Friday, September 30, 2011


I recently spotted these on design work life

My two worlds collide in these wines: produced by Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards in South Africa, and beautifully packaged by Adam&Co. in Boston. The names of the wines are based on three African fables. You can read them on the Tulbagh website here (and it's recommended reading!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I’m a Jozi girl, I want the warmth and glitter of gold.

With Joburg on my mind, I decided to look up Maira Koutsoudakis, who has constantly inspired me throughout her career. She recently transformed a Joburg landmark restaurant, Stephanie's, into a warm and sparkling experience called Life Grande Cafe'.

Glitz and glam is not really my thing, but this place is warm and inviting! I'd love to put on my heels and head over there! Not surprising, as this is what Maira says about the place, “The older I get, the more I believe in character, in the multilayered. I wanted to create a place of paradoxes. The decor, the food, the retail offerings and the design elements are all about contradiction and juxtaposition. It’s about combining earthy with a strong glam factor; industrial elements with luxury.”

Although there's marble and designer chairs, there is also comfort food and a wood-burning oven. There are bullets in the floor but rustic wood on the wall. The floor is marble, with inlays of thin brass stripes, about which Maira says, "I’m a Jozi girl, I want the warmth and glitter of gold.”

You can read more at Visi (where I got the images and info) or see the exquisitely designed menu here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tour South Africa: Johannesburg

Jozi in the house! We finally to get to my hometown, where I was born 'n raised. I've asked Hayley, who blogs over at everything in between. Thanks Hayley!

To recap, this is part of a series I'm hosting on South of the Sahara for anyone interested in where to visit, what to do, and what to eat in South Africa (you can also read about Cape Town and Durban). And do click on the images to see them better.

"Whatever you want to call it… is my home. I have been privileged to live in two other gorgeous cities in South Africa… but I am a Jozi girl, through and through… and a very proud one at that.

Joburg often gets a bad rap… mostly from other South Africans. But beneath the concrete city buildings, endless highways and its negative associations… lies a city that I love, a city that throbs with energy, and a city that is beautiful in its own right… you just need to take the time to discover it.

When Kirsten asked me to do this post… I thought… if I had two or three days in Joburg… what would I not want to miss out on?

A trip to Joburg, is not complete without a trip on The Gautrain. She is our newest and shiniest addition to our city. I have started with the Gautrain, as you can use her to get around most of the city {and if you have time take a trip to Pretoria, our capital city}. We are super proud of our Gautrain.

So here goes… some really cool things to do and see… in no particular order…

Shopping is a must in this city. The usual suspect always pops up… Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square. It has everything you want, from designer shops right down to the bargain buys. The mall is usually on everyone’s list. But, my favourite, has to be Melrose Arch. A great place for dinner as well… and at Christmas time… it’s full of Christmas lights. I am cheating here, but I am going to include a mall that technically falls outside of Joburg, the Irene Village Mall. If you have a chance try and spend some time in Irene, you get to experience real country life right outside the city.

Then if you want to hit the markets these are a must… Rosebank Rooftop Market, Market on Main and the newly opened Neighbourhood Goods Market.

If eating good food is your thing… like it is mine. There are few iconic places to go…

High tea at the Westcliff Hotel is a must. Besides the food been beyond divine, is the view that is the real winner. You get to see Jozi at her finest. If you are in town during Spring…it’s even more spectacular, as the Jacarandas are in full bloom.

Experience an African menu at the fabulous Moyo’s at the Zoo.

And don’t forget to experience a Jozi sunset from one of the many rooftop decks around the city, with a cocktail in hand of course.

And then of course there is the sightseeing…

Head south of Joburg… a day at Gold Reef City… seriously too much fun, especially if you have kids. And a trip to the Apartheid Museum is an emotional trip back into our history. And then, organise yourself a tour through Soweto. This is so worthwhile… and you get to experience life in this vibrant township.

A trip to the Lion and Rhino Park is key. You get to experience our wildlife up close and personal, and its literally just down the road. And a trip to the Cradle of Mankind and Maropeng.

