Is there such a thing as a minimalist maximalist? Because I think that's the only way to describe this space.

Sometime in February this year I decided to take a short break from my interior styling projects to focus on me. I was struggling. Between trying to settle into a (still relatively) new job, being a present mom, being a wife, running our household, having a vibrant social life, trying to get healthy and fit, and pursuing my passion for beautiful spaces, I was losing my mind. I was permanently exhausted and an emotional mess, but because I’m a virgo I acted like everything was fine; like I had my shit together, even when I was crumbling inside. I’m the type of person who can be burning but I’ll be like: “I’m good, I’m fine, just a little hot, could do with a sip of ice cold water, but I’m handling it, I can take it.” It’s real rubbish.

The plan was to take two months off, rest, figure things out, then get back to work in May. I had to postpone some jobs and turn down a few others, and that was hard, because I hate disappointing people. I was getting excited about picking up where I left off, then Ms Rona showed up.

It’s like 2020 can’t give us a break and I’m well and truly over it. This year won’t even let my skin flourish. I’m here getting these random breakouts on my face, despite hydrating, investing in my skin care, moisturising and mostly minding my own business. And then I thought I had lost a bit of weight. Went to the clinic for a check-up and had to get weighed, which is something I actively avoid. Let’s just say that the scale was an uncooperative little cow, and now I have to start taking my meal plan seriously. The one my trainer gave me in September 2019.

Anyway until Pandora decides to shut her damn box and allow us to prosper while we fervently whisper how 2021 will be our year, I’m going to keep reminiscing about past projects.

This is the last project I did before taking my break. My client wanted a modern, cosy, grown space that incorporated some of her favourite pieces from her old apartment while bringing in some new elements to signify a fresh start in this 3-bedroom duplex.

This is what it looked like before.

View of living and dining areas
View from kitchen to living room
View of dining area

This is what it looks like now.

I can’t believe how different it looks. Sofa set – Dogtas; textured paint feature wall – came with apartment; chandelier – Meydan Lightings.
Mixing the heavy wood furniture with more delicate fabrics and textures was like an exercise in sensory play. Coffee table and TV console – Kashmir Arts (Yaya Centre); floor lamp – Meydan Lightings; pillows – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre).
My client loves her books, I used them to accessorise different surfaces. Green vase – Decor Gallery Kenya; wooden tray – Tira Studio.
Brought in a bit of the Orient and texture with this stone vase filled with artificial succulents, and this coral sculpture. Both pieces from Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre); wooden tray – Tira Studio.
My client had already bought this sofa set before I started on the project, so I used the couch to dictate the colour scheme. We ended up with a mix of greys, whites and pops of pink and mauve. Seats – Dogtas; pillows – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre).
Love the hardware on this coffee table, and how the warm wood compliments the soft grey of the carpet. Coffee table – Kashmir Arts (Yaya Centre); Carpet – TACC.
I wish I’d remembered to find out what paint was used for the textured wall, but I’m pretty sure it was still cheaper than installing good quality wallpaper.
Accessorising with throws is a worthwhile hobby. And it makes you look like you put some thought into a space.
See what I’m talking about? Throw – client’s own.
Accessorising with pillows and playing with textures is another hobby. Sequined pillow, ivory pillow – Mr Price Home.
Adding the pops of pink and mauve brought a bit of playfulness into the space. Pairing them with neutrals made them less “girly” more grown-up. Pillows – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre). I don’t know why I didn’t fluff the white pillow – now it’s bugging the hell out of me!
Neutrals + texture + a hint of metallics + greenery? Yes please! Pillow – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre); floor lamp – Meydan Lightings; fiddle leaf fig (real) – Dashing Spaces.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned on the job, it’s the important of lighting in a room. I’m a fan of statement pieces that say “this room is not your average.” Chandeliers – Meydan Lightings.
I love black and white photography, and these prints by Mutua Matheka (Truthslinger) complement this wall like a dream. Wall paint – Plascon Antique Petal (43).
I basically sent him a text and said: “Hey, I like what you have on your site, but might you also have photos of a zebra’s ass? Because my client likes zebra’s asses so this could be the difference between her approving the art budget and her saying no.” And he got her some ass. Zebra photographs and framing – Mutua Matheka.
I was terrified that the dining table from her old apartment would be too big for this new space. Having it fit (with very little room to spare) was a miracle. Dining table set – client’s own; round wooden tray – Tira Studio; rose gold candle holder and candles, white vase, salt & pepper shakers – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre).
If you’ve been following me for a while then you know my obsession with natural textured rugs runs deep. I’m talking wool, jute, sisal, I love them! This one from TACC is no exception. I actually have the same one in my house.
I’m beginning to think that snake plants are replacing the monstera. These babies don’t need a tonne of attention so they’re perfect for plant killers and others who prefer to only care for humans. Plant – Dashing Spaces; planter – TACC.
I really wanted to get a good shot of these gorgeous bar stools my client got from Quinn Peaks, but the angle and lighting wouldn’t cooperate.
This console from Quinn Peaks is the first thing you see when you walk into the room. It really sets expectations for the rest of the space.
Because the console isn’t made from solid wood, like the coffee table or TV console, I thought it would be nice to add a touch of natural texture to it. Vase, stone bowl and wooden stand – Mr Price Home (Yaya Centre).
I always try to add something thoughtful to a space. This pair of brass fish from Decor Gallery was perfect for my pisces client.
The initial idea for this little nook under the staircase was a bench, then I thought it would look better with a bookshelf, but the one I wanted wouldn’t fit so I got this heavy wooden console from Kashmir Arts, which turned out to be perfect for displaying the client’s books and this mirror she had in her previous apartment. Baskets – Erika’s Antique; pillows – Dogtas (came with the seats); pampas grass – Home Decor 254; grey vase and gold hand sculpture -Mr Price Home.
Seriously though, how gorgeous are these baskets? I love the natural tones against the black leather trim and handles.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out – plus I made a new friend and she’s literally one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. And you know your work is good when your client is so happy she brings you a bottle fancy gin from abroad 🙂

