Passion & Poison

Thankfully we are surrounded by colourful, interesting and adventurous people each day. In the years of being in this interiors trade, I have had the privilege of meeting many such colourful characters. Today’s guest, Riaan from Passion & Poison is one of them. 

I first encountered the Passion & Poison shop a few years ago. It was fun and interesting then, as it is now. As you will learn from Riaan’s interview he sources his stock from Turkey.  Stepping into this shop, is like stepping into a Turkish market – full of eastern style surprises, transporting you to that part of the world and its culture.

He has all sorts of fascinating goodies, from furniture, lamps, accessories and scatters, beds, bags, fabrics – too many to mention. I would rather encourage you to go see for yourself. Plus he is very involved in the design of his scatters, bed linen and fabrics.

Q:   What lead you to open Passion & Poison?

A:   Passion & Poison was never planned, in the sense that we ever thought of opening an interior shop, focusing on Turkish textiles and antiques.

We were in Egypt at the time, busy sourcing high-end men’s fashion suppliers with the idea of opening a small upmarket men’s clothing shop.

During our stay, my partner suggested that we should consider going to Turkey, as the flight was short.

I will never forget the next morning waking up in Istanbul, seeing the people, buildings and culture. We fell in love with this dynamic country immediately and our little clothing shop was canned! It all happened so naturally. We were like hungry foxes going through alleys and markets. Within 4 days, the foundation was set for our future shop.

Turkey is a very under estimated country with wonderful history and culture. After all the years it still feels like the morning of your birthday when you were a kid, filled with excitement for what you might get.

Q:   Why the name Passion & Poison?

A:   The name has no real meaning but it boils down to that one man’s passion might be another’s poison……..

Q:   What do you enjoy most about your ‘job’?

A:   SOURCING! I love going to all the villages, markets and suppliers – sourcing wonderful new concepts and ideas. The creative side of the textiles is another love. The whole manufacturing process from basic idea to the final item is just like one huge roller coaster ride.

Q:   What type of product do you source mostly?

A:   Textiles remain the number one item. From custom woven Hamam towels, to upmarket upholstery and curtain fabrics. Silk scarves and scatter cushions. Fabric, fabric and yet more fabric. Old ornamental pieces like fountains, pots and carpets also remains in the front line.

Q:   Your five-year plan?

A:   Unfortunately with the world economy as it is now and the political tension in South Africa, I can only hope and pray that the shop will still be in existence! It sounds harsh but it is a fact. Only hard work and remaining focused could carry one through.  So in short I am focussing on excellent client service, breathtaking stock and a lot of blood sweat and tears.

Q:   A bit more personal – what is your favourite past –time when not in the shop?

A:   I love to paint. It is my escape from reality. Otherwise I love music, cooking Turkish food and once in a navy blue moon I will watch a movie.

Q:    Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

A:   That is an extremely unfair question! I don’t have one. I have a couple. So please bear with me.  Fuscia pink, red, acid green, orange and Turquoise.

Q:   Tell us five things on your Bucket List?

1.  I want to go and stay in Turkey.

2.  I want to learn how to make sculptures

3.  I want to have a huge art exhibition

4.  I want to settle down with that “special person”.

5.  I want to visit Russia.

Q:   What do you have on your bedside table?

A:   I am reading a book for the second time called “Call me by your name”.  A rosary (which I collect), and hand cream. That’s it!

You will find Passion & Poison at the very top of Strand Street where it meets Hudson Street  in Cape Town– left hand side going up in the Hudson Building Showroom 2, De Waterkant .  Should you wish to call him, their shop number is: 021-4193840.   


Get This Look – Industrial Dining

By Marica

When I found this beautiful image on the website of renowned French photographer, Pierre-Jean Verger, I felt so inspired I just had to do a “Get the Look” for it. The core of Industrial Style is to expose elements that are usually hidden – brickwork, exposed I-beams, unfinished wood and all the nuts, bolts and mechanisms that we generally hide. Factory machinery and other bits-and-bops can easily find a new home as brilliant Industrial Style décor items. Industrial Style likes big open-plan spaces as the style originates from converted lofts, warehouses and factories. Other items and furniture that goes well with an Industrial Style space is those from the Mid-Century Modern era – feel free to throw in one or two retro items.


