Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Sanctuary Within a Hectic City: Our Home

 As usual, it has been ages since my last post. It's not that I forget about my blog, on the contrary, I probably think about it more than is healthy - post titles, post topics, pictures to share and things to explain. However, when it comes down to doing the work, I can usual convince myself that there are other tasks at hand that I should prioritize over a silly blog that probably only my mother reads and then only because I remind her.

So with that, I thought I would just share a little about our 'new' house without obsessing over whether or not I have all the perfect supporting photography or time to craft a creative sentences.

Way back in the days when this blog was better stocked, one of my favorite topics was our house, house projects - mainly the garden and the pizza oven - mini renovations and decorating. That was when we lived in Makindye, a darling and mainly quiet suburb of Kampala. You can read about some of that here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here .

Plot 38 Kizungu Lane, Makindye

all our worldly possessions (minus that being stored by our parents'...) packed and ready to move 

In November of 2013 (a highly underrepresented year on Inglish as a Second Language), we moved into the Big Smoke (not known as such because of a large fire as in London, but because of the massive pollution emitted by poorly maintained vehicles - Kampala City). In September of the same year, I opened my darling little shop in town. Good Glass had mainly been selling at festivals, markets, a few small craft shops and out of my garage until then, so the shop meant a great deal for us in terms of sales, accessibility and being able to display our products in a fitting manner. (Note to self: a blog post about the shop would be nice!)

photo from the grand opening before the customers arrived

With the shop in town and the workshop at our home in Makindye, I was spending far too many hours driving back and forth with a glass laden Toyota Noah. This did not even factor in the time I spent driving to my various yoga classes peppered throughout town in a city that is known for some very unreasonable and frustrating traffic jams.  As has been the case for years, Phil's office is located in Kololo, also in the center of Kampala, so a move to town would be greatly beneficial for the both of us. Phil had been making his commute fairly speedy by using boda bodas, motorcycle taxis, but as we are now in our 30s and have somehow come out unscathed after years of boda transport, we really thought it high time we try not to use them on a daily bases. And for these reasons, plus the ability to be more social without factoring how long it would take to get to a popular bar or restaurant, we moved to Nakasero.

The hunt for the perfect house took time and patience. For triple the rent, I didn't want to move into a house I only loved half as much as our cute little abode in Makindye. But being realistic, we didn't think we would find a house we loved as much (with an acre+ garden, a garage and space for Good Glass, mature trees, quiet street, and fantastic birds) so we were willing to sacrifice a little for the location. Luck would have it, we didn't have to sacrifice at all in the end.

this is our front gate. we added grass mats for privacy.
I love the honeysuckle so much and we didn't even coach it to do that.
Come on in. You are most welcome.

front door of house that we never use

smallish front garden that Felix Chill just had this jungle gym installed it. the only problem is you have to be a giant to use it. the pile of rubbish on the corner of the house is a literal ton of vermiculite, a mineral used to make very efficient pizza ovens, but now I can't eat gluten (post on that too?), so we probably won't waste our efforts on the oven....ho hum.

Plot 3 in Nakasero has a house comparable in size to our house in Makindye, although we now have 3 full baths and one half! Our kitchen here is larger which is welcome as that was probably our least favorite part of our old house.

Makindye kitchen, cleaning honey from a gerry can...
(that was meant to be a blog post long ago)
Nakasero kitchen - we replaced the counters and the floor before we moved in
(someday I might find before pictures for you and share the process)

incredibly large pantry - quick shot without tidying and organizing properly
(you should see it when I get my real OCD on)

more of the pantry - to be fair, it probably deserves its own post
(I'm adding that to the list!) (also, that is NOT where the maple syrup goes! so embarrassing)

looking back to the kitchen from standing in the pantry the space for the fridge is wear the water cooler is, but it's for wee fridges and our's is more normal size, so our's is to the left in the entry, just out of view. we had that wood cabinet made to fit the space and go around our washing machine - it stores shoes, boda helmets and inverter batteries.

Our new house has high ceilings which makes it feel large and wood floors throughout, my most favorite part!
repairing the floor before we moved in - living room
sanded floor - dining room

in the process of varnishing - guest bedroom

accent wall in the living room with finished floors

Overall, it's just a more distinguished home. It rests comfortably in an ambling acre+ triangular-ish plot, with a 2 car garage. Monica's house is behind the garage and beyond that, there was a large triangle of garden that was mainly unused. We were able to use a crane, to lift our old workshop onto a truck and haul it across town. To put it in our Nakasero garden, the crane hoisted the whole workshop over the compound wall. And there she sits, almost as lovely and put together as she was in Makindye. We also built a machine room with a concrete slab so the machines wouldn't be able to shake as much as they had in the wooden workshop. There is space for bottles still beyond that, and the whole thing exist without you hardly knowing it.

Here is the garage, my car is parked to my left and the house is behind and to my right the garage houses tons of Good Glass stuff, the rest is behind it. I'll be sure to show you sometime..

The rest of the yard is host to magnificent tropical trees of several varieties, space for a huge vegetable garden, room for passion fruit and the addition of 5 sapling orange trees.
the early days of our vegetable garden. 

There's even enough space to hold an intimate dinner party for 180 friends.
our engagement party set up

And the best part....(drumroll)....a swimming pool!
she's pretty tiny and often chilly, but lovely nonetheless

We definitely weren't looking for that, but when this lovely home had one, we thought we would 'deal' with it. Really! Like it was going to be a massive hassle, but it's such a blessing. It's not very hard to maintain, there is a little extra cost, but overall, the joy it provides is much, much more! We built this 'pool shelter' (that is what Bico the builder dubbed it) beside it to host dinners and BBQs, but it's mainly used as a yoga shala for weekend workshops, private lessons and my occasional solo morning practice.

a going away party for Hollie back in 2013

the beginning of the pool shelter
the middle of construction
all done and outfitted with wonderful yogis!
house from the back yard - pool and pool shelter up and to the left

And it is quiet here. We're not sure how. Maybe it's the trees or the way the sound travels around these hills, but for the