Thank you for scrolling down to the 3rd layer of earth. Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3. I’ll be showing you the master bed and bath, as well as some of my favourites from other spaces around the house, including the balcony.

Until then, stay safe!


  1. I love every little detail if they house especially the nook and the plants .. cant wait to see the rest . You did a good job

  2. Your style is simply amazing and you are blessed to have clients who trust your drip and finesse in your interior decor style. Keep it up, you inspire me much!

  3. I love how you’ve used pink to look so mature. It’s like saying I’m a grown woman who still loves being a girl. Great job. Keep it up

  4. I really like this style, it’s weirdly juxtaposed (but in a good way). It’s minimal but not the soulless kind, yet it’s not cluttered and looks like someone with a personality does live there. It makes me feel like I’ll wipe every surface clean and put everything in its place but it won’t be the end of the world if I accidentally spilled coffee on something… I don’t know if this makes any sense.

  5. Gorgeous is an understatement…you really outdid yourself on this one.When are you quitting your full time job again?

  6. I am just floored! This space is gorgeous you have picked some of my favourite stockists. I have a Quinn peaks bed marked for marital bed bliss. MrP Home has really been doing the most with their accessories. Next time you’re looking for Zebras check out Joe Were (@jaydabliu) he has amazing wildlife prints as well.

  7. Wow Shiro! Job well done. One of the biggest challenges as an interior decorator is to create a beautiful yet functional space. Love your play with greys, metals, textures and soft pink. Cant wait to see the rest of the house. The person(s) who lives here is so damn lucky!!

  8. Wowww! You have an amazing gift, this looks lovely and very likely that If i owned such a space i would not leave my house.

  9. Hi just recently bumped into your page ,love everything am seeing, would like to change up my whole living space make it more family friendly.
    Live in a rental three bedroomapartment,wouldnt like anything permanent installed but just make it more homely and classy at the same time.how do I get your services 1st to consult know what is needed and budgetwise.
    Any advice is most welcomed.

  10. Such a tremendous job Shiro! The earthy tones, textures, hues and decor pieces relay authenticity on the client’s vision towards creating a space that is timeless and classic! Bravo!

  11. Hey love. I am obsessively reading through your blog and learning so much along the way. Quick question, do you have a contact for a painter that is able to do a textured wall similar to the one in this space?

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