Morukuru Farm House gets a new look – meet designer Janine Butter

 Meet Janine Butter from Huis van Middenmeer who was the visionary behind the new look of Morukuru Farm House and the Spa.  We sat down with her to chat about the project and her vison for the new look and feel.

How many projects have you now done for Morukuru Family? I have been involved with Morukuru Ocean House, AtholPlace Villa, Morukuru Beach Lodge and now Morukuru Farm House.

What was the vision for the new look? Where did your inspiration come from?  We were inspired by the beautiful surroundings of the South African bushveld. The colour palette used throughout came from that inspiration.  The “dusty green” from the Sheppard trees, the terracotta from the red sand and termite mounds and all the natural colours from the various landscapes within Madikwe. This inspiration can be seen in the fabrics and wallpapers selected.  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 to blend naturally.

What are some of the standout spaces and décor pieces?  The huge, beaded hanging lamp in entrance of Farmhouse created by Mash.T Studio is just beautiful. It captures your attention the moment you walk through the doors.

The bar area is definitely one of my favourite spaces. We combined all the colours of the bush together in the 100% woven raffia wallpaper on the bar counter and combined it with a luxurious wool fabric on the bar seats. The inside of the cabinet behind the bar is covered with a copper mosaic wallpaper. A great combination and very unique.

The new spa building is also a standout area. The view combined with the waterhole for the animals and the complete vibe you feel there. It’s magical.

In every interior we design we love to combine our 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.  We just love them, and we are also one of their dealers in the Netherlands.  We used wallpaper in every toilet, each with a different pattern and colour combination.  We also used their outdoor fabric for the cushions on the loungers by the pool.

In the public area we wanted a big artwork, so we commissioned an incredible 230x180 cm painting by Teboho Makoatsa. 

Working on a refurbishment is different than starting a project from scratch – for this you had the best of both with the refurb of the house and then the new spa building. How did you approach the two? A refurb or starting a project from scratch isn’t that different for us. For both spaces we could nearly start with a clean slate. The building for the spa was designed by Nicholas Plewman and we designed the interiors.   For the Farm House itself, we cleaned the whole space, did some painting, and decorated it again. All new furniture, wallpaper, curtains, and accessories, so it looks completely new but with still keeping the charm of the old building. We also wanted to create little places to sit apart – but also together - and enjoy the view and sounds of the nature and animals.

We worked with a great team, and it was a great support to have Jan Engelbrecht from Andreas Nicolaas Interiors as the project manager based on the ground in South Africa whilst we were in Holland.  He also assisted with some of the specific pieces we designed such as lanterns and custom furniture that needed to be made in South Africa.

Tell us about the look for the new spa and viewing deck. For the spa our vision was to create a serene and calm space. We used mostly natural tones, some terracotta and only natural materials. All the walls of the Spa building have been cladded with little boulders from the bush. The walkway filled with custom made lanterns is magical and gives you goosebumps. You walk through big, old statement doors that open up to the deck and large firepit that overlooks the newly built waterhole for the animals to drink from and for guests to enjoy a gorgeous African sunset. It's truly magical place to enjoy a meal or just to unwind and relax and enjoy the surrounding of the bushveld.

 Anything else you would like to add? From the first time I experienced Madikwe and safari in South Africa, it has always been my wish to design a lodge in the bush. I’ve had the vision for years and every time we went on game drive, I could imagine how I wanted it to look. Now that wish has come true! We are thrilled with the overall result and can’t wait for guests from all over the world to come and enjoy this beautiful place.