To the owners, Patina Farm reflects the meaning of home and its ability to wrap its arms around us, where we feel protected and an inner state of happiness and grace is evoked. Being surrounded by nature is their greatest joy and passion.
Certainly a sense of the history and understated elegance of this rather special home begins to permeate as soon as one enters the farm, via a long driveway lined with beautiful, huge oak trees. The homestead is over 100 years old, and set on a working plum farm completely hidden in a valley just outside Stellenbosch, the primus locus of Cape landscape with its miles of signature vines.
‘I have an unquenchable thirst for the pursuit of beauty and frankly reject pretentious in favor of honest, authentic and simple ’ says the owner, an interior designer with an acute eye and a replenishing spirit towards the environment. ‘I am unapologetic about wanting to create enduring beauty, things that are carefully considered, useful and make life comfortable, yet also speak to our emotions.’
These principles are played out to gorgeous effect; interiors created from an intoxicating mixture of objects collected on a lifelong hunt for wonders regardless of value or provenance, a layering of textured materials that are the visual equivalent of spices, aged wooden and stone floors, worn leather, wicker baskets and weathered family heirlooms. It is a deep, layered and evolved home, speaking to the senses with a reverence for life’s simple pleasures – nature, watching how the sunlight changes, reading or soaking in a big pewter tub whilst gazing into a breathtakingly beautiful garden.
The outside has a way of creeping in; lots of plants and foraged bouquets of grasses and flowers in all the rooms. A wall of trees gives a trompe l’oeil effect of a forest. It is actually a wallpaper specially commissioned from a painting by a Dutch painter Hendrik Voogt, cleverly referencing the Cape Pine trees found on the farm.
Waking up to joyous bird song and wandering onto the terrace, coffee in hand to consider the day’s plans, one is shaded from the morning sun by vine and Wisteria, both over a hundred years old. You’ll find moss underfoot, left deliberately untouched because ‘we love the coolness and the patina it adds’.
Those plans could include a range of activities – there are gentle family walks or a more strenuous climb through the orchards up a hill with exhilarating views and the possibility of collecting bounty such as porcupine quills or spotting a wild buck roaming about. Take an invigorating swim in one of three dams, one with a floating deck. There are a couple of kayaks for those who enjoy the simple pleasure of messing about in boats. Bring mountain bikes and take to the hills – the farm roads around Stellenbosch are a renowned training ground for world class mountain bikers. Or for those seeking a more restful day, find one of the many comfortable spots from which to enjoy the splendid vistas, and after a long, lazy lunch slip into a languid siesta.
Patina Farm is a place to pause, to consider a stunning natural landscape where the spirits lift and one’s soul is restored. It is a refuge and sanctuary that enchants and surprises, where family and nature reign supreme.
Reviewed by Lin Sampson
What we love!
- Head into the kitchen garden with snippers in hand to pick an array of fresh herbs in season or during December/January venture into the plum orchard to pick plums still warm from being kissed by the sun
- One of the three dams sits just behind the house with trees that offer shade, making it the ideal spot for picnics and braais
- For working out there is an in-house Technogym cross trainer and Unica multifunctional bench
- There is a classic Rolls Royce, dubbed ‘The English Patient’, which one can hire for short excursions for up to three people
- Stellenbosch, with the impressive Neo Gothic tower of the Moederkerk (Mother Church), its chic shops and shaded boulevards is just 3kms away
- Of course this is Winelands country – one is spoilt for wine estates to visit for tastings
- There are a variety of first class restaurants on wine estates, including Glenelly, Tokara, Boschendal and Delaire-Graff, all within a 5-10 minute drive
- Franschhoek, with its art galleries and restaurants is a 25 minute drive and the bright lights, big city of Cape Town just 40 minutes away
What you need to know…
- There is a large open barn space which can be rented separately, as well as offices with two inter-linked offices, meeting room/boardroom, informal lounge and small kitchenette – all housed in an early twentieth century restored Cape Dutch barn
- There is a self-contained restored farm barn with an open plan kitchen living area, lovely open terrace and small enclosed garden, bedroom for two and a bathroom, available in addition to the main homestead
- A housekeeping service is available on request
- Catering can be arranged on request
- A plunge pool is planned for completion by mid-year