitors to the town regularly mistake their characterful home for a guesthouse or shop and a bemused Peta often finds eager ‘customers’ on her porch, or even inside, taking a peek at what lies within this beautifully renovated home. Some cheeky friends have even jokingly suggested that she put prices on her furniture and see if it sells!

The typical Victorian cottage is believed to have been a coaching inn and the Levins made sure that they in no way compromised the integrity of its heritage during the renovations. Their vision was to create a comfortable home they can enjoy well into their golden years. Peta, a radiographer, and Ian, a radiologist, bought the cottage in 2008, while still living in Constantia, Cape Town and relocated two years later, when renovations were complete – and their love affair with their new home soon took root. This is perfectly reflected in their now flourishing garden; Peta confesses that it was this space, together with the quaint gateposts and wrought iron gate, that stole her heart from the outset.

The couple share a love of cottage-style trinkets; their warm, inviting home is testimony to a life full of wonderful experiences and their ensemble of cherished items creates an inspiring space where past and present live in perfect harmony. Peta particularly loves travelling to France and Great Britain where she browses local markets in search of treasures that find a new home in their captivating cottage.

The cycle of life

The couple’s renovations were mostly practical, including creating space for utility items such as a washing machine and dryer, as well as a storage room. Most of the materials used were repurposed or salvaged from demolished homes. The gum poles from the cottage’s original pergola support vines growing over the pool and the lion head fountain was moved from a corner elsewhere on the property to where it now proudly serves as a focal point. 

All the internal doors were reused after the walls were broken down to reorganise the space, the original front door was moved to their loft bathroom and a new front door was fitted. The original door featured a deadlock bolt similar to one at the Genadendal Museum – the curator believes it was made by the missionaries of Genadendal. Peta sourced old Oregon pine floorboards from a demolished home in the Karoo to maintain the traditional look when floor extensions were needed – and the great advantage of reclaimed wood from the Karoo is that it’s dry!

The kitchen was extended through to the original bathroom; the old bath used to stand where the scullery is now. Ian, a keen fly fisherman, caught the rainbow trout above the mantlepiece in the Drakensberg.

The fireplace is modelled on a design Peta saw in one of her many French books. Originally an open fireplace, the niche was fitted with a wood burner stove to retain more heat in Greyton’s harsh winters. Formerly the dining table in the Levin's Constantia home, this oversized table now takes pride of place in the entrance room as a display and work table.

The kitchen is homely and inviting, with a textural variety that warms and personalises it, while the old laboratory sink offers a novel perspective.

All the bedrooms offer fabulous views of the garden.

The main bedroom in the loft offers plenty of room.

Peta's decorating tips
  • Make time to decorate.
  • Look for visual inspiration and allow the creative process to guide you; images in magazines might spark a new idea. Enjoy it!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment – get out of your comfort zone.

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April 2023

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