About Sophie

Mom, wife, project manager, photographer, adventurer. For more of my work visit: http://sophiesmithphotography.co.za

Our little house is finished… and for sale!

Folks this is sadly the last blog we will post, but this is what you can expect: 1. The last photos we took, 2. A quick commercial break for a great local company who helped us out, 3. Me trying to convince you that you want this little house as your starter home/beach cottage/mountain escape. Remember we built the whole house so that it is possible to transport it, so you pick the spot and as long as a truck can get there, the house can get there. 4. A list of thanks yous that will make you think we just won a grammy…

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As many of you know Cam and I are off to the Eastern Cape and our little home is braving the wind and the rain in Cape Town. This is the last set of photos that I took before we left, it wasn’t quite finished but you can get the idea…

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This is the house as you walk in the front door. Everyone who has been inside has commented how spacious it feels, but the photos don’t quite do it justice.

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If we had stayed and moved in properly, this central area would have been more of a lounge with a small couch and a coffee table.

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This is my favourite spot, the breakfast nook. The seats all double up as storage space, so it’s not just pretty, it’s practical too. It was lots of hard work but I made the blinds and cushions with the help of Claire and my mom-in-law. And Cam made the beautiful table from scratch! Check out the map fabric on the blinds…

My first attempt at blinds were a flop and so I took some local inspiration for round two. This funky stall is called Swing and they are at the Hout Bay Market in Cape Town. I’ve always loved Nicole’s amazing outfits and upholstery made from map fabric, especially because Cam has a thing for maps. Nicole and Allan were so wonderful and organised some of this beautiful fabric for me at the last minute so that I could get the blinds all made up. Local really is lekker!

Some of the amazing creations at the Swing store in the Hour Bay market that inspired our decor. Thanks guys for your help!

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The kitchen looks amazing thanks to Cam’s beautiful hand made countertops. I hope these photos show how the kitchen flows into the bedroom… All it needs now is your lovely crockery on the shelves, your instagram magnets on the fridge, a pot plant or two and some photos on the wall!

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The cosy bedroom, just missing your favourite books and another friendly pot plant above the bed. As you can see, we left a panel of the container exposed here, just so it actually feels a little bit like you are sleeping in a shipping container.

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The bedroom is all about clever storage – from the cool cupboard with crate drawers (Cam loves using milk crates), to the storage under the bed for clothes, linen or general stuff. The crates need a little lick of funky coloured paint but they make the best storage.

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The bedroom with the blind closed, and a shot of the bathroom, this was before the shower door went in and the toilet got connected.


Since we left the shower door was installed – thanks for the photos Dan 🙂 No doubt taken while making use of our marvellous washing machine!

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I almost forgot the study nook, tucked between the dining room and the bathroom. We designed it with a small desk space for two and a nice big storage drawer for gear underneath the floor, but this room could really be used for anything.

So that’s it folks! Done and dusted, and ready to be your happy home. If you are interested in buying this little home, please get in touch with us on our contact page, we would love to chat further.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this crazy journey, for all your love, encouragement, weird looks, advice and visits. I’m sure I’ll leave out someone but I just have to mention a few names. Special thanks must go to Claire Brear for numerous visits, hours of practical help and just general love and encouragement. I’d like to shamelessly use this space for another commercial break – Claire has launched a fantastic website called _Bearista offering her skills as an Instagram specialist – check it out!

Thanks also to Craig, Dad (Tim), Ma (Maggie), Blake for your manual labour, and to Pasca, Cam’s Zimbabwean right hand man who he couldn’t have done without. Pasca is currently looking for work as a painter/handyman/anything really so please give us a shout if you have some work for him.

Thanks also to Candyce Hall, Claire Keet, Kimmy O’Sullivan and Steph Preyer and to my mum for encouraging me from day 1 when it seemed crazy. Also, thanks for the sewing machine Mummy – it finally came in handy. Your daughter is one step closer to being a domestic goddess!

And the biggest thanks to Dan and Tessa, our incredible brother and sister for having this building project in their garden and being so gracious all the time. We miss you guys and wish we could be neighbours.

Ok, that’s it for the Grammy acceptance speech. Thanks folks, it’s been real! But on to new adventures…



An update & an invitation to our house warming!

May Update24The beginning of May meant the beginning of our contract with our new job at Thembalitsha Foundation. We are still in the Western Cape but doing our training out of town in Grabouw and Somerset West which means that our work on the house is now limited to weekends and time is ticking on as we try our best to get the house rentable by the end of May. Of course getting the house rentable to other people is a lot more work than just getting it liveable for ourselves. Continue reading

Exciting updates and a surprising announcement

May update_122I decided not to wait quite as long as last time to give everyone an update on our house, mostly because Cam has been working like crazy and so much has changed in the last few weeks.

I thought it might be easiest to go through each section of the house and show you the progress. So here goes: Continue reading

A long overdue update: in which our house get doors, ceilings walls and more…

Firstly, apologies for the silence. We have been away a lot and life has been a little non-stop. Cam has had tons of rock climbing guiding work which is fantastic for him and his business but has made progress on the house a little slower. None the less he is doing an amazing job and the house has changed so much since you last saw it.

When we left off the last blog we had just finished insulating the containers and had cut back the excess foam. The next step was to paint the foam. We are planning on putting wooden cladding around the exterior but figured that grey would look better through the gaps in the wood then the yellow.


We painted it all grey (left) and then will continue with the cladding (right) once the interior is a little further. We also have a front door! Hooray!

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A Few Hiccups and the Spray Foam Spaceman

Insulation_9Every one we meet up with these days asks – “How’s the house going?”… and to be totally honest it’s all been a bit much. The house is finally insulated and looks like a dwelling from another planet at the moment, but it’s been a much longer and more expensive process getting to this point than we hoped. Cam has been on a number of intensive training courses for his guiding business (19 days in total!) which has slowed things down, and the insulation team upped their prices and had to push things out by a week.

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We have walls… on hinges!

There are two questions that we are getting asked all the time. “Are you connecting the two containers?” and “Are you insulating them?”. The answers are “yes” and “definitely yes!”. Here’s a little bit more about how we are going to do that and what it’s meant to look like once we’re done. To give you a bit of perspective, here is our proposed floor plan… it changes all the time but this is how it looks at the moment:Smith Container floor plan

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Window Shopping

A lot has happened in the last 10 days but there has also been a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’.

We have started an Instagram account with regular updates – if you’re on Instagram follow us: @smallerhouse_biggerlife.


Once the containers were delivered and put in place, the next step was to cut holes for doors and windows. But to do this we had to know the sizes of our doors and windows. So we went window shopping… Continue reading