Historic Weltevreden homestead looking for new owners
CALLIE PORTER and Ed Kok of Anne Porter Knight Frank have been appointed agents for the sale of Weltevreden, one of Stellenbosch’s historic Cape Dutch national monument homesteads.
The Weltevreden homestead dates from 1812-1815, when it was built by Deborah Retief, sister of the Voortrekker leader Piet, but the title deeds of the property (in favour of Hans Henske, a German from Hamburg) go back to 1692.
The existing wine cellar was built in 1804.
Deborah Retief ’s initials and those of her husband, Christoffel Esterhuysen, are moulded into the plaster on a back gable on the homestead.
The homestead is in a traditional H-shape, the most popular of all the Cape Dutch layouts, and has six ornate gables, those on the ends being in a Flemish style with a coronet motif on the top.
Towards the end of the 19th century attempts were made to Victorianise the building in one way or another, but fortunately the original layout and configuration were kept, says Porter.
As part of this process in about 1910 the thatch roof was replaced with corrugated iron and by 1995, when the cur rent owners took over, a major renovation was needed.
“The new owners had the resources and in-depth knowledge to tackle the restoration with total dedication. Throughout the lengthy task they kept in touch with the South African Heritage Resources Agency and consulted archaeological, architectural and history experts.
“Only the approved traditional building materials were used. For example, lime plaster (of the type that preceded Portland cement) was applied to the façades and this has proved effective in allowing the walls to “breathe” (exude moisture) and to accommodate seasonal movement in the soft sun-dried clay bricks.
“Rare yellowwood for the floors and certain roof timbers were obtained from the Tsitsikamma Forest culling programme, and the window glass of the sash windows was baked to achieve the original slightly uneven surfaces.
“The roof, too, was completely rebuilt using mainly poplar timbers (which are naturally resistant to borer beetle) and the owners also took the appropriate decision to replace the corrugated iron roof with thatch. Some of the thatchers used old thatching needles found in the brandsolder (loft).
The owners had the resources and in-depth knowledge to tackle the restoration with total dedication
Flanking the main home and part of the sale are a farmhouse, in a modern Cape Dutch style, a cottage and a long house, a former wagon building now converted into self-contained accommodation.
The property covers 3.7 ha, which Kok says is a manageable size and suited to someone seeking a lifestyle-cum-upmarket hospitality venue rather than a small farming operation.
The list price for Weltevreden is R19.8 million.
Call Ed Kok on 083 386 6999 or Callie Porter on 072 409 4858.