Ladies and gents, The Homestead at Hazendal Wine Estate is officially open to the public and we could not be any more excited to unveil this special space! It’s taken us a good long while to have it restored to its former glory, and we’re happy to say that the grand dame is looking quite lovely indeed.
One of the things that set The Homestead apart as a Winelands accommodation venue is the fact that it boasts honest-to-goodness furniture pieces from the actual 18th century.
Stuart Hermansen, owner and founder of HB Architects in Stellenbosch, is known as one of the top guys working in the built-environment heritage sector in South Africa. He is incredibly talented at architectural design, and very passionate about old-building conservation and revitalisation.
We recently got in touch to find out more about his work on The Homestead, and all the marvellous 18th-century furniture pieces that were carefully sourced and chosen to feature throughout the space that has now opened to the public.
Here are a few pieces he believes every guest should seek out when they stay at or tour the main house:
The 18th Century Armoire (Voloshin Room)
“The Homestead’s signature piece is the large armoire in the main bedroom, the Voloshin room,” says Stuart. “It is a traditional Cape armoire, circa 1780, made of Cape ebony and stinkwood. The original handles are still intact and beautifully gilded. It is a signature piece in the sense that it is a truly archetypal armoire of that time, and fitted with the age of The Homestead; it is very typical of 'grand' furniture of that time.”
The VOC Chest
According to Stuart, the second piece of furniture that is notable is the chest in the Voorkamer. This large, wooden, coffin-shaped box is an original VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, also known as the Dutch East India Company) chest that has '1768' etched into it. It is made of Burmese teak.
“The ironmongery on it, hinges, handles etc., are all original. This chest would have been used for transporting goods such as spices, silk or porcelain and used as a container for items carried from the East back to the Netherlands,” the architect explains.
DID YOU KNOW? When it comes to the spice trade, the VOC was an early pioneering model of the global supply chain in its modern sense. The Dutch word ‘peperduur’, which is also used in Afrikaans, literally translates to "pepper expensive" or "as expensive as pepper" – an expression for something that is very costly that harks back to the days of the VOC.
We’re running a special launch offer for anyone that books between now and the end of August, so hurry you don’t want to miss this. Click 👉 here to find out more.
The Bible Desk
The Bible desk, also in the Voorkamer, will also be of great interest to history buffs according to Stuart.
“This piece actually came with the farm when Dr Voloshin bought it,” he explains. “The date on the desk is not quite clear, but from the look of it, it's safe to assume that it dates from around the same time that The Homestead was built, which was 1790. It's also made from Burmese teak.
“Traditionally, each affluent household of that time would have had a Bible desk in which the family Bible would have been stored, only taken out when the paterfamilias would take it out to read to the family on Sundays and other religious occasions - quite a unique piece in Cape Dutch houses.”
The Brass Chandelier
“The brass chandelier in the Voorkamer is also of interest. It was installed in one of the back rooms when it was bought and is believed to be an original Dutch brass candelabra. It has been refitted for electrical lights, but when we had it restored by Pieter van Dijk Studios, they took the light fittings out and returned it to its old candle-holder form,” says Stuart.
So, there you have it - four pieces of 18th-century furniture you simply have to look out for when you visit The Homestead at Hazendal.
TOP TIP! Even if you don’t intend to stay over at Hazendal Wine Estate, you can still enjoy a tour of The Homestead. When guests are not in residence, The Homestead is open for day visitors to discover the period furniture, architecture and art on self-guided tours Tuesday to Friday between 10:00 and 17:00, and Saturday to Sunday between 09:00 and 17:00. Phone ahead to avoid disappointment.
Pssssst… If you love looking for little ‘hidden gems’ (AKA hidden details that not everyone is bound to notice) when you visit historical destinations, keep an eye out for the initials of one of the first inhabitants of the home (or perhaps a member of the original construction team?) in one of the panes of the kitchen windows.
According to Stuart, the door and window frames are all original, and somehow the glass managed to stay intact with the initials of a trickster from the 1700s carved into it. How amazing is that?
The Homestead is steeped in history and elegant luxury, we just can’t wait to have you and your family stay with us.
We’re running a limited offer for everyone who books between now and the end of August, we really don’t want you to miss out on this. Click 👉 here to find out more.