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About John Smith

JonnoJonno, as know by his friends and clients, is an experienced designer/Architect with an emphasis on being Eco-Friendly and with the utilization of natural building materials he provides unique results. Currently living the KZN Midlands with his wife Joan he designs country homes and houses.

He specializes in resort development, housing complexes, factories, commercial buildings, alterations and additions.

Having spent 30 years in the urban confines of Durban, and at one time owning one of the busiest architectural practices in Durban, he scaled down and made the move to the countryside.  Having produced approximately 4700 modern and run-of-the-mill homes for the urbanites, John hankered after returning to designing ‘earthy homes.

John found his break when a friend in EKZN Wildlife introduced him to developers wanting to start a lodge and tourism development, and as the saying goes, ― the rest is history.

John has been a freelance contributor to Farmers Weekly since 2000 where he produces a sketch every week under the banner of ‘Hillbilly Homes’.  Calls come in from readers all over Africa, Europe, Asia and America and sketches of the client’s specific needs are faxed or emailed to them.

Having gone through all the style-of-the-time phases: ― Railways houses, ― to Mediterranean type homes, (Spanish, Sardinian and Moorish), to stylish, modern, and finally to Tuscan and pseudo – Tuscan adaptations John believes architectural preferences have come full circle, especially in the countryside.  At his studio ‘Farm-style’ homes, are the order of the day, and he has never been happier producing them.  John, hand produces every conceptual sketch and working drawing.  They reflect an artistry that very few computers can emulate.

“Of the over 3500 homes designed, I’ve not repeated a single one  Everyone’s living space is quite unique, and I appreciate that.”

When one is spending the monies today that it costs for all those special fixtures and fittings, it’s worth spending that little extra on that little extra square meterage of floor area. Remember that the superstructure of any house is not what costs, ― it’s the fixtures, fittings and finishes (the 3 f’s).  Rural home builders have the added advantage of using on-site materials for the bulk superstructure  ― saving 10% on an average 130m² house at R3000 p.m² (average moderate finishes), is not to be scoffed at.

Just a note about the Sketches

This is to inform you, the prospective homeowner/project developer of the absolute importance of having a plan in hand, when embarking on your building project.  With that plan, you can obtain competitive costs on both materials and labour costs, and instruct your builder how to proceed.

I have prepared plans for folk all over Africa and further abroad. As such, in 90% of the cases, plans are not submitted to local authority for formal approval in terms of building by-laws of health and safety regulations. This is a sad state of affairs, as unaccounted for building mishaps will present over time.  Not only those latent defects, but critical errors in functional design aspects.

When one is embarking on a building project that is going to serve all the functional aspects of a home or commercial enterprise; this requires the input of an architecturally imbued person that has both the conceptual and technical expertise to produce the end product.

With the production of over 4500 projects to date by myself; and the personal overseeing and project management of some 100 or more of them, that technical expertise, is what you the developer must employ.  I have witnessed many building disasters over my years in the architectural field. When you are spending anything from half a million to one million rand on a normal home, at current costs, you do need that ‘plan in hand’.

I urge you, the home builder/project developer to utilize the expertise of a professional in the architectural field.  I am such a person, and as mentioned that I prepare plans for folk all over Africa especially; I do have to keep my costs very low, so as to get the work.  My costs are kept at about 1/5th of what I should be charging as a professional architect, with to date 46 years in the profession.

Please give me a call on 036 352 3178 or email me at to get further clarification.

Thanks in anticipation


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