Imagine a home that architecturally, would be perfect for a city sophisticate’s escape to the Australian Outback: steep pitch of storm-grey iron roof; high rafters for cool, natural air flow and the beautifully restrained use of stone, reed, steel and polished screed. The house has been skilfully and sensitively designed to be as at home in a hot climate as it is in the bite of winter. But sweep away the image of gum trees and outback scrub and instead, place this Franchhoek home on a farm between the borders two of the most prestigious properties in the valley, with fruit orchards, a river at the property’s feet and Willow trees that droop their boughs over a garden bench. Everything about this home invites you to relax and explore: sturdy bicycles lean against a wall and coax you into the nearby village while the lap pool is there for a cool plunge in the sizzle of summer. A wide green lawn hemmed by a white garden wall speaks of space designed with symmetry, harmony and privacy in mind.
Inside the home, the use of raw, natural elements is offset by luxurious woven fabrics with settees that demand a deep, comfortable sprawl. This is where ‘you time’ was born. Or imagine the broad, sturdy dining room table spread with fresh fare from local markets and your booty from a local wine boutique. But then again, no further than the garden, raised vegetable beds are brim-full of crisp fresh greens while just beyond the back door, a vertical herb garden will yield a sprig of thyme to tint the taste of that ripe tomato pesto you have whipped up for a pasta supper. This is a house that embraces all seasons for your stay: on cooler nights, a large interior fireplace invites a gathering for lively board games, a lap-top binge of a favourite TV series or simply, conversation. A broad shaded veranda with cool, screeded cement for bare feet and an outdoor barbecue area is the setting for a summer stage. The River House is cleverly designed to offer up to eight guests privacy and space and to relay the sense of a calm, uncluttered life and yet Franchhoek, with is restaurants, wine, art and decor shops, is only a few hundred metres from the gates. It is a lifestyle ‘trompe l’oeil’ of a residence: at first glance a home along the lines of an elegant barn-inspired structure with so much space, greenery and sky that it could be on a remote farm but in real life, it is a retreat in the heart of sophistication.
What we love!
The town of Franchhoek is 300 metres away and a gentle walk – or cycle – away.
The town prides itself on being a culinary hub with excellent restaurants including the well-know Reuben’s, clustered in and around the town.
There is barely a month when Franchhoek does not have a tempting event: In May, The Literary Festival, in July the fabulous Bastille Festival, in September, the Uncorked Wine Festival, in October, the Art Festival and in December the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival. Staying near the town is a fabulous way to enjoy the festivities without travelling.
What you need to know….
With an open pool and proximity to the river, the home is more suited to families with older children.
The home consists of three en suite bedrooms with a fourth loft room. This is a family suite – it has two three-quarter beds (with mattress converter, making a comfy BIG king!), fold-out double Ottoman suitable for two kids, lounge area and open-plan en suite.
Reviewed by Les Aupiais.