Franschhoek has long been revered as the suave cosmopolis of the Cape wine regions. With its exhilarating scenery, bountiful world class vineyards and restaurants, and joie de vivre village life, it furnishes every visitor’s expectations seamlessly, and satiates every resident’s soul daily.
It’s no wonder, then, that the esteemed founders of the leading furniture and homeware retailer in South Africa – Weylandts – chose this hamlet as their home. After an impromptu afternoon of gallivanting around the original homestead of Maison, surveying the land that nestles itself at the foot of the Franschhoek mountains, the owners – without even leaving the vehicle for fear of being mauled by a ferocious resident hound – purchased the property and set their hearts on restoring the late 18th Century barn and its stables, to the contemporary architectural masterpiece it is now.
As you amble down an avenue of soaring poplar trees, passing the olive groves, the watsonias, wild garlic and agapanthus, and enter the front door of the farmhouse, it’s palpable what cunning artistry, savvy expertise, love and wisdom has gone into the restoration of Maison. It is a product of the owners’ manifestation of all that they have sought out to achieve in life, and all that they have indeed accomplished. A candid curation of their company’s own signature furniture pieces sit alongside artworks from Jacqueline Crewe Browne, Lionel Smit, Dylan Lewis, Wilma Cruise, Johann Moolman and Strijdom Van der Merwe. Special, sentimental antique collections that have been discovered during their travels around the world blend in with the neutral, natural theme that prevails. Vast, open living spaces seep out into the gardens, under the wisteria pergola and giant old oaks, over the iris and into the vineyards. An endless flow of what’s outside seeps back in through the big sliding doors that disappear into cavity walls, allowing the views to permeate every room. The ongoing sentiment of contemporary luxury marrying old charm is evident in all of the five large bedrooms, the open-plan kitchens, the living and dining areas – where state-of-the art fireplaces crackle over Indonesian teak floors, that lie beneath the original blue gum beams.
It’s a place that gives full consent to those yearning a Babylonian escape at their very own wine estate. The beds and their linens say it’s ok to allow the early morning sun to stream through the shutters as you lie there an extra hour. The swimming pools implore you to wade about in their cool waters whilst the sun sets behind the mountains. The dining table encourages you to continue those hearty conversations and add to the wine stains and drippings of candle wax. The resident owls will let you know when it’s time to blow the candles out. The gardens guide you through the vines, the naartjie orchards, down a little pathway and all the way to Chefs Warehouse – the award-winning restaurant by chef Liam Tomlin – that’s on the farm. This is Franschhoek after all – and as much as it is about the wine, it is as much about the food and the finer things in life.
What we love!
- The property is directly within the wine area of Franschhoek, neighbouring La Motte, and a stone’s throw from Grande Provence and Bread and Wine, and only a 5-minute drive into the village.
- The spectacular views of the mountain ranges surrounding the property – especially at sunset with the light transforming Simonsberg into a dusty pink.
- The occasional visit from the rare and beautiful blue cranes that skulk around the gardens.
- Taking long baths in the mammoth bathtub of the master suite. There is also a private pool just outside for stargazing at night, with a bottle of the good stuff.
- The never-ending view from the master suite’s wing that overlooks the vineyards and mountains.
- Absolutely everything, in fact.
What you need to know…
- It’s not only about food and wine it’s also about art, cars, culture, history and health. The Drakenstein Correctional Centre, marked by a bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, is where the former president walked out a free a man after spending 27 years behind bars. The Franschhoek motor museum on the L’Ormarins Estate is a backseat journey through a billionaire’s garage.
- The notoriously voguish village of Franschhoek is overflowing with fabulous eateries – not only Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse at Maison – La Petite Colombe, Bread & Wine, Foliage and Le Coin Français. There is also an abundance of less fussy, more laid-back restaurants on several reputable wine estates and within the village itself.
- Maison regrets no children under the age of 12 years (unless by prior arrangement).
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie