A VERY WELCOME GUEST’S ROOM UPDATE

A little monochrome space never hurt nobody

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut lately; wanting to do so much and having all these seemingly amazing ideas in my mind, but at the same time immobilised by the sheer magnitude of all I’d like to accomplish, procrastination and fear of failure. That, and struggling to love some of the things in my life that occupy most of my time; trying to balance the things I want for me with expectations from those around me and responsibilities that confirm that adulthood is the real scam.

I’m trying to get out of my head; trying not to overthink things, to shush that voice that keeps telling me that if I can’t do things perfectly then I shouldn’t do them at all. The problem is that I’m a virgo – I’m extremely stubborn, slightly obsessed with perfection, and I spend way too much time criticising my work. It drives me effing nuts sometimes!

It’s part of the reason I’ve taken so long to share this nanny’s/guest room update. I’ve been wanting to do the room for about a year, but I kept pushing it first because I couldn’t decide what look I wanted to go with, and then once I knew, I just didn’t have the money to do it.

But the Lord works in mysterious ways, because I ended up collaborating with some of my favourite brands and stores to put it together, and spending very little of my own money to do the room. Miracles are real guys, and getting to a place where brands trust me enough to give me free stuff is a miracle in itself – it also doesn’t hurt one bit, and I’m immensely grateful.

When I posted sneak peeks of the room sometime back a few people messaged me asking whether this was really our nanny’s/domestic manager’s/whatever you call your help’s room, and asked me why I bothered to do it in the first place. I get it. I know it’s not something we usually do (as Kenyans I guess), going out of our way to make sure the people we hire to keep our homes clean, watch our kids and generally make us comfortable are also comfortable beyond the basics. We are generally distrustful of domestic help.

But here’s what I think: first of all, this is not the “maid’s room”. It’s a room in our house that our nanny sleeps in. Second, if I can leave my child and most precious possessions in her care, surely I can trust her with nice things – even though they don’t become hers because they’re in her room: they’re still my things. Third, it just felt really wrong for me to do the rest of the house and not touch her room. I want her to feel like she also belongs here.

Anyway, the room isn’t done-done yet: I still want to paint it a more interesting colour, maybe go for a two-tone look that includes black or some other dark colour, fix parts of the wall that got water damage, and to cover the closets in some matte vinyl once I get the money. I figure if I wait until that’s done I’ll take another six months to share this space, so here goes!

