A reimagined farmhouse was the brief for architect Henri Comrie, when he designed the Johannesdal Homestead for creatives Chris Willemse and Dané Erwee. Ten years on, green with plants and creepers, their home blends with its mountain landscape, contemporary but timeless. Chris and Dané are the dynamic duo behind the mould-breaking Stellenbosch florist Okasie, and here they grow flowers and botanicals for their innovative floral installations, which are so much more than flower arrangements.
Their creative impulse and eclectic design sensibility overflows into their home, which is a living canvas in itself, evolving as they introduce new pieces to the mix. They collect work from young upcoming artists, but also fall in love old faded watercolours and botanical studies, and there is nothing gallery like in their approach. ‘I definitely get a kick out of combining incongruous things that tell a story,’ Dané told Visi, a local magazine. Tapestry and floral rugs, framed artworks and botanical installations, modern design names next to refurbished junk shop finds, a bookshelf with books deftly arranged into a portrait of their dog, a row of spinning globes adapted as light fixtures, the aesthetic is quirky, fun and comfortable enough that you sink deeply into its welcoming atmosphere, a real escape from the humdrum outside world.
Four en-suite bedrooms, one with an outdoor bathroom, are individually decorated – rustic whitewashed brick is offset by an extravagant brass wall in one, a timber clad wall in another. Open-air terraces both upstairs and downstairs make easy outdoor living spaces, high ceilings and tall windows give plenty of scope for filtered light, tall and hanging plants, walls of overlapping framed pictures and large canvases. The house may be only ten years old but already resonates with the layers and patina of a farmhouse lived in for generations.
Away from it all as it feels, Johannesdal is within easy reach of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, but you‘ll be tempted to stay put – perhaps joining Chris and Dané on a flower-picking forage through their gorgeous gardens and heavenly fragranced heritage roses, or soak up the mountain views from the 15m swimming pool, after exploring the mountain trails around the 2.5 hectare farm. There’s further accommodation on the farm set around a beautiful wedding venue should you need more space or want to vacation together as a large multigenerational family.