As the company that pioneered the design and construction of timber houses in our country, Rustic Homes is firmly established as the leading player. Timber home building is not new to South Africa although in recent history it was limited to a few unimaginative options. This all changed with the advent of Rustic Homes.
“In an industry which never quite achieved a consumer breakthrough, it was the style of Rustic Homes that in the late ’80s finally captured the imagination of the South African market.” So said John Mortimer, former SALMA Executive Director and Dean of the Faculty of Forestry, Stellenbosch.
The inspiration behind the establishment of Rustic Homes came from an historical connection. Pieter Silberbauer, co-founder of the company with Clive Joseph, spent many of his school holidays at his great-grandmother’s beautiful timber home, ‘Redlands’ built in 1864, and at his grandparents’ home, ‘Rheenendal’.
Each homestead is located on either side of the Homtini Pass in the spectacular hinterland of Knysna. Pieter’s grandfather, Pieter van Reenen, ran the long established, family-owned sawmill, P.J. van Reenen Pty Ltd.
Pieter Silberbauer was fascinated by the wealth of timber structures in the area and how the ‘Redlands’ homestead captivated the imagination of all who visited it. Pieter wondered why the ‘modern day’ timber homes of the ’60s and ’70s lacked the charm of these beautiful structures from a bygone era.
After attaining a BSc in Wood Science and, after completing a two year stint in Australia, where timber construction is the norm, Pieter returned to South Africa with the firm commitment to change things.