When I was doing some research on a previous post on Cape Dutch houses, I stumbled across this beautiful example and then to my amazement realized that it was not situated in South Africa, but in California, USA. I was intrigued as to how this style of architecture fairly unique to the Western Cape area of South Africa had made it's way across the Atlantic
This magnificent home, called Constantia, was built in the 1930's. Named after the wine region of Cape Town, South Africa, Constantia arose from the visionary genius of architect, Ambrose Cramer, who designed the pristine estate for his father-in-law, Arthur Meeker, Executive Vice President of Chicago’s Armour meat packing company. Cramer drew inspiration from the Cape Dutch homes that populated the southernmost tip of the African continent. The Meekers believed Santa Barbara and South Africa's Cape held appealing similarities in climate, vegetation, and scenery and commissioned Cramer to recreate the same plantation style amid the beautiful terrain of Montecito.
The current owner purchased the property in 2006 and began the restoration that resulted in the masterpiece it is today. These small-paned sash windows are usually painted white and the half-shutters are very typical of most Cape Dutch homes.
This home has been impeccably restored and is surrounded by meticulous gardens, broad lawns, and majestic palms. Spectacular views of Montecito Peak rise over the prominent reflecting pond and the shimmering waters of the Pacific Ocean appear beyond the verdant landscape.
Massive iron gates frame the entrance to the olive-lined drive that fronts the estate, while a swimmer’s pool and spa, a dramatic reflecting pond, and a sunken garden bordered by roses complement the natural beauty that surrounds the home.
The home spans approximately 10,000 square feet of living space and has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms!
This is the living room as it is today...
and before the restoration with it's more traditional furnishings.
The Cape Dutch style houses very often have wide front and back doors that are directly in line with each other so that one can have a view right through the house to the gardens beyond.
This is the floor plan of the original home before extensions.
The heavy beams are very typical of these homes.
Magnificent dining room.
Beautiful bedroom and what a view!
So, my wonderful American readers, did you know that there was a little bit of my country in yours?