FROM IRELAND TO FRANSCHHOEK: THE BELMONT IS OPEN!

Owned by CJ & Jean-Marie Stander, The Belmont is walking distance from the center of the famous Franschhoek village – home to an array of world class restaurants, wine bars and cafés. Booked together, The Belmont’s 7 suites provide the ideal setting for large family or friend gatherings and celebrations, or individually, for quiet getaways to the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, fittingly referred to as the “food and wine capital” of South Africa. All rooms feature an en-suite bathroom and are furnished with superior quality king-size or queen-size beds, fitted with luxury linen. Each room boasts complimentary Wi-Fi, a coffee machine and tea-making facilities, rusks and wine. The Belmont also has a shared pool and outdoor dining area, as well as backup power during national power outages.

 

The Belmont’s location offers guests the opportunity to enjoy all that the main street and surrounding wine farms are famous for, but with all the quiet, privacy and charm of a restored grand dame. All of the interior design and decoration was handled by the internationally acclaimed Tammy Holmes, owner of Ivy Decor and Design – a designer who has used bold colours, textures and accessories to create beautiful, livable spaces for guests to enjoy.

 

“Having the opportunity to completely overhaul a historical building with such incredible bones, structure and detail such as original hardwood floors, arches, and high ceilings, is a dream for most designers. Couple this with having open-minded, trusting clients with great taste, and the results are better than any of us dreamed” says Tammy Holmes. “It was wonderful working with Jean Marie who knew exactly what she loved and disliked, and what she was prepared to compromise on. CJ loved almost all the schemes I presented to him from the get-go, except for one room that actually became his favourite when it was brought to life! I had a clear vision for the look and feel of the guest house as a whole, and was really lucky that the couple trusted me and my experience to bring it all together.” she adds.

 

At The Belmont you will see lots and lots of fun colours, prints, patterns and textures. “We wanted to create rooms that feel welcoming but chic, with a slight departure from what guests may have in their own homes by way of bold colours and patterns. I also love the idea of guests being able to visit The Belmont 7 times before having to stay in the same room, as each one has its own distinct personality and feeling about it.” she explains. “ I focussed on using local fabrics from houses including Lula Fabrics, Mavromac, Hertex and Silk & Cotton Company, commissioned my talented cousin Michelle Turk to paint a few key pieces of art, used 6 of Lucie de Moyencourt’s gorgeous seashells in room 4 as a wall feature, and then purchased various antique pieces from local dealers including Barn & Werf, Wild and Boland Pickers. I had such fun gathering and sourcing pieces with such meaning, history and personality, feeling like I’d hit the jackpot every time I stumbled across a piece that I knew would fit perfectly into one of my schemes.” she says excitedly.

 

For co-owner Jean-Marié, stepping into this house was like stepping back in time, into a familiar space filled with memories and

the unlocking of their lives together! “In 2012, we packed up our lives in South Africa and moved to Ireland, where CJ pursued his professional rugby career, culminating in more than 50 international matches for our adopted country. In 2017 we bought our home in Castleconnell, Ireland, located in a street named Belmont Hill. She had hardwood floors, high ceilings and dado railmouldings. It was our first home as a married couple, and also where we started our family.” says Jean-Marié.

Following CJ’s retirement in 2021, they moved back to South Africa, leaving behind friends, memories and a chapter of their lives that had been written at 10 Belmont Hill. “When we stepped through the front door for the very first time, we saw the same
hardwood floors, high ceilings and dado rail mouldings that had adorned our Irish abode. She only needed a bit of TLC to restore her to her former glory.” says CJ Stander.

 

For Tammy this was a first of its kind in that she was working with a heritage property with various rules, regulations and basic building issues that you wouldn’t usually face with a newer build. Once they’ve gutted each room, the beautiful original hardwood floors, arches, high ceilings, sash windows begged to be restored and brought back to life. So they did just that by sanding and sealing each floor, patching and painting each room where damage, age and wear-and-tear had dulled the look, made the arches pop by painting them a brilliant white, and then updated the exterior of the house by painting over the yellowy-cream walls with a brilliant white, and adding pops of black and charcoal.

 

 

“We knew we wanted to name her in honour of our Castleconnell home. And so, for the second time, we start a new chapter together in a familiar yet different setting, and we look forward to welcoming you to our guesthouse, The Belmont – an extension of who we are and where we come from!” Adds, Jean-Marié, excitedly.