Heritage Houses

GODINHO-JACQUES HOUSE

When you first visit the house of Dona Maria dos Anjos Godinho- Jacques at Majorda village in Salcete District, you will first want to see the kitchen. Ah! If only one could give a sample of the scents and the sounds of that divine kitchen on these pages! If only one could describe the physical dimensions, the boundaries, the extension! For it is a kitchen that has no fixed boundaries, no overt extensions, no measured dimensions. A great big copper pot, painted black, is burning itself into a fevered pitch rather importantly. This house, built from the Eastwing of the original house, retained the main Reception room and Master’s bedroom upstairs and was constructed in 1878.

You enter through the gate along a meticulously carved pathway and past a formal garden to the left. Doors were simple and with good reason. The land-owning gentry in Salcete commanded great respect in the villages of the district. Although they formed a small segment of the whole population of the village, these were people of immense power and influence. Grand and elaborate balusters on staircases inside a house were typical of the Baroque period. To save costs, some houses have a cut-out version of these bottle balusters with a decorative element painted on each “bottle” as a substitute for the carving. This house has a floral motif that is almost banal. It is the Ballroom upstairs that leaves us gasping for breath. Painted in crisp cornflower blue, with the breeze from the beach blowing in, it is a hushed whisper in stone. This is the grandest and most impressive room in the whole house. Long full-length French windows, with their wooden mouldings in white, give an impression of grandeur when viewed from the outside.

On the inside, they exude a feeling of friendly coziness. The light of the morning sun filters through the small ventilators that form part of the design of the windows. In the Master’s Bedroom the gold ribbons had faded twenty years ago. Special effort was made to get the right paint from the source abroad and the ribbons restored by a painter. The roughly hewn timber flooring continues from the Ballroom into the Bedroom. The four-poster bed, the wardrobe and the linen cupboards speak of taste and wealth in the same soft voice. A delicate service stand in pink and peach Carrera marble still holds a baby-pink china washbasin, powder-dish and hair-brush case. Today the family has added modern facilities at the back of the bedrooms. The facilities are recent additions and yet melt into the rest of the house quite naturally.

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