The Daily Coffee Cafe

Once upon a time there was a coffee shop in Paarl called Sugarberry. She was an old lady in desperate need of a revamp. When the new owner contacted me I was more than ready to do something different for Paarl. Adriaan de Bruyn had the vision to introduce something different in town and trusted me to do my own thing. The budget was tight but realistic and the transformation was based on good paint colours, a few fruit bins taken apart with the main counter and light installation as the vocal point. He spent money on all the right places and now enjoy an end product with a good menu, warm atmosphere and the best coffee in town. Her name is The Daily. My first project in my home town completed!
This was also my first official collaboration with my daughter Emma, who designed the logo and all the branding items. Read more about her on She is only 15 and already have big plans for her design future.






























Rustic at River Song

I was tasked to design another foyer for Rawson Developers. River Song is a small block of apartments in Rondebosch. The brief again was to come up with a creative décor solution at a limited budget and all elements to be practical as the body corporate must maintain the look and feel of this area. I decided on a very natural feel in tones of toffee, grey and charcoal with red copper highlights. Most of the items are from Weylandts and Chair Crazy. The team on the site was very creative and cost effective and build the counter from regular brick with tile cladding. I love red copper and tasked to team on site to source red copper plate for the counter kick plate to complete the look.

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Nostalgic on wheels

Once in a lifetime you do a job just for the fun of it.  My beloved bought this 1965 Commer Camper van recently and we decided to renovate the outside and then try to keep the interior as is but add a fresh overlay.  What you see is all the original interior wood cladding with fresh upholstery and a few smalls to make it pretty.  She is not just a show piece but in full use for camping weekends.  She is also earning her keep with a TV commercial here and there.  The West Coast locals call her Fugly – you work that out.  For me – my most interesting décor installation.  If you wonder why Paarl 314 – that is Jannie’s lucky number and on all his vehicles for his love for mathematics.

I start with a “before” picture.

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Rawson Developers tasked me with something slightly different to my regular flashy foyers and show units.  I was tasked to develop a centralised sales office in a deserted restaurant/deli, soon to be demolished to make space for another Rawson development.  Luckily it was a good solid square shape with pillar and bulkhead detail in the middle.  I went big on the recycle-upcycle trend and only used leftover decor items from show units now sold, a fresh layer of white and aniseed paint, but added a few branded elements.  I thought a touch of an art gallery feel will work well and added a red carpet for them to show case all their sold out star developments.

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I was tasked to do a brand audit for a very well-known wine estate recently.  My key task was to determine why all the retail spaces were not making good money.  I was very excited about the project and auditing their customer journey seemed to be a very interesting process.  I left my office very early with  the tablet, camera, measuring tape, hat, sunblock, water bottle and all the tricks needed to look like just another tourist. 

As I walked from one touch point to the other I had so many flashes from my past experiences when I was still doing strategy and spending long hours in board rooms to discuss now-so-last season concepts like brand loyalty, aspirational brand positioning, who is my target market bla bla bla.

Here I was selling myself to brand owners as a brand engineer who can help you to realize the importance of aesthetics in your customer journey but just identified a big no-no when building a brand – the ever so important “do you understand the LIFESTYLE of your target market?”  For the first time in my 5 years as a consultant I was part of a customer journey that was too pretty, so stiff, so not user-friendly and ready to alienate the average tourist, local wine lover and picnic fanatic.  So often brands allow very creative agencies to take their brand positioning to the ‘aspirational’ level and no-one around the designer table has the guts to shout “STOP,  your customer will not be comfortable with this experience!”  So yes, I had to conclude with a report of my findings and needless to say that they did not agree with me.    Also important to note that their retail spaces are still border-lining white elephant status but looking oh so pretty, ready for the Conde Nast Traveller’s photographer.

So I stick to my key symptoms when to call the brand doctor:

•          When there is a lack of meaningful differentiation

•          When there is an attempt to be all things to all people

•          When there is failure to promote distinctive differences

•          When there is an unwillingness to own any selected attributes

•          When there is a deep seated desire to run with the pack, not out front

•          When there is an irrational fear of alienating anyone

The Rondebosch completed

What a pleasure to, once again, work with a team that is ready to change the aesthetics of their brand promise.  Rawson Development just completed The Rondebosch in Belmont Road, Rondebosch.  For the first time I succeeded in convincing them to move away from brown aluminium and sand walls to fresh tones of white and grey.  I was also a bit braver when I conceptualized the look for the foyer.  A dramatic mirror statement, a toned down checkerboard floor and simplistic items offer even the bachelor pad tenant a wow when they return to their home.  Look out for The Beaumont, Rawson’s latest project under construction in Claremont, where I can play with my love for Art DecoEarly days – a practical checkerboard floor under constructionPaul from Glasnood in action – 12 mirrors to go The lift lobby – a touch of botanical in a simplistic way

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Every year our family have a debate about the theme for Xmas decorations.  Every year they shout for red, green and gold but I’ve convinced them that it’s time for a playful overlay to our existing décor as we will only spend about 2 weeks of December at home.  I’ve never had a client requesting a Xmas overlay to his office space or his personal space –so today I share with you my interpretation of Xmas with a twist in my home.  Hope you have a wonderful festive season!

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DHL move to Airport City


Well done to DHL Global Forwarding in Cape Town who realised they should spend money on creating a customer journey  in their new head office – and not just for visitors but also for their staff.  I was the lucky one to do this project  – from creating a wow first impression in the foyer to a first for them, a pause area, overlooking Airport Industria.  I worked with a low budget so the office furniture is very basic and functional with a décor overlay of splashes of red and a hint of yellow.  We worked with their corporate images, even for the huge wall visual in the foyer.  This was not just a  décor installation –  I had to assist the project manager with an internal communication tool to support staff with moving from a  ‘my office’ to ‘our office’.   They now have to adapt a new work ethic with an open plan environment, a paperless era, an office and warehouse combo  but  pause areas and a bright red Nespresso will help them on this journey.



Thank you to Just Art for the wall visual, to Charl Jourbert for hanging all the wall art and @ Home for the furniture items in the foyer.  I’ve purchased a few items for the pause areas from Mr. Price. Both suppliers did a great job with follow-up calls and on-time deliveries.



See a few behind the scenes pics and then the final product.