A space for the special

I've never been a fan of living in the city, so Eric and I have tried to make our home into a bit of a sanctuary, even if we only get a quarter of an acre to work with.  We use the little space we have to retreat from the Kampala crazy and I like to pretend our home is a cottage in the middle of a tropical jungle.  With this in mind, and through the inspiration of Swahili chic decor, we combined form and function on the roof of our staff quarters to make a jungalow rooftop lounge, complete with a view of a tiny slice of Lake Victoria.

We had to work around our water tank, but we still managed to make a space that we use for the Special.  This year, we've used this small, calming space to host friends for sundowners or brunch, to throw a birthing blessingway, and mostly for my morning yoga and contemplation.  With a child in the house, it's a treat to step away, even if it is in the back yard, to re-fuel for a bit.  It's a simple set-up, but it's much-loved.  This space for the special brings sunbirds who drink water from the vine's flowers and lets me watch the hawks and ibis as they glide into the treetops at my height.

Hope to host you here soon.  It will be special to have you.

Swahili doors

Swahili doors are certainly the most outstanding aspect of Swahili architecture.  The carved wood adorning the entrances in many homes and buildings beckons visitors.  From our walks around the old towns of Lamu and Zanzibar, I captured several of these doors, all of them uniquely made, and I wanted to enter into each one and explore what was inside, but I managed to control myself.  They are beautiful, yes?


Swahili architecture and decor

The Swahili coast offers a lot to brag about - from the white sand beaches and warm ocean waves to the eclectic mix of cultures, that part of our world has undoubtedly won my admiration.  I've been lucky enough to snag 2 visits to the Swahili coast in the last few months - one to Zanzibar, Tanzania and another to Lamu, Kenya, both old towns with much history and culture to offer; but one of my favorite aspects of Swahili culture remains the style and decor of their buildings and living spaces.

Swahili chic style has become my favorite inspiration for my own home. The Swahili style combines several cultures, bringing together influences from Arab, Indian, and African styles.  In Swahili buildings, the indoor and outdoor flow into one another, with the ocean breeze wafting through it all.  The Swahili people use natural and local materials for construction and decor, and incorporate fine detail in just the right places.  But best of all, Swahili style represents how beauty is found in simplicity.

Here are a few pictures from my time in Zanzibar and Lamu to show you what I mean.