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!



The Corporate Chill

A first for me – transform a boring corporate office space into a staff chill area. Canteen, chill area or meeting area are so much more than popping your home-made lunch into the microwave and have a quick chat with a colleague. These areas now pop up in decor magazines and architectural companies pull out all stops to make bold statements to enhance the brand journey.  But knowing that this client will not spend big money, I approached it with a creative eager heart but with a strong realistic undertone.  For me these areas play a crucial role in the brand ethos. This is the area where they must feel at home, where they can share views, emotions and celebrate successes.  Here you want to shout out to visitors that you work for a cool brand. One can also not disregard the functional role it needs to play.  For this specific project, we had to bring 4 meeting areas into the theme.

A very strict landlord and a visionary and easy-going CEO proofed to be a good enough platform to still create a bit of fun.  I had a 3-week turnaround time so could only use what was available in combination with some old existing furniture pieces.  And that is ok!  Times are tough and we must sometimes relax and get the purist eye half shut and just add fun to corporate spaces.Slide1

Step one was to ignore the sensible hotel foyer carpet aka 1978 and cream walls. A tin of charcoal paint and astro off cuts were enough to add bold detail.  A big communal table and chairs that can double up for a big meeting were first priority.





For a bit of light hearted play on the booking of meeting rooms I designed big numbers for the 3 meeting areas.  Each room shouts in bright colour to incorporate a set of old posters.  Scandi inspired tables and seating from Pedersen & Lennard and cheap and cheerful chairs from Chair Crazy added enough colour, functionality and form.


A second boardroom was created with an old table and chairs. A big wall sticker was enough detail to be utilised when serious fruit export routes pop up in discussions. I sourced bits of fruit inspired artwork and Photo Blox printed them on wood – again in a fun interpretation but true to the theme.  The client export to so many destinations using very innovative packaging that could be used as a wall visual.





The foyer presented a lovely challenge with, guess what, beige cabinets.  A bold company logo, a pop of astro and bold chairs were enough to welcome visitors.









It was fun and again more than just a quick decor installation.  The brand’s ethos was touched with a small budget but a big impact on the staff and visitors’ brand journey. If they move offices all pieces can be moved and if more money pops up the look can definitely be extended to their office space.


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!


Fashion Blooming

Today I am celebrating my 3 year anniversary of consulting for Queenspark, South Africa’s retailer of affordable luxury.  Finding a visual communication strategy for this brand was one of my most challenging, but most rewarding experiences.  You so often hear fashion retailers talking about  advertising campaigns to attract a younger, or a more fashionable or my best, a more aspirational customer.  At Queenspark we celebrate a more mature fashion identity and rather focus on ways to give our consumers a fashion offer true to our winning recipe of elegance and luxury at an affordable price.

IMG_5097But what will ladies fashion be without florals, flowers, ditsies or the trending BLOOMing.  Summer’15 was again a perfect opportunity to introduce florals to support Queenspark’s summer collection.  I had so many ideas but to do a window with a limited budget, for 56 stores, with an easy implementation pack and no fancy architectural prop can be tricky.

Luckily I have access to the very talented designer, Candice Gericke, who truly understands the power of visual merchandising.  She  makes sense of all my ideas and together we can pull it into a focused campaign. She is also the queen of identifying affordable props that can be made in South Africa.



It all started when she discovered the painting of all paintings.  A Dutch still life from the 17th century – by Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-84) from the Rijksmuseum.

The colour combinations and the elegance of the flower composition  on the dramatic dark background was the perfect combination for our campaign.  Not only did it offer a good generic window solution but also something different for our stills photography back drop.

Plinth covers with a contrasting print, 2 big fabric flowers, a window decal and a bright floor cover was rolled out to all stores.




It created the perfect level of fashion attitude combined with elegance and femininity.


Our print campaign:123Picture1wwPicture1

and the behind the scenes for all the action

This painting recently popped up on bags, cushion covers and linen table cloths all over the retail scene.

Thank you Jan!  We love your blooms!



Postberg eenvoud

Kersvakansies is mos saamkom tyd, tyd om vriendskappe weer ‘n hubstoot te gee en koestertyd met familie.  So ry ons elke jaar Postberg toe, van Yzerfontein so ietsie onder ‘n uur.  Dis bly vir my ‘n spesiale roete maar die keer soveel meer.


Ons hartsvriende, Wilhelm en Anemie Boshoff, vir wie ons ook soos baie ander vriende, hopeloos te min sien, het hul huisie-by-die-see ‘n nuwe kleur en geurtjie gegee.  Onopgesmuk, opreg en met soveel aandag aan onbelangrike detail vir Jan-Alleman, maar so spesiaal vir estetika-vrate soos ek.  Met die hulp van ons gentle-giant argitek-vriend, Hardie van Schalkwyk, het hulle een van Postberg se historiese gehuggies in ‘n funksionele beelskone strandhuis verander.

zzzkraalAandag is juis gegee aan die elemente wat die eienaars se fyn oog vir die spesiale in die lewe mooi oppoets maar ‘n fyn belans is behou om die ritme op die weskus te komplimenteer.