Experience a taste of Joburg suburbia, by spending an afternoon in Parkhurst. Walking the tree lined streets, where there are dozens of outdoor restaurants and pubs, and plenty of unique shops. And not to mention the many museums and art galleries scattered across the city.

Joburg is massive, and so varied. One minute you are in the heart of skyscrapers and the next, in the middle of the country. One minute you are walking the vibrant streets of a township and the next in aisles of Louis Vuitton.

There is so much to do… you just need to embrace it and enjoy the ride.

I love Jozi.

Hopefully you will visit one day.

Do you live in a beautiful part of South Africa? Do you want to share it with us? Email me at

Monday, September 19, 2011

R & R

I am currently up north, enjoying the last breaths of late summer in Maine (yes, I wrote this ages ago). See you next week sometime!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cape Town & Design*Sponge

If you read design*sponge, you will know they just published their first book, and a newspaper, and just about everyone is writing about it.

Grace Bonney
, the blogger behind design*sponge, recently wrote about the design capitals of the world in the UK's Town and Country House magazine. She had this to say about Cape Town:

I've been dying to visit Cape Town since I first started my blog back in 2004. So many of the designers here are inspired and formed by landscapes and cultural traditions that are so different from my own that their work has an almost mystical quality for me. Textile designers and ceramicists here are working in rich, earthy palettes that are such a refreshing contrast to what I typically see in New York. A lot of the exciting restaurants and cafes in Cape Town are working with local artists to create site-specific installations that really celebrate and combine the creative communities in a great way. I love when a city can band together and connect creative people in different disciplines in a way that lets the local community really shine. I also love that many of the local designers here are focusing on using recycled materials and making them a big part of their work process.

Her suggestions for shopping in Cape Town are Abode

Bird's Boutique Cafe

Clarke's Bookshop


I thought that was very nice! But if she hasn't been, then who is really making the recommendations?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lonny Love

I know there are a lot of people out there that love Lonny. I do, too (mostly). Most of the latest issue is nice but not really mind blowing except for the awesome house in North Carolina. How gorgeous are these rooms?

And you know I'm an India Hicks fan (check out my blog roll!) . They have a great interview with her partner, David Flint Wood, with a look into their guest house, King's Treat.

There is also a sneak peek into their own residence. Of course it doesn't help at all that I'm dying to move closer to the sea, but the small touches like the bowl of cricket balls in their entrance way is the kind of thing I think really makes a house into a home.

Love, love, love.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ode to Denim, Leather, Wood and Metal

No matter the season, I love denim, leather, wood and metal. Or maybe its just blues, browns and patina that I love. Whatever. Love it.

And, of course, a little bit of soul-stirring rock.

(if you click on the images, their name will tell you where the image is from plus you will see the image bigger)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Details, Details, Details

I recently wrote about one of my favorite blogs, Blue Pool Road. How fantastic that Peggy Wong now has a her own photography website (yay!)

This pic from her guest blogging on flor's gem of a blog.

Go Bokke!

Rugby World Cup starts today (where can I get that leather jacket!?)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

South African? Foodie?

If you've said yes to the two questions above, you may want to head to Virginia this weekend (sorry for the late notice, just heard about it today!). More details here.

The menu looks yummy, to say the least.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Olivia Villet

It's been raining here all week, and it feels like it will never end - but I refuse to break out anything that is autumn wardrobe related. I will not budge out of my summer stuff until October. At least!

The image above kind of catches the mood. Its by Olivia Villet, South African illustrator and children's book author. Her work is just lovely. Great characters, with all those little details that make good stuff great.

She even transforms her characters into cushions. Adorable!

Olivia's books include Chester's Big Surprise and Sissy Buttons Takes Charge!

Her blog says she's opening an etsy shop soon... can't wait!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Crossroads

Have you seen the work of artist Gabrielle Raaff? I've seen her work here and there on South African blogs I read, and love it... and now that those in the southern hemisphere are anticipating spring and those in the northern are grasping onto our Indian summer days with all our might, it reminds me of those sleepy moments on the beach when you look up from your book, all out of sorts, the light making things seem surreal and oblique...

Ah, summer.

You can see more Gabrielle Raaff's website.