News & reviews: wallpaper, vintage finds and snakes

MIRANDI NEL explores inspiring artwork and wallpaper, discovers a small business sourcing and selling vintage furniture, and finds out more about Stellenbosch Snake Rescue.

Flora in full bloom

Over the past decade, design company Lemon has specialised in hand-designed artwork and wallpaper, and with every new collection, it consolidates its space in the print domain. The latest offering acknowledges history, looking back at Lemon’s own evolution as well as back in time through different periods in creative art and how flowers and foliage have been celebrated in the past. “I was particularly interested in the different ways florals have been depicted,” confirms designer and co-owner of the company Kevin Frankental. “I delved into archives from the 1800s all the way to the present.” His team trawled through online museums and libraries, searching for public domain images they could incorporate into the designs. “The inspiration comes from myriad places,” adds Kevin. “It’s hard to predict when the idea will spark.” Using designs from the Flora range is easy because they’re so versatile, adding depth to contemporary furniture and romance to antiques and period pieces.

A home from home

Maison furniture

Maison, a small business that sources and sells vintage furniture, is one of the good things to have come out of lockdown. “When the Covid-19 storm was upon us, I saw my career in tourism being put on hold for who knew how long,” explains Garance Chassing. “I could have easily freaked out but I realised the time I had to myself during lockdown was actually a gift.” Garance moved to Cape Town from France three years after completing her studies. “I planned to spend a year here but decided to stay for the lifestyle, the mountains and ocean on the doorstep, the work-life balance. Paris is wonderful, yet you work long hours and the city can be so busy. I was scared I’d get caught up in that kind of life and realise too late what really matters: to live. I love South Africa and the fact that I can build Maison as a brand with my partner Willus (owner of The Meeting Place in Dorp Street) is a bonus.” Maison means ‘home’ in French and Garance and her team encourage clients to decorate their space sustainably.

Snakes alive!

Stellenbosch Snake Rescue

Summer is snake season, the busiest time for Stellenbosch Snake Rescue. The company was founded by friends Francois and Marco, who share a love for reptiles, especially snakes. When they met Justin, the founder of Helderberg Snake Rescue, they joined forces to remove snakes found in the Stellenbosch and Helderberg communities. “We’ve built up some snake-handling experience over the years,” says Francois, “but what really started us off was the African Snakebite Institute’s Venomous Snake Awareness and Handling Course, which helps you identify snakes and covers basic handling techniques.” And, he adds, you can’t just go round relocating snakes as you have to have a permit from CapeNature. “There are rules and regulations that you need to follow. You can’t keep the snake for longer than a few days and you should try to relocate it within a 12km radius of where you found it.” Snakes are most often encountered by hikers and Francois advises, “They are generally very calm, so if you see one, stand still and wait for it to pass you. Or back away slowly.” The venomous species to look out for in the Stellenbosch area are puff adder, Cape cobra and boomslang.

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