SIMPLE SAFARI: A TRAVEL-INSPIRED LIVING ROOM UPDATE
Quick! Pick one: bush safari or beach holiday? I’ve always been more of a beach girl. I love everything about the ocean: from calming ripples to crashing waves, the wonder of its depths and its endless horizons; the promise of sunrise, the serenity of its sunsets, and the way the moonlight dances over its dark waters on a clear night.
But while I wouldn’t ordinarily pick the bush over the ocean, I’m not completely averse to a comfortable bush tour, where I’m mostly protected from insects and the elements, have access to hot water on demand (two showers a day are mandatory for me), don’t have to catch or cook my own food and can forget I’m in the middle of nowhere once I sink into my bed, which must be on an actual man-made floor, with white cotton sheets and surrounded by walls or a very, very sturdy tent – not the kind that sways in the wind. See? I can do bush!
So when a client called me up and asked me whether I could pull off a safari-inspired living room update I was like hell yeah! How hard could it be to put together something with my favourite looks and textures? I’m talking leather, a bit of animal print, sisal/jute. The kind of thing you might find if you walked into the lounge/reception of a higher end camp.
The truth is: I had no idea what I was doing. I was winging it-winging it, trying to look like I knew how to do this on a somewhat tight budget and realising that accomplishing the aesthetic she wanted without going into rustic safari territory was going to be a little difficult. At least I wasn’t starting from scratch, because she already had this beautiful navy blue on her walls (Duracoat, Lights Off, 3001C), which gave me a good foundation to build from.
The plan was to reupholster the grey seats, but the cost was way above the budget so we only fixed the leather accent seats, which her kid had managed to rip while playing.
Once that was done we focused on buying accessories. This is usually the fun part, but the number of calculations I had to do to make it work gave me nightmares for a week. But it all worked out eventually so it was worth it, right? Here’s a round-up of my favourite moments.
Navy blue paint colour / Duracoat, Lights Off, 3001C
Light grey paint colour / Crown Paints, Soot, 22B15
Entryway bench / Kashmir Arts, Sarit Centre
Entryway art / Client’s own
Leather pillow cover + insert on bench / Artis Living
Light fixtures / Meydan Lightings
Sofa + leather accent chairs / Client’s own
Leather accent chair reupholstery / Santana Africa
Linen + faux leather pillow covers / Artis Living
White linen curtains and tiebacks / Client’s own
Coffee table + dhurrie / Odds & Ends
Floating shelf / Daniel, +254 723 465263
Side table between leather chairs, white ceramic vase, black sea urchin, pillar candle holders / Ashley Furniture Kenya
Tic-Tac-Toe set, black vases, lady statue, black candle holders, candles, grey throw blanket / Mr. Price Home
Brass model plane / Home Box
Gold decorative item on magazines + zebra print pillow cover / Décor Gallery
Leather magazine rack / Whitebull KE
Vintage-inspired clock / Client’s own
Rubber plant + pot / Dashing Spaces
Basket with lid / Erika’s Antique
Other baskets / Client’s own
I can’t say this was the easiest project I ever worked on, but it was definitely one of the more satisfying ones. Stay tuned for part two of this, where I’ll share the little changes we made to the client’s dining area to make it fresh – without breaking bank.
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The Cultured Cow