On a small cor­ner of a Fran­schhoek farm...

As one of the old­est towns in the Western Cape, Fran­schhoek is known for its tra­di­tional homes as much as for its mag­nif­i­cent scenery, gourmet food and world-class wines. Michelle Funke finds out more about a life­style prop­erty up for grabs

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

THE Fran­schhoek Val­ley in the Cape Winelands, touted as the gourmet cap­i­tal of SA and a foodie and wine-lover’s par­adise, is nes­tled be­tween tow­er­ing, vine­yard­cov­ered moun­tains.

Around 320 years ago dur­ing the re­vo­ca­tion of the Edict of Nantes in France in 1685 when Protes­tantism was out­lawed, hun­dreds of so-called Huguenots fled their home­land, with ap­prox­i­mately 277 ar­riv­ing by ship at the Cape of Good Hope. Many Huguenots were given land in a val­ley called Oliphantshoek, so named be­cause of the vast herds of ele­phants that roamed the area. Even­tu­ally the area be­came known as Fran­schhoek (French Cor­ner) — a her­itage which is cel­e­brated by the Huguenot mon­u­ment in the vil­lage.

The mu­seum nearby chron­i­cles the his­tory of the town’s pi­o­neers, with each of the orig­i­nal Huguenot farms hav­ing its own fas­ci­nat­ing story to tell. Dur­ing July, over the week­end clos­est to Bastille Day (14 July), the vil­lage cel­e­brates its French her­itage with a wine and gourmet fair.

The vil­lage houses a va­ri­ety of ameni­ties from crafts, art and an­tique shops and gal­leries to cof­fee shops and restau­rants as well as spe­cial­ity shops, pri­mary and sec­ondary schools among oth­ers.

With a rich his­tory dat­ing back to the 1600s, Fran­schhoek has be­come syn­ony­mous with coun­try­side charm, his­toric houses and great food and wine. In fact, many of the farms in Fran­schhoek still use their French names and of­ten boast Cape Dutch home­steads.

But there are some new homes among the his­toric ones, in­clud­ing an ex­cep­tional new res­i­dence named Le Jar­dinet — or “lit­tle gar­den” — which is on sale through Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty.

Lo­cated on a por­tion of Cham­pagne Farm, which dates back to 1694, this barn-styled home, with its white walls and dark hipped roof, blends in per­fectly with the tra­di­tional winelands ar­chi­tec­ture. Be­yond the im­pos­ing en­trance, with its col­umns, ponds and mas­sive front door, is an ul­tra­con­tem­po­rary, light-suf­fused home strongly rem­i­nis­cent of the lux­ury high-rise lofts favoured by celebri­ties in New York.

The dom­i­nant fea­ture of the ground-floor ar­chi­tec­ture is the 3.2m-high win­dows and glass doors that sur­round the spa­cious liv­ing area and per­fectly show­case spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain and vine­yard views.

On this floor there is also a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen with scullery, store­room and walkin pantry; the north- fac­ing ve­randa with ex­ter­nal lounge, din­ing area and fire­place; a gym­na­sium and the mas­ter bed­room suite with walk-in cup­boards, pri­vate pa­tio and in­door and out­door show­ers.

The first floor houses a mez­za­nine lounge with low-level li­brary, a large open-plan stu­dio or home of­fice, two spa­cious bed­rooms and a fam­ily bath­room.

Out­doors, there is a 15m so­lar- heated lap pool and a 25m dam, as well as two guest cot­tages, each with their own kitchen and bath­room, staff ac­com­mo­da­tion and two garages.

The whole prop­erty is en­ergy friendly and large so­lar panels sup­ply hot wa­ter to the house, piped un­der-floor heat­ing and the swim­ming pool. Bore­holes sup­ply the wa­ter for the house, dam and gar­den, and a nat­u­ral spring runs for nine months of the year.

Light­stone, a prop­erty statis­tics and data provider, in­di­cates that close to 60% of prop­erty in the vil­lage of Fran­schhoek is free­hold, with just over 36% es­tates and the bal­ance sec­tional ti­tle units. The statis­tics show that around 42% of all prop­erty sales in Fran­schhoek be­tween July last year and June this year were priced be­tween R1.5m and R3m, with 31% of properties sold dur­ing the same pe­riod priced over R3m.

While 44.62% of re­cent buy­ers in the area have been aged be­tween 36 and 49, more than 46% of re­cent sell­ers have been aged 65 or older. Price: R25m Con­tact: Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty James Pen­ling­ton 076 356 4993

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