Elke kyk is vir my ‘n lekkerkry.  Alles oorbodig is verwyder en net rou mooi en funksioneel  het oorgebly.  Vuil voete, raasbek kinders en te veel Sauvignon Blanc verdwyn moeiteloos in die detail.


Selfs die ou tradisionele bad en toilet op die voorstoep het sy nuwe baadjie aan.  Subway teëls en boere-doepa gee lekker detail.


Ons besef weer almal ‘n groot voorstedelike huis met onthaalareas en gastekamers is so last season. zzz3Picture1

En dan is daar die gekuier. Die tafel loop oor met vars kleure, boerekos ontertone en elke familie se nuwe resep.  Dis so oordadig dat ‘n tafeltema al lank voor die noenmaal sy gat sien. P445icture1

En terwyl die grootmense stadiger begin praat gaan die visvang voort.


Op die Boshoffs!



A new mobile media kid on the block


At the beginning of 2011, Frans Roelofse dared to dream about a digital platform that does things differently. A free, fast-thinking playground where users can connect, do business, be entertained and make a difference in the lives of others. A virtual highway that turns any screen into a world of possibilities.  For the next 3 years, Frans and his handpicked team worked tirelessly with technical partners to grow the toeter business model, keeping a finger on the pulse of mobile communication, thinking on their feet and responding to changes and challenges through innovation. After a few technical bumps in the road, success was inevitable. Today, toeter is a versatile, multilingual mobile ecosystem that offers a unique, 360-degree, fully integrated user experience.

Fast growing in popularity, toeter offers an impactful new way to connect with the world, make your voice heard and to access a myriad of information, entertainment and trading possibilities – wherever you are. Within moments of engaging, it’s easy to see why the toeter experience is known and loved for its simplicity of navigation and proudly South African flavour.

Living up to its promise to change the way we communicate with our mobile phones, the toeter dream is now a reality – one that has holistically grown beyond its own borders.

Within days of its understated launch, toeter was abuzz with excitement and spontaneous activity. From its high-end, creative look and feel – created under the watchful eye of Strategy Guru Engela du Toit – to the intuitive ease of toeter’s user experience, every effort has been made to create a platform where users could participate in a fresh, inspiring new way.

And that’s just the beginning…

(extract from press release compiled by Nimi Pretorius)

IMG_0007I was also the lucky winner to design the overall look and feel of the first toeter head office in the Media Quarter Building in Green Point.

With a limited budget and time frame but a client who knows what he wants it was a very interesting project.  We went out to support the local industry with a fresh and simplistic design ethic.


IMG_0009Petersen & Lennard, Pierre Cronje, Cecil Nurse and Chair Crazy supplied most of the items.

IMG_0016Hosting a very young team who often works from home we decided on a very open plan set-up with a glass encased board room and a private office for the founder. An open plan kitchen with a table arrangement takes care of team lunches and touches of old worlde africana represents the Afrikaans undertone of this new start up.  Big afrikaans words, uniquely used on the network, are boldly displayed on the one vocal wall.


The use of yellow, toeter’s corporate spot colour, was used in selected areas and items.  Overall a bright happy space with lots of energy to reflect the daily buzz.

IMG_0005 IMG_0035

Avenue @ Tygevalley Centre

This was the quickest, cheapest but fun transformation. My client had to move her ladies boutiques to a new spot in this very big shopping centre. The budget and the space were very small so no space was allowed for seating or décor detail. The back office wall was luckily exposed and identified as the area that can create some sort of depth of feel. With a few tins of paint and a selection of vinyl stickers we transformed this chocolate shop into a ladies boutique within 72 hours. My daughter, Emma, designed the very simple but elegant logo.
The clients love it – it is not a high end fashion shop but for those customers who like something new and trend inspired. The space does not alienate anybody but creates a generic backdrop for very colourful and busy product. See below my story – from the Chocolate shop, the process to the end result.









A wedding with my kids

Now that it is the wedding season in the Cape Winelands I remember a wedding I did 4 years ago. I’ve done so many different events and celebrations but never a wedding. When my sister asked me to assist her with her daughter big day I decided to help her to creative something simple, honest, from the heart with a kind budget. See the pictures with my daughter Emma and son, Jan who played a key role in the celebrations. The flowers were all white with fresh tullips from a nearby farm, the food all prepared on the Le Joubert estate with props and romantic smalls from my collection.

Wedding 1

Wedding 2

Wedding 3

Wedding 4

Wedding 5

Wedding 6

Wedding 7

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