Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Painting Project

In a previous life, I fancied myself a decorator. I often helped my mom and friends pick color palettes, new furniture and arrangements. I would spend an extravagant amount of time coming up with the perfect center pieces for my mother's dinner parties and even more time dreaming and scheming of new curtains, paint colors, furniture configurations, and accessories which would make every room perfect. I have a distinct memory of arranging the nick-knacks on Kamille's bedroom shelves into an idyllic scene until the wee hours of the morning. When her mom came in to see we were still awake, she promptly accused us of being on something. Such was the love I had for interior design..

Since moving to Africa, I have had little chance to exercise this creative energy. My first residence in Kampala was Claire Infield's home where I moved from Olivia's room to Phil's room to Noah's old room with Phil. Here, the extent of my decorating involved hanging up one of Phil's flying maps of Congo on the wall.

Claire decided to move across the street that summer to a much better home. She planned it perfectly. The move would take place one week after her departure for England where Claire spends every summer. She had everything covered as Phil had volunteered for the task of moving coordinator, saying it would be "a piece of piss," and unknown to me, had also offered my services for the mission. Thanks to our incredible team, Sunday, Juliet, Grace, David, and Rogers, and a last minute hire of a mini semi truck, all 12 beds, 23 bookcases, multiple dressers, a dinning table with 10 chairs, desks, 2 refrigerators, couches, coffee tables and boxes filled with the compilation of nearly 16 years worth of Claire's stuff made it safely into the new house. Now was the fun part. Even though I was exhausted from the move, the idea of picking the layout of a 5 bedroom home plus 4 outdoor rooms was bliss. For several days, I told Phil where to hang this, Sunday where to move that, and although the items were not my own nor were they always ideal for the space, I was in decorating heaven. In this house, I had two different rooms.

Claire's second house

our second room complete with en suite bathroom and private balcony

In August last year, we moved into Sarah and Andrew Hodges' guesthouse. We never even unpacked all our things, but the view was to die for.

We finally have our own space....sort of. We are subletting a lovely 3 bedroom house from the Crighton's, an English family who have returned to the UK for an undetermined amount of time. Until now, I had quenched my decorating thirst by sticky-tacking photos on the walls, buying a few throw pillows, or putting another potted plant on the veranda. But recently, the urge has been growing and these trivial alterations were not a fix. Although we did not consult the Crighton's nor did we ask permission from Apollo Nsabambi, the home owner and Prime Minister of Uganda, we have added a little personality and a lot of warmth with some paint. A simple weekend project:

living room wall before

look at the attention to detail - thanks for all your help Elsie!


a very bland and boring kitchen

Els sanding with her very cool boda sunglasses as protection

doing some demolition

standing in a traffic cone - the orange did not stay for long

putting on the first of 2 coats of white to cover the orange

I had to call for back-up for the 4th coat in the kitchen
Sam, the gardener, is also an excellent painter

Henry was a pro

finally, a kitchen I can live with

guest bath before

completed bathroom with Zanzibar pics

1 comment:

  1. just found your email about the blog and am sharing it with G-ma. Imust share the orange room with Anna she would have liked it. They all look great. Hope your creative genius is feeeling quite excersized.