Of feet, fairies and a fantastic house

Magoebaskloof has a mystical charm about it and it has attracted free-spirited and eccentric people for 100 years who value the nature of their surroundings.

Colleen Ballenden

Colleen Ballenden

One of these is Colleen Ballenden, whose family has lived on their property in idyllic surroundings for a century.  When Robin McIntosh of Intersect Architects and Bramasole Guest House discovered my interest in architecture, he told me I must visit her because she is, for him, the most interesting person in the area.

She practices Foot Relaxation Therapy and Foot Reading from a house that just speaks “peace and relaxation” — the perfect place for this.

She and her ex-husband started building the house in 1974, starting with two rooms which grew when electricity arrived and as they pursued new interests.  It’s built around a gem of a courtyard, which she says was influenced by a year she spent in Greece.

The main living area looks out, through a mishmash of windows, onto stunning views.  The wood-burning stove is still used every day and also heats water.

The main living area looks out, through a mishmash of windows, onto stunning views. The wood-burning stove is still used every day and also heats water.

Everyone asks how that clay roof has managed to stay there. This is the "reading room".  If someone waits for Colleen while she is busy with someone, they wait here - drawing, reading or generally just chilling out.

Everyone asks how that clay roof has managed to stay there. This is the "reading room". If someone waits for Colleen while she is busy with someone, they wait here - drawing, reading or generally just chilling out.

Therapy room

Therapy room

The bed in the therapy room is unusual — it has a view.

The ground outside slopes at window cill height, perfect to gaze out upon while lying back.

Don’t be suprised to see small inquisitive buck grazing outside.

It's the artifacts, views and details that make the house so appealling.

It's the artifacts, views and details that make the house so appealling.

The Growth Centre is a short walk away.  It started life as Footprints Pre-primary School in 1977 — Colleen trained as a teacher but couldn’t get a job at the local school, so she started her own.  Today it’s a place for a different kind of learning — a place where children and adults come closer to nature.  It’s a reading room, with plenty of outdoor places to sit quietly.

A place for personal growth

A place for personal growth

There are guided walks in the indigenous forests — fairy walks for children while adults gain an appreciation of nature.  It’s a magical place!

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