I can see clearly now!

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Our house at Vastrap has undergone a transformation over the past two years. In April last year we finished a major renovation of our kitchen, living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. We replaced all the steel windows with wooden double glazed windows and totally reorganised the way we live. I cannot tell you what a difference it has made! It has taken another year to complete the final touches. One of our biggest areas of indecision was what to do about security. Before we made the changes, every window in the house was covered with steel framed burglar bars that made it look and feel like a jail. I hated them so much that I avoided taking photos of the house, something which I now regret because I can’t show good before and after shots!

Kitchen burglar bars "before".

Kitchen burglar bars “before”.

A pile of steel relegated to the backyard.

Pile of steel bars relegated to the backyard for recycling.

However, we could not get away from the reality that we need some form of security. Living out of town it is not an option to put up beams linked to armed response and one cannot help but feel vulnerable when you are home alone. We searched and searched an avoided the topic until one day we discovered an agent in Bloemfontein for transparent burglar bars, known as ClearBars. Quentin was initially sceptical but Hendrik, the agent for the Free State and Nothern Cape, came to our house to demonstrate how strong they are and convinced us they would do the job. They are made from “polycarbonate and ISO 9001 approved for military VIP protection, aircraft windows, Formula 1 cars, and other applications where safety and security are paramount.  The material has a tensile breaking strength of 3000 kg’s and is virtually indestructible!” Apparently we are the first people in the Free State outside of Bloemfontein to have them installed.

Unclear photos of ClearBars!

Unclear photos of ClearBars!

One obstacle was the roller fly screens we installed before the summer. They sit flush against the window and roll up away from sight when not needed. Hendrik had to figure out a way to install the bars behind the fly screens. I cannot praise his service enough. He and his assistant Via spent two solid days at the house removing the fly screens, installing the ClearBars, and cutting and installing new wooden frames onto which they mounted the fly screens. It really looks great and we can feel secure without feeling like we’re in jail. I am particularly happy that the views from my kitchen windows have not been ruined.

Kitchen windows.

View from the kitchen up to the veggie garden.

View from kitchen onto courtyard.

View from kitchen onto courtyard.

View onto the driveway.

View onto the driveway.

Fly screen detail.

Fly screen detail.

Bedroom views.

Bedroom views.

One area that remains unresolved is our enclosed veranda at the front of the house. It’s a beautifully warm room on winter’s days when the sun streams in. We did not change the bars here because we plan to eventually replace the steel windows with sliding or folding wooden windows and doors. I think I can live with this view for a while knowing that the rest of the house is sorted!

Remaining bars on the front veranda.

Remaining bars on the front veranda.

16 thoughts on “I can see clearly now!

  1. These clear bars are the future hey. I guess safety is always what’s keeping me from moving to the farm. I would like to think that I am not paranoid, just very scared. Statistics do not lie.

    These clear bars are a must have.

    Keep Well.

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    • Thanks Boledi. We have lived for a year with nothing and everything has been fine. One just doesn’t want to be complacent and make it easy for people to break in when we’re not here. I actually feel very safe.

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  2. What a difference your new clear bars make. One of the things I love about the internet is how it opens my eyes to things that seem so alien to us, yet so normal to you. On the farm, everything is locked in barns behind steel doors, otherwise it would simply disappear overnight but in the house we just have normal (lockable) doors and windows.

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    • Hi Anne, yes security is an issue on farms in SA, but I must say we’re generally not too paranoid and live much more freely compared to many in the city without alarms going off all the time. One just has to take a few precautions and be sensible. Hope you have a great day!

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  3. You have had such great vision for the farmhouse and grounds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it all looking more beautiful than now. Wonderful effort. Well done!

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  4. Hi Marisa Somehow found your blog when looking up Nature’s Valley pictures. And have been following your lovely photos, and ideas. My dream was to be a farmer’s wife (but married a computer boffin for love, and I am a teacher).

    You have a beautiful place on the farm. But was so intrigued to see these burglar bars & had to email you. 🙂

    We are looking for something like that for our house in Nature’s Valley – currently have none there, but need to fight the rising insurance costs and keep out those dratted baboons. (Have had more than one run-in with some scary, hairy ones!)

    Thank you for such a fun blog to read. Perhaps see you on the beach in the Valley one day 🙂

    Love from the Western Cape, Lara

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    Vastrap Farm wrote: Marisa posted: “Our house at Vastrap has undergone a transformation over the past two years. In April last year we finished a major renovation of our kitchen, living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. We replaced all the steel windows with wooden double glazed windows and to”

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    • Hi Lara, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. These bars are perfect for a beach house! You should definitely see if there’s an agent in the area. My grandparents own the yellow triangle
      house on st george’s ave in nature’s valley so that’s were you’ll find us when we are lucky enough to visit! Most people call it the cheese house, I’m sure you know the one I mean! Are you in forest drive with the baboons?

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  5. Marisa – the difference is phenomenal. They will sell gazillions on the basis of your photos alone. And when that lovely sunny room gets the same treatment (with the doors & windows) it will be equally brilliant. J with much affection

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  6. Hi Marissa can you please contact me very urgently about your photograph
    “maize 0686.jpg”
    Is there copyright on that photo and may we use it for a backdrop at a security lighting exhibition?

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  7. I can’t believe the difference Maris- the house is looking beautiful!
    I so love reading our posts my friend- I feel so at peace after reading each one, very therapeutic, I feel like I am almost on the farm myself! Lots of love xxx

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    • Thanks so much for reading Fee! Can you believe it’s almost three years since you visited. How much has changed since then! Hope all is well with you and gorgeous little Josie. xx

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