There are those special places that we occasionally come across, that remove all sturdy pillars holding up our walls of controlled, sensible living, and whisk us away with an insurgence of playfulness that’s itching to come out. A childlike yearning to resort to a carefree, frivolous view of the world around us, and indeed ourselves. A place that’s instantly timeless, classically tasteful, imaginary and whimsical. Yet cosy and nostalgic too. When we do stumble across these special places, we are reminded of the better life. The clocks stop, the worries dissipate and the merrymaking mischief begins.
Such a place exists in the Stellenbosch wine valley, rooted into the rich rural soil between the Groot Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, emerging from the woods and a garden of wonderland, in a tranquil and scenic setting known as Johannesdal. Down a rugged farm lane, past the oaks, the London plane and poplar trees, you arrive at a very special place that quickly introduces itself as an escapist’s utopia. Otherwise known as a contemporary farmhouse – oozing charm and creativity – this hideaway instantaneously captivates your inner child and harnesses its inspiration. The relatively modern façade – deceptive as it may be – is covered in creeping foliage, with gutters that gush running rain water down its gullies, into a reservoir, passed the long swimming pool, along its visionary water features, and into a lilly pond. Manicured lawns meet fruit-baring olive and lemon trees that meet plum, peach and apricot orchards that meet rows of roses, hydrangeas, honeysuckles, Pivits and Plumagos. A greenhouse full of orchids and ferns, a vegetable garden and a woodland are perfect foraging grounds for flowers and botanicals. It’s one of the most glorious gardens you’ll ever be lucky enough to explore. It’s no wonder then, that the owners of this hideaway are the creative brains and green fingers behind Okasie – a fabulous floristry in Stellenbosch.
Their finesse flows through the interiors too, where every piece of furniture, every ornament – whether crafted by their own hands or sourced from some second hand market – has been curated with intention, and speaks to you with sincerity. Exposed whitewashed brick and rough screed cement, pine timber, rich velvets, luxury linens, porcelain, Persian rugs, French cabinetry, and more foliage all seduce you into that tangible inspiration once again. Four ensuite bedrooms – one with an outdoor bathroom, for practising nature’s way – are perfectly secluded from the main entertaining space of the home. Where a typical farm-style kitchen opens out to the living spaces, that lead out onto the front verandah, that unravels onto the lawn, looking up to those magnificent mountains, that are ever-changing with the light from the sun.
The vastness of the skies, the smells from the earth, the light bouncing off the water and onto the treasure trove of collectables that lay all around, lulls you into a placid state of gratitude. We’re thankful for the people that we get to share this very special place with, and for the person we’ve been reminded on being. A least for now.
What we love!
- It has to be said the views of the mountain ranges are breathtaking. As the sun sets behind the Simonsberg mountains, at the back of the property, the colours of the Groot Drakenstein at the front, transform.
- The fountain that runs all year round thanks to the abundance of water flowing off the roof, and into its catchment reservoirs.
- Every room has a fascinating tale to tell, without it appearing overcrowded or misplaced. The charm of the farmhouse is endlessly endearing.
- Well, absolutely everything.
What you need to know…
- The farm is a fully-functioning flower farm.
- There are walking, hiking and mountain biking trails adjacent the neighbouring farm, should you wish to venture beyond the gardens. About a 10-minute stroll you’ll find some beautifully scenic footpaths and bike trails.
- The owners of the property – Chris and Dane – both master florists and gardeners, are happy for you to forage the gardens with them on a morning picking spree, should you wish to learn more about the horticulture. They live in the gorgeous cottage on the property, so you’ll be likely to have many-a-happy moments with these creative geniuses.
- There is a state-of-the-art contemporary venues building – fit for every kind of function – on the farm. So should you be considering a celebration at the same time, then have a look at their other amazing space.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie