A few years ago, after a long time living in our big family home on just under an acre of land, I started to think about ‘going smaller’ or ‘downsizing’ as the saying goes.  It wasn’t a thought that occurred suddenly and it didn’t come about because of any one single reason.  It sort of evolved from an awareness that for just two people, we seemed to be taking up quite a large amount of space.

Home for 20 years.  Quite a lot of space.

Home for 20 years. Quite a lot of space.

With both our children living in London, we do rattle about a bit and tend to live in only half the space we have.  Also, our house, built in 1930 or earlier, is fully dependent on municipal services which, in our changing African society, are becoming less and less reliable.  I started thinking about living differently in a smaller, simpler space with some alternative options in place for water and electricity supplies.  But mostly I began to yearn for a life with less time spent on admin and material things and more on the creative.  I started looking for a bigger, smaller life.

My husband took some convincing, but eventually the more practical aspects won him over and we began, very tentatively, to keep an eye on smaller properties for sale in our general area.

Unlike many of our Johannesburg contemporaries, we were not set on living in a gated, secure estate although had we found something we liked, we may have succumbed.  But most of the gated communities have, quite naturally, been developed around the outskirts of Johannesburg and we’ve lived in an old, central and very established neighbourhood for 20 years.  The thought of moving far out north simply doesn’t hold any appeal for us yet.  We enjoy being able to walk around our suburb and we like the ‘village’ feeling that still exists in some of the older parts of Johannesburg.

This is the story of what we eventually found.