1. Exchange the copper Poul Henningsen lamp for this gorgeous spider-like chandelier available from Le Grange Interiors.

2. Beautiful “scaffold” shelf unit – Weylandts

3. X-Base Trestle Table – Simply Pierre 

4. Replica Jean Prouvé Standard Chair – Three6Zero (a true mid-century modern classic!)

5. Iron stool with wooden seat – Weylandts

6. Black bent-arm floor lamp – @Home

7. If you do not have an exposed brickwork wall you can always find realistic wallpaper of one – this Graham & Brown wallpaper can be ordered through Wallpaper Inn.

8. Add a bit of colour with one or two beautiful ceramic pieces – these blue jars as well as the vases and glass items on the shelves are all from Le Grange Interiors.

9. Gorgeous laminate flooring with a “distressed” effect from Floors Direct (this particular laminate even has faded French words printed on it – totally in love with it)

10. ADD THIS:   Mix and match the chairs by adding one or two of these iron beauties – available from La Grange Interiors.


Ashley Wood Inspires…

By Marica

Remember Ashley Wood? No?

The Chasing Bees Chandelier by Ashley Wood

In her Design Indaba feedback, Rose found emerging designer Ashley’s gauze bandage chandelier to be one of the most interesting designs at this year’s Indaba. We were both quite excited when Ashley mailed us shots of her latest designs – all part of her new Gauze range. Boy, we sure like what we saw! The range includes new lighting designs in addition to some awesome-looking scatter cushions (you know scatter cushions are my weakness).

Ashley, who studied fine art, designed this range exclusively for NAP living (so exciting)!

I was interested to know what she has been up to since the Indaba and what exactly inspired her work with bandage gauze as a medium…her answer was quite unexpected.

Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 15, Ashley suffered severe seizures that intensified during her 1st year of college. Most alarming was that the act of sketching induced further seizures…so her art (which she loved) became a fear. The seizures were so severe in fact, that she had to undergo brain surgery in hopes of alleviating the problem.

She noticed that, when she felt a seizure looming, she was inclined to fiddle, tear and tie anything close at hand. This act served as distraction. The experience led her to a process of creating through fiddling – the only way she could calm herself down. Art acted as therapy.

As an artist she adheres to a personal philosophy and an artistic concept of “Healing, Acceptance and dealing with Loss”. Gauze, and other medical products, therefore became a figurative embodiment of this notion. Ashley has come to love and appreciate gauze as an art material, especially its texture and varying colour qualities. It has the ability to be deconstructed and recreated into something new and entirely unrecognisable.

Ashley, who was completing her final year at the Ruth Prowse School of Art when she partook in the Design Indaba, was quite surprised by the overwhelming interest she got post-Indaba. She even had the amazing opportunity for her chandeliers to be showcased as part of a national fashion show for Kristall Mantwa in collaboration with Sharne van Rynveld.

Ashley aspires to one day have her own store featuring her art and products as well as the works of selected artists and designers. She is also currently working on new artworks for a ONE DAY art exhibition, partially curated by her and fellow Ruth Prowse graduates Katharina Foster, Adele van Heerden, Bianca de Klerk and Anya Kovas.

Ashley, you are truly an amazing inspiration and an exceptional woman! We give you the Royal Seal of Awesomeness.

Check out Ashley’s Facebook page: here

Décor Dictionary: Chinoiserie

A Chinoiserie inspired Interior by Katie Rosenfeld

Chinoiserie:   is a French term (meaning “Chinese-esque”) referring to a style in art and decoration reflecting Chinese designs or motifs. A popular style of decoration in Europe since the mid-to-late 1600s, Chinese influences were often mixed in with the more European Rococo style. The Style often features decorative Chinese latticework, lacquer and gold, bamboo, and wallpaper & ceramics featuring orient-inspired toiles, Chinese landscapes and foliage.

