Hidden in a lush, green valley in the quiet West of Madeira lies our house, a delightful holiday home called ‘Raposeira de São João. It is a lovely and comfortable Madeira holiday home with spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and the woods and hills of Fajã da Ovelha, a village in the Council of Calheta in the sunny Southwest of Madeira. Click on the panorama of the house and grounds below to get the feel of it. Make sure and view it in full screen.
Our stunningly renovated typically Madeiran home is for rent for the best part of the year. Raposeira de São João is a holiday home that really isn’t. It is a lovingly renovated old farmer’s house that is typical for the island’s original architecture. We have furbished and equipped the house for our semi-permanent stay in Madeira in winter. As a holiday home, it is suitable for up to four people, making it ideal for two couples or a couple with one or two not too your children. The comfortable furniture is of Dutch contemporary design for the most part. The contemporary furniture is combined with some antique family pieces and – mostly contemporary – art.
the living room: a place to make you feel at home!
The living room has two small sofas and a very comfortable chair of a famous Dutch design (the design chair is called ‘Groeten uit Holland’ (Greetings from Holland, as the shape reminds you of a tulip) and an ample dining table with unusually comfortable chairs.
Just have a look round and make yourself at home. You will notice that here, the living room has its Christmas decorations. You had best watch this in full-screen mode.
bedrooms: our house has two of them.
Two comfy bedrooms with ensuite facilities each are situated on the first floor. (Americans would call this the second floor). The master bedroom has a queen-size bed with a box spring mattress.
The second bedroom, which we use as a guest room whenever we occupy the house, has high quality twin beds and has its own sitting area. All rooms, including the living room and the kitchen, have stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. Really things that you would look forward to in a holiday rental house in Madeira.
Both bedrooms have their ensuite facilities, consisting of a shower, a washbasin and a toilet. Simple ones, but spacy enough and with everything you need. There is a separate guest toilet on the ground floor. All toilets flush into a septic tank. That’s why, like in many other places in Madeira, you can only put things in that you have eaten first.
Outside of the densely populated areas of Funchal and Caniço there is no sewer system on the island. Therefore, toilets, kitchens, showers and washbasins all flush into our septic tank. This is a sensitive eco-system that has to be treated gently.
what can’t go into the septic tank?
It’s not a complicated question. No bleach, no aggressive detergents, no paper. We never keep bleach or other aggressive detergents in the hous to prevent accidents. Paper is a different matter. That’s why there is a small waste bin in every bathroom to put the used paper in. It takes some getting used to, but you will find that many places in Madeira have this system and it will prevent the system from clogging up, something you really can do without. As our house is an old farmer’s house, it did not have any toilets at all originally. We recently found out that there used to be a wooden outhouse that had already disappeared by the time we bouthg it. Hurray for progress!
kitchen: the heart of our Madeira house!
The kitchen is every cooking lover’s dream. It is fully equipped, as we live here in winter ourselves and we love mod-cons wherever we are and we wouldn’t settle for less in our Madeira house. It boasts all mod-cons like induction cooking with decent and sufficient pots and pans, sharp knives, an ample freezer-cooler numerous smaller items that you can check out in the page ‘equipment‘. Those who don’t really like to cook will enjoy the presence of a microwave and an oven to quickly heat a dish. You probably hate washing the dishes even more, so you will be relieved to learn there is a full-size dishwasher.
Now, have a look at our garden. Lovers of exotic plants and flowers can indulge in a multitude of shapes and colours, some of which you may know as indoor pot plants in your home country. Note that you should not expect a carefully combed English garden. As it is, the Islanders already think we are out of our minds to use the ground for decorative plants, where we could grow onions and potatoes. They think a house in Madeira should have veggies in the garden, and have decorative plants in pots on the terrace where nothing else can grow. But we wanted a garden. Ours is a bit on the wild side, blending perfectly with nature beyond.
nicking or ‘replanting’?
We ‘have a habit of ‘replanting’ Madeira. Roughly, that means taking cuttings or seedlings from nature (nicking?) and giving them a place in our garden. Many plants grow easily from cuttings: put a branch of a freshly pruned hydrangea in the earth and with any luck, before you know it you have a flowering plant in your garden. Some pelargoniums are easy to grow from cuttings as well, and many succulents and cacti. But it is an ongoing process and through the years we learned which plants want to live with us and which ones won’t.
Having said all that, we did buy a number of fruit trees around the house, some of them still very young. If there is any fruit, feel free to pick it and eat it. There is a Mandarin, a lemon tree, some other citruses among which a lime, still very young, a guava and a young Araçais and Pitanga. Finally, on the trellis next to the guest room there is a passion fruit of the ‘Maracujá-Banana’ variety. Its fruits remind of small bananas and even the flavour has a vague banana-like element. Ample terraces give protection from all wind directions, and there is a large shady terrace next to the kitchen.
Sometimes, our guests think that they only have a part of the house at their disposal. That would only be the case if you stay with us in winter, when we are here, and rent the guest room on a Bead and Breakfast basis. In summer, we are not here and you would rent the entire house. To make everything clear we have made a floor plan of both floors. Click on the small images to render them full-size.