The much-loved, five-bedroom Morukuru Farm House in the Madikwe Game Reserve has undergone an extensive refurbishment. Janine Butter from Huis van Middenmeer in the Netherlands was the visionary and designer behind the transformation. She has been involved in the décor and design of Morukuru Ocean House, AtholPlace Villa, Morukuru Beach Lodge and now Morukuru Farm House.
Butter was assisted on the ground by Jan Engelbrecht of Andreas Nicolaas Interiors. Alongside the new-look Farm House, a new spa building and viewing deck was created, overlooking its very own waterhole. This was conceptualised by architect Nick Plewman, who has been the architect behind most of the properties within the Morukuru Family stable.
The inspiration for the interiors and colour palette came from the beautiful surroundings of the South African bushveld. The “dusty green” from the shepherd trees, the terracotta from the red sand and termite mounds as well as all the natural colours from the various landscapes within Madikwe. This inspiration can be seen in the fabrics and wallpapers selected throughout. “We wanted to create a more modern look but still incorporating the rustic feel of the bush, with the interior and exterior of Farm House blending naturally,” says Butter.
The Farm House structure was kept the same since its major build in 2010. The space was stripped, repainted and decorated from scratch. Entirely new furniture, wallpaper, curtains and accessories were added, so the look and styling are completely new but still keeping the charm of the old building. “The décor has a slightly European feel to the traditional bush lodge interior, which is a totally different feel from what is the current norm,” says Engelbrecht. Exceptional quality imported fabrics were used with organic furniture by Gommaire. The use of wallpapers in the different areas keeps the areas fresh and interesting and the spaces accessorised with local South African finds.
The huge beaded hanging lamp in the entrance, created by Mash.T Studio, is just beautiful and a talking point. It captures your attention the moment you walk through the doors. As you move past the lamp, your eye is drawn to the significant and striking 230 x 180 artwork by Teboho Makoatsa, which was commissioned especially for the space.
The bar area combines all the colours of the bush together in the 100% woven raffia wallpaper on the bar counter, which is further enhanced with a luxurious wool fabric on the bar stools. The inside of the cabinet behind the bar is covered with a copper mosaic wallpaper. A great combination, very unique and the perfect backdrop for post-game drive drinks or an evening nightcap.
“In every interior we design, we love to combine fabrics, wallpapers, furniture and decoration with locally sourced items and art. For this project we really wanted to use some of the Ardmore fabrics and wallpapers and used them in every suite toilet, each with a different pattern and colour combination. We also used their outdoor fabric for the cushions on the loungers by the pool,” adds Butter.
The new spa and viewing deck at Morukuru Farm House was conceptualised by owners Ed and Anka Zeeman who had the vision to position the building to look over the Western vegetation toward the Onverwag Koppies to capitalise on the most beautiful sunsets. Architect Nick Plewman was able to take this vision along with contractors Bull & Sons and make it a reality. This space lends itself to relaxing me-time or deck dinners, joyful sundowners, and peaceful massages in the spa treatment room.
The beat of African drums welcomes guests entering from the curated walkway passing through two large wooden antique doors, down to the fire pit overlooking the waterhole. “We wanted to ensure this magical space remained serene and calm and that the view became the focal point,” adds Butter. Natural tones, some terracotta and only natural materials have been used. All the walls of the spa building have been cladded with little boulders sourced from the surrounding bush. The entire space will be multipurpose: a place to be pampered, enjoy a meal or just to unwind, relax and enjoy the beauty of Madikwe.
“We are thrilled with the outcome of this project. Morukuru Farm House is a much-loved property with our guests because of its location and the ability to host multigenerational families. We have always wanted a waterhole incorporated into the game-viewing experience at Farm House and are delighted how well this has worked being integrated into the design. It really is a very special space. We have loved the seamless process of working with Janine Butter, Jan Engelbrecht, Nick Plewman and their teams. We look forward to welcoming guests from far and wide to enjoy our beautiful new Farm House,” say the Zeemans.