The Nelsbells Cottage named after our mother Nelia, nicknamed ‘Nelly Bells’ is our project of love. The house was built by her in 2004. Desperate to own a place of her own, with the help of 10 brick layers, ‘winging’ it financially but guided by her passion and determination she made her dream a reality. Unfortunately, she fell ill in 2005 and passed away in 2006, leaving the house to us.
My sister and I unable to bring ourselves to visit, avoided the house for 2 years whilst renting it out as a laundromat. In 2008 we started the big clean up in preparation for long term tenants with the help of wonderful friends giving their blood and sweat in exchange for food, music and company. Their support is greatly valued to this day.
In 2011 we completed the wrap around balcony and veranda, inspired by Victorian balconies in the Cape, replaced the steel blue window frames with wood and gave the house a fresh coat of paint moving away from being the orange house to a more neutral colour.
After our mother passed away we packed all her belongings, oiled and wrapped in bubble wrap, into a storage facility to remain there until we knew what to do with it, toying with the idea of converting to a self-catering holiday home. Ironically a tornado hit in 2012 and flattened the storeroom forcing us to pull off that band aid sooner. Most items you see in the house today is the remains of furniture which survived the tornado and were restored by us.
During December 2014 we moved everything back and within a month opened The Nelsbells Cottage’ doors to friends, family and guests. Exactly how she would’ve wanted it, a space for people to come together, listen to the drumbeat of Africa, breathe the fresh air, and just be.
January 2016, we installed the second bathroom upstairs with shower and toilet which was a huge improvement.
In 2017 we tiled the bottom floor and decided that it was time for a splash of colour, and that’s when we started to represent a landmark *blue house*. This jewel of a house stands as a monument to the memory of her. The proud exterior is a shrine devoted to portraying and reflect some of the beauty of her soul and what she meant to us.
January 2019 we upgraded the Garden Flat. The room which was once allocated to the more adventurous is now referred to as the "favorite" room. We are delighted by the positive feedback received from our guests.
We are not done here yet, but what we have learned through this journey so far is patience, perseverance, holding on to your dreams and especially that time heals. We are grateful and proud today for this incredible gift she left us in so much love.
We trust that you will enjoy your stay and that this treasure will find a special place in your heart the way it has crept into ours.