Image via

Quick Tips - Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Quick Tip #7: A Scatter Cushion No-No

A BIG scatter cushion no-no and one of our pet-peeves…

#7   Whether it’s on your bed or on your sofa, never ever arrange scatter cushions at 45 degree angle (aka the dreaded diamond shape) – it looks terribly tacky and old-fashioned (“lekker oudoos”). No matter how beautiful the cushion, putting it at a 45 degree angle does your sofa no favours as it disrupts the natural eye-line of your space.  

Images via Dreamstime

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5-Star Mauritian Resorts

Eventually I will be able to shake that Island feeling off, but in the meantime, I thought that I should just share some images and information on some of the 5 Star Resort accommodations that I encountered while in Mauritius.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The Island of Mauritius is not big at all.  In fact we drove from the north to the south and back in about 8 hours. But the coastline all around the island is littered with hotels and resorts. They come in all shapes and sizes, from your every day club type resort, to the luxury hotels. I could not even begin to go into all the activities that these resorts offer as it is vast, suffice to say – plenty-  all water sports (ski-ing, parachute surfing, tube riding, yachting, snorkelling and more) to kids activities, spa treatments and golfing.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

We decided to do the budget style (self-catering) and despite the fact that this did not include ‘on tap’ water sports and all, our accommodation was superb.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

However, just a spit away from our villa, fabulous 5 star resorts were to be found – two of the best in the north of the island. I managed to pop into the Le Cardinal Luxury Hotel and was ushered around their public areas, penthouse and deluxe rooms. It is only two years old and still in sparkling condition.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The penthouse is spacious and very well decorated – very 5 star indeed. The finishes and features are dark wood – very luxury island style. There is of course the added bonus of having your own Jacuzzi and outdoor deck. The bathroom is totally oversized and fitted with dark marble – total sense of opulence, although a bit on the masculine side for me.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

The Hotel has been built in a tiered structure to facilitate the view of the ocean for each and every room. Naturally they are right on the beach (as is about 90% of them I think). But that has not stopped them from building a stunning swimming pool, which each room also looks down on. As I said – luxury.

Le Cardinal Resort - Image via Le Cardinal

I must admit that I did find their public areas design and décor a little toned down for the luxury experience that they offer in the bedrooms and elsewhere, which is often the case in luxury accommodation. I feel that as you step in, you should be fully aware of the fact that this is a luxurious space – you are paying for that kinda treatment after all.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches
Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

The other 5 star Resort and Spa is the ‘Trou Aux Biche Hotel and Spa Resort’. This is a very big resort, stretching for what seems forever along the beach. They have in the last year or so, added into their accommodation, the most awesome freestanding ‘bungalows’ (for want of a better description) – right on the beachfront.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Although the interiors are top class in terms of the quality of the finishes used, the furnishings are kept to a minimum – very contemporary island style. The luxury is translated to you the guest, by way of these top quality finishes and a sense of exclusivity. Solid wood found throughout. In fact, the coffee table bases are solid wooden tree trunks – extremely heavy to carry. While on the beach one day, we saw 6 men slowly but surely moving this ‘tree trunk table base’ from one bungalow to the next. Get the picture now!

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

This resort caters a great deal for families. If you have kiddies, believe me they will have the facilities to help keep the kids busy whether in the water or on land.

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches
Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

I must admit that I had a bit of a ‘negative’ experience with the staff of this resort when I tried to approach them for a ‘site inspection’. I wanted to interview either the PR person or a Manager just to get the load down on the hotel, especially since I heard that South African interior designers had been involved with the recent re-furbishing. Unlike Le Cardinal where the management were accessible, open, welcoming and informative, here at Trou Aux Biche Hotel I could not even get close to the Duty Manager. Or even get a call returned by whomever.  They adopted a cautious corporate approach and eventually I just gave up on it.  Such a pity. What if I was Donald Trump or Sol Kerzner (because of The One and Only Hotel, they all know of him) – do you think I would have had the same treatment? I wonder?

Trou Aux Biches Resort - Image via Trou Aux Biches

Hope you enjoyed a sneak peek into the luxury resorts. If you have had a trip to the island, tell us a little of your experience.

For more info and gorgeous images check out the Le Cardinal Resort’s website: here and Trou Aux Biches Resort’s website: here.

All images sourced from the establishments’ respective websites.