Coffee Connection

The brief was straight forward – design a coffee shop for Robertson, a tiny village in the Western Cape. BUT, it must live adjacent to a Postnet Agency, I can’t make any structural changes and the budget is limited.  The client proposed the name Coffee Connection, with a few references of what they like.  I’ve been so involved in fashion retail for a while now, so this was a nice challenge.  Within 2 weeks I had to present my ideas, get a logo going, kick-start social media support and order all the items.

A huge positive was the client’s awareness of branding, a holistic creative approach and the importance of the customer journey.  Connectivity, the ever increasing pleasure threshold and the consumer’s access to everything created interesting creative considerations for this catchment area.

The old spot was looking tired and there was very little to up-cycle or re-cycle. It was a flat surface with no architectural detail.


The exterior was a challenge with strict branding specs but at least I could go bold with a dark charcoal exterior and white highlights for a modern touch.


The interior solution was the fun part.  I could introduce anything as the client’s husband and I completed many projects for Rawson donkey year ago.  He understands my creative eye and played a key role in the implementation of all the ideas. We introduced chip board cladded walls, a contrasting black tiled wall, a checker board floor and ceiling screens to create a clear demarcation from the Postnet section.  I spent money on the big visual elements and tried to not get involved in the small stuff.


We could recycle the old tables and a few cabinets. I introduced new chairs from Chair Crazy, very city chic, and a few handmade pedastals for a local touch. Hot Wired Design helped with big lazer cut branding and deWaal Art did all the decals.



The overall feel is very monochromatic, a nice contrast to Postnet’s bold red, black and blue. The client must still add more greenery but the Robertson locals love their new hub to meet a friend, wait for a Postnet print or taste local freshly baked cheese cake.


Picture7Coffee Connection offers a very basic menu but enough choice for their pop-in pop-out client base.  When you go out to the Platteland please pop in!



Matric Farewell Fever

It is that time of the year again when we say good bye to our matric learners with all the necessary bells and whistles.  With my Emma in matric this year I would like to share my experience with the conceptualisation of the 2015 Bloemhof Girls School matric farewell.

Carli in action

I never agree to do school projects as I am busy with retail installations all year round, so when the head of the governing body phoned me to see if she can convince me with a promise of a super slick project manager, I agreed.  And what a fantastic project this was.  I did very little as Carli Pfaff, the project manager, was not just there to get all the moms going but she had a clear creative idea with so many very creative and eager mums behind her.  I assisted with pulling it all together, sourcing references, identifying short cuts and ensuring we stay true to the theme.  And for all my sins I played traffic officer and head of installation on our final day.



The theme started with another clever mum remembering this special quote: ‘If adventure does not wait on your doorstep, climb out through the window ….’  As matric farewell parties always have a theme it was so refreshing to have a clever line of inspiration to lead the creative process and not another corny Arabian Nights or Paris Cafe.  These inspirational quotes gave us a wonderful opportunity to basically add any creative overlay.  As clever words in a creative font was trending at the time it was the obvious solution.  After we selected the correct font we decided to carry this very naive style throught onto all our elements.  We were blessed to have a few artists among our mum-squad and this very creative process kicked off.



z11Picture1The beauty of a project like this, where strict budgets, very different personalities and over-excited 16 year olds all have to work together can be a challenge but this project was smooth sailing all the way.  Mums and their daughters worked in mini teams with designer production lines like you’ve never seen before.


As a mum of one of these 16 year old girls it was  extra special to utilise my Emma’s creative skills.  It started with her, one Sunday evening, drawing all the uniforms and outfits of the various crew members with another wonderful mum who copied them on all the actual garments.  Cheap white and black acetate was used to create all the different silhouettes with 2 dimensional lines to cheat the eye.


One must realise that the project has no longevity so all the substrates must be cheap but easy to paint on.  To have an artist on your side makes life very easy as we created all the last minute elements on the spot, 3-5 hours before the event.


The first impression is always the wow factor at these events.  We copied a floral wall with a team of learners and a very creative mum.  All the flowers were created in a few days with typing paper.  This wall was utilised for all the group and couple pictures. Interactive windows on both sides added the final wow factor. Paper was used to cover some of the Stellenbosch City Hall’s old grandeur as the look had to remain white and crisp.


From day I we had an element on our wish list that the budget could not allow – a hot air balloon to float in the ceiling – a bit of a symbolic gesture to shout ‘the sky is  your limit‘. We had to settle for 2nd price and with balloons, a covered table and a bit of imagination we settled that it was enough of a vocal element.z9Picture1

Even the toilets were kitted out in elements so true to the theme.  Carli had a dedicated team in action that amazed me with there attention to detail and fun.   z10


Then last but not the least.  Each grade 11 girl had a very specific make-up and hair look.  Again one of the mums with past experiences in stage make-up coordinated this final bit of detail.

O what fun we had.  And yes, the sceptics will question all the drama, effort and detail, but we provided 4 hours of inspiration and creative energy for these special girls.  Not just for our matrics but also for the grade 11 crew!


West Coast Charm

A while ago I was tasked to revamp an old beach house on the West Coast. I only had 6 weeks to gather all the items and 2 weeks to do the implementation. The house was build in the 60’s with a lot of small rooms but a lovely flow with a view to die for. I kept it simple with white spaces and small pops of colour. The key feature was the use of a combination of striped canvas. I purchased all the off-cut striped fabric on one day from one supplier with no clear idea of how and where I will use it – so the end result has a bit of a mix-don’t match flair. See below the sad ‘before’ space and then a few easy real life holiday snaps showing a Xmas celebration in the brand new and fresh space. Enjoy