Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sun room, entry, I dont know what it is

The  entry to my house  is awkward.You walk in , hang a sharp left and a find yourself in the "sun room" we only call it that for lack of appropriate descriptive and it has huge windows. Seriously who has a sun room in Africa? we are all trying to get away from the sun not get more of it!

so any away i  repainted and refinished the little pedestal table,  threw on a nice table cloth, some pictures to identify the residents, cleared the toys away and presto an entrance separate from the sun room.

i cant get my photos to rotate so just tilt your head pretend its a fun game
the copper plate I added for a key and stuff catcher.

The view from outside - how nice not to be met with piles of toys at the door. now stored in the dead space behind the door when it opens.see the blinding light? that is at 7.00 AM. Add onto  my ever growing to do list, sheers for sun control.
Notice the pooled curtains.Luxurious looking as proclaimed on blog sphere? No. try dusty seams. Africa is too dusty for these! grimy! I am taking them up by about 2 inches

I used a black stain for the table top I did not leave it on for too long. The table now has an ebony like pattern that I love. Lift her skirts to glimpse at the leg; someone thinks it a great place to play. I will share the  full sun room Monty after sheers, floor covering and few tweaks.

and onto  some coming soons
This coffee table that I found in a second hand shop. It has a lovely oval shape with pretty iron legs I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would discard  this piece. Must be the current madness sweeping the nation, symptoms include throwing out really good quality furniture to make room for the mass produced   laminated particle board  crap from china (not an insult) that costs a bundle(ie;stuff not allowed into my house). Their loss my gain.Am thinking silver paint. I have looked for silver leaf but cant find it. My living room needs a look at me piece and this is it.I will share on how it goes wish me luck.

Next up this chair that i found while looking fort a desk for my daughters room. it was love instant glorious i cannot live without you love. I still got the desk but sacrificed a weeks worth of lunch money to get it(lunch is over rated anyway no actually i raided the left overs -i love lunch).The seat is a lovely peacock blue linen ruined by filth i will try and save it for a lumbar pillow.

check out the cane back a rarity in these parts of the world as well as the carved details to die for  i tell you.
Am not yet decided on whether to painting or attempting to restore the wood (time has been unkind). who knows how the spirit will move me? For sanding sanding and more sanding.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My grandmother's world meets my world

When i got married,many a moon ago,the women of my extended family threw me a bridal shower as demanded by our customs. this shower was no  buy cake, invite your girlfriends and play naughty games kind of shower.
this was like all kinds of female relatives singing dancing,ululating and dispensing  questionable sound advice for marital bliss as well as assembling a trousseau.(well maybe not so different from your every day shower). 

The upside was that i made out like a bandit in the gift department. Down side, what do you do with 60 assorted tea mugs with every pattern from wolves(true story) to golf trivia? Have you ever seen golf trivia transfer ware it will give you the sads.

Some relatives wisely decided to go time tested classic. I recieved hand woven baskets ,clay pots and all kinds of calabashes and gourds to kit out my real kenyan wife kitchen.All these am glad to report hold places of honour in my house. If my house ever caught fire and all the people were safe, i would go back for these.

the hand made baskets in my living room the orange/brown one near the window was given by my mother

looking at them reminds me of child hood visits to my grandmother 's rural home. In the morning all in her kitchen ( a round mud hut with a smoky fire underneath a pot held up by 3 stones) and she would blow on the fire to make the tea boil. Hanging from the rafters were baskets just like mine only bigger which were a pantry sort of. One held maize meal another millet or sorghum others delightful surprises for her citified grand children -a giant paw-paw sweeter than candy, a sweet potato to buried in the embers of the fire to roast, some eggs, just bounty from the land given with love to her children.
she also had a big ass gourd whose contents were so sought after, so valuable, it had to stay locked up in her bedroom.the gourd contained soured milk -so delicious sweetened and eaten with  maize-meal.Whenever she came to visit  the gourd full of sour milky goodness came with her. sadly she is gone now and the baskets and gourds gone with her. I feel sorry for my children who have missed out on the experience of having an old school grandmother-their grandmothers come to to visit with chocolate and cash to buy treats . sad.

these are my gourds they live atop an Armoire in my bed room the largest one (wearing a fedora) reminds of Alice kavula my grandmother

Anyway my point? fill your home with things you love, things that have meaning to your family. make your own regardless of whether it is trendy or not

sorry about the fuzzy photos....let me show you what i use for a camera

totally state of the art maybe even cutting edge equipment

Two befores to help me stay on track.the first a table i bought to define my awkward enrty way as usual i only remembered to take photos after taking it apart and starting stripping the finish.

the table top wasn't in bad shape but i am anti stain everything mahogany so it had to change

the base it's metal and pretty i like the details at the bottom

the white stuff is soap i remembered to take photos mid wash

my trusty accomplices

my entryway also masquerades as a toy station not pretty
will post afters real soon. I know this ostrich is really rather gabby!how does one get her to shut up?
love to all autriche

Monday, March 8, 2010

swahili doors autriche style

one of my favourite destinations is Mombasa, Kenya. It is a short flight away 45mins or about four to five hours by road from Nairobi. I love the heat, the history, the food, the languid pace of life, the Swahili life style and the Swahili architecture and design.I can spend hours in 'old town' the original Swahili settlement and a world heritage site. i spend hours tramping up and down the charmingly named "ndia Kuu" literary meaning the old road. Way back when sea faring was the only means of international travel travellers would land somewhere near ndia kuu and walk up the incline into Mombasa and Kenya. everything that is Kenya as we know it is thanks to ndia kuu since that the route that brought in the west to Kenya. whether that was a good thing or not has nothing to do with this post and i aint touching it.

inserted :eye candy to provide respite from the super long lecture-as a peace offering sorry ;-)

a mishmash of the native Africans and sea faring traders including Arabs and Indians resulted in a new culture and language known as Swahili. The language thus born has become lingua franca in East Africa. as for their design especially in furniture, simply brilliant from the famed carved Swahili doors built to withstand battering by elephants to everyday pieces, they excelled and the art is still being passed on from master to apprentice .
that is the non schooled in Swahili history but think that they are the coolest version. consult someone who actually paid attention in school for better details.
the point of the long winded tale is Swahili doors see peace offering above. I love them I want one they cost an arm, a leg and a kidney. What is an ostrich to do?

look at the detailed carving with strong Arab/Islamic influences and a touch of African in the borders and it is actually being used in a Swahili style shop(swoon)
this brings me to our house, we bought it from  someone who had been unable to evict the tenant but that did not stop us. The acreage, location and price were unbeatable add to that a colonial era house ?..sold. Evil tenants be damned! Getting evil tenant guy out took a full year, lawyers, police, auctioneers and private security  wow talk of drama!  It merits a whole post or ten. The house was just about to fall down and the Reno job is the fodder for this blog. 

Evil tenant guy was running a Swahili reproduction business out of the compound so I ended up salvaging lots of bits and pieces from the rubbish pile and in the kitchen (which was awful-picture cabinetry from the fifties  painted a sickly shade of pink and stenciled with seaside motifs in  dirty ink blue shudder) there was a spice cabinet mounted on the wall OHHH score! solid rosewood and doors modeled on the Swahili doors.



Forgive the photo quality i use a phone camera and its going to betah way for some time and why wont the stupid picture center?
even with a crappy camera the hand carved details are amazing. I took it off the wall removed the shelving to mimic authentic Swahili doors in miniature ...i literally DIE! (sorry Rachel Zoe).

Am thinking on a wall with the sunlight hitting the waxed to a gleam details just so. Be still my heart.
sorry for the super long long post.