Before: To be fair, the room wasn’t horrible. It was just meh. It felt like someone else’s house. Sold the bed and glass side tables/stools to make room for the good stuff.
Before: We used to have the shorter curtains, the ones that look like a crop top, but I replaced them with these adult ones after getting fabric during the 2019 Tile & Carpet sale. I got the pendant light from Glow Lighting around July 2019. It sat in a box for a while after the electrician refused to install it in my bathroom saying the moisture would ruin it, then I decided to bring it in here.
Before: I don’t hate the colour on the wall, which is a light grey silk vinyl from Duracoat (Moon & Stars I think) but I’d love something with more personality. I’m thinking of going a little moody with the space, should I do it?
Before: I really hated that purple shag carpet. It reminded me of COTU functions and Francis Atwoli. Even the pendant light couldn’t distract the eye from it.
After: I still have the same wall colour, pendant light (Glow Lighting) and curtains (Tile & Carpet). Swapped out the old bed for this industrial-inspired custom bed, nightstands and bench by Tira Studio, who are one of my current favourite furniture makers – and they’re woman-owned! Disclaimer: the natural light was crap when I was taking these photos, but it was either I wait or make do. I chose to make do.
I got this tribal-inspired black and white carpet from Odds & Ends during their sale in December 2019 while shopping for some clients, and I couldn’t leave it.  The pillows on the bench are oldies from TACC and Smartlady Home, which I had lying around the house. The picture on the wall is one of my favourites. It was taken by Stephen Ouma, a photographer I used to work with. I blew it up and framed it and found it a home here. It’s also the first piece of art I’ve installed by myself, and now I feel like such a badass. 
I’d really like to buy more prints from Kenyan photographers this year. There’s something about beautiful photos that excites me. Photo – Stephen Ouma. I’m not crazy about this light though so I’ll eventually change it.
Tribal-inspired wall hanging – Mats By Vee. We met during the first Savannah Space street fair I attended and she offered to make me a custom piece. I love how passionate she is about her craft, and how the piece turned out. Mud cloth inspired laundry basket: Savannah Space; Pillows – Smartlady Home and Imani Home Styles Bed & bench – Tira Studio; Bedside lamps – Meydan Lightings
I wish I could remember where I bought the duvet and pillow cover set from, but I don’t. The throw is from Smartlady Home (you can tell I’m one of their biggest fans by now). I’d love to replace the curtain box with modern rods installed higher up, closer to the ceiling to give the illusion of height, but we’re renting so I can’t do much about that. I’d also love to get a new mattress, this one feels like it’s seen better days.
This is the carpet we deserve. It feels so good underfoot, and is relatively easy to keep clean. I’d love to get something similar for my daughter’s room, and you’re about to see very many pictures of my feet on it. (Carpet, Odds & Ends)
No room in this house is complete without baskets, and I’m grateful to Erika’s Antique for feeding this obsession so well I can afford to style one basket with another.
One of the baskets was supposed to be used as a planter, but then I was gifted a plant and planter so I’ll keep them like this for a while. Let’s call it layering and make it sound intentional. (Baskets – Erika’s Antique)
I’m thinking I should’ve put something on top of this bench for styling purposes, but it’s still cute. Bench – Tira Studio; Rattan basket – Home Decor 254; Mud cloth-inspired laundry basket – Savannah Space.
Found this cute little note from Lilly of Home Decor 254 when I was moving the basket, which was a Christmas gift. I’m a sucker for handwritten notes 🙂
Obsessed with this pendant light. I originally thought it looked too much like a football, but it’s really grown on me!
I thought I was going to get an artificial plant for this room because I’m a plant killer, but Margaret from Dashing Spaces decided to either test me or show me how much she believes in me by gifting me this plant. Nightstand – Tira Studio.
My intention is not to kill her. Maybe if I give her a name I’ll become attached to her and put some effort into keeping her alive. I really like having some greenery in the room.
She’s supposed to be low maintenance and came with care instructions. Still laughing at the “add fertilizer once a month” part. I can barely remember to water plants, and Margaret wants me to use fertilizer. This might be an exercise in futility.
Created this cute little mixed metallics situation here with a brushed brass lamp from Meydan Lightings, bronze picture frame from TACC with a geometric card from Haute Baso and this vanilla scented candle from D’Vine (find them at The Hub, Karen).
I haven’t lit it yet, but it smelled so good at the shop that I couldn’t leave it. Really hoping it burns well because if it does, it’ll be my go-to locally made candle brand. Others have dissapointed me greatly.
Square pillows – Smartlady Home; Rectangular pillow – Imani Home Styles. I’m surprised the tassels have lasted this long: my child is a serial tassel puller.
Please, if you’re reading this and work in property development, consider installing power outlets on floors not just walls, so that we don’t have unsightly cables running all over the floors for us to have light. Thanks!
Decided to play with mixed metals on this side as well, with the brushed brass lamp from Meydan Lightings and cute little vintage alarm clock from Coffee Creatives, in copper.
Look at the grain on that wood! Nightstand – Tira Studio.
This custom mirror by Daniel (0723 465 263) was actually meant to be for a client, but some changes were made to her bedroom and they took up space meant for the mirror so I brought this baby home instead of selling it.
I saw a similar mirror by Anthropologie and was so inspired by it that I asked Daniel to make me something similar, because who doesn’t love a big-ass mirror?!
I feel like a dark wall would really bring out the brass, but I’m not sure I want to commit to it just yet – especially since I want to go dark with the closets. Might do something similar to what I have in my kitchen for the close doors, and do a half-n-half with the wall.
These wall hangings from Smartlady Home were supposed to go to my daughter’s room, but I used up all the wall space with floating shelves so I brought them here for a pop of colour.
Got a few scratches on the wall that I only noticed the other day. The perfectionist in me is screaming on the inside.
My little assistant and her chipped nail polish are also wondering who we could just ignore this water damage. Hoping to have it fixed soon.

That’s it! That’s the room update I’ve been saying I’ll show you for weeks now. I still have a few more things to do, but I like how it’s come together. I’d love to know what you guys think, and if you have any questions, shoot.

Thanks for reading!

*For product pricing please reach out to suppliers/vendors

16 Comments
  1. I love the seamless flow in your decor that you can move from one room to the next and feel like they are connected this is such a cool thing! Oh and please post more Youtube videos. Thanks!

  2. Love it. I can’t wait to see how you will cover the wardrobe so that I get a little inspiration on how to go about updating mine.

  3. Happy to finally get to see the space. It’s lovely and I hope your help appreciates all the work that has gone into it. Thank goodnes you had given us a sneek preview ‘ages’ ago. You won’t believe I already got tirastudio to make me a similar bed (with a few modifications). The bed, rug and the table lamps were my favourite. Just a thought, would you consider textured wallpaper as opposed to paint?

  4. Hello
    Hope all is well with you and your family.
    The guest room looks amazing i think more than amazing i just love your design its just magical. i cant wait for the day my room would look even half of how your guest room looks.

    Loads of love
    Regards
    Mariam

  5. loove the room!
    please keep us updated on the candles because most of these Kenyan brands can really disappoint and am tired of wasting money

  6. I think the mirror is my favourite thing about the upgrade.
    Also, I think the upgrade as a whole will do great things for your nanny’s esteem – like you said, she’ll feel like she’s a part of you guys and that’s so special so well in.
    Really really thrilled about this, it looks great

  7. The room is tastefully done and I am especially impressed on your comment about the nanny and making her feel that she belongs.

    I am very curious about the basket on the left corner?

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