About Us


This site is the brainchild – or perhaps more fittingly, the labour-of-love-child – of well known South African husband and wife team, Janek Szymanowski and Penny Swift.

We have been writing about, photographing, and illustrating aspects of home building and decorating, DIY and some more serious construction work for more years than we can remember. It wasn’t something we consciously chose to do, although more than three decades ago we did launch a giveaway magazine-type product that was building and home orientated. It was a good idea, but way before its time, and far too good in terms of quality. It contained too much unpaid editorial and was printed on superbly thick glossy paper. We lost our socks on the venture, so to speak.

But that didn’t stop us. Perhaps stupidly, we stuck to building topics and have subsequently written, illustrated and sometimes produced so many DIY, How-to, Construction, Decorating, and Building titles we have to cross reference our individual CVs to make sure we don’t forget any. Sure we got a bit of fame, we paid some bills, put food on the table, tried to educate our three children the best way we could, fed our animals (too many of them) … but for those who think this is a good way to get rich, forget it. Fame and fortune are not always table-mates or play-mates – or any type of mates.

At the same time, we dabbled with renovations and building projects. Some worked and some didn’t. We made a bit of money and lost quite a lot of money; but the university-of-life taught us an incredible amount along the way.

Once thing we learnt is that whatever you do in life, you need to follow good guidelines and do things the “right” way. When it comes to construction, good guidelines are the key. This is why both International and National Building Regulations and official standards are so important.

We are believers, because if you don’t do it right, you’re going to lose money. We know!