Home in a brandy tank, Montagu, Western Cape

Johan Venter’s brandy tank home in Montagu, Western Cape

Old Mother Hubbard lived in a shoe but, for many South African males, the thought of living in a brandy tank is far more alluring!  But that’s what Johan Venter has achieved.

The old KWV property in in the centre of Montagu was sold to Jannie le Roux and the property, comprising the brandy tank, boiler house, wine cellar and offices, was subdivided.   The offices were converted into a house, the brandy tank into a cold room  for fresh fruit and new houses built on vacant space.

When Jannie retired and left the town, the tank stood empty but Johan Venter — an electrician who had moved to Montagu from Welkom in the Free Sate — bought the house and workshops.  The properties opposite the derelict tank were not selling and Jannie toyed with the idea of turning it into a house after options for demolition and relocation were explored.

In the end, Johan bought the tank for “a good price” in 2009 and took up the challenge of seeing Jannie’s dream come true… a home in a brandy tank.  Plans were approved by the municipality in September 2010 and Johan started work with his own labour — he owns an electrical contracting company in the town.

The tank’s previous use as a cold room was a big advantage — it had been completely lined with cold-room panels (which would have cost around R150,000).  These had sufficient load-bearing capability to carry the flooring beams for the first floor — which occupies half the floor area while the other half over the living area is double volume.  The first floor was originally planned to accommodate two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but now just has one vast bedroom and a bathroom.

Guest bedroom, living, dining and kitchen areas on ground floor with one vast bedroom above.

An entrance lobby was added to the front of the tank and a scullery area to the back, above which sits the main bathroom at first floor level.  The ground floor below the first floor was divided into a guest bedroom and bathroom, and the kitchen.  The other double volume half accommodates the living and dining areas.

An entrance lobby was added to the front. The roof over the tank was part of the original structure, to keep the brandy cool. There was also an irrigation system around the top circumference.

It was not an easy job!  Everything had to be custom made and every part of the job was a challenge.  Not the least was cutting through the 6mm steel plate for the windows and doors, and installing these.  It was labour-intensive!

But after two years of part-time work, from the deck alongside the first-floor main bedroom, the view is priceless!

View from first floor deck



2 responses to “Home in a brandy tank, Montagu, Western Cape”

  1. I had a look around it in the early stages and pleased to see it completed, well done to the Venter’s, what a great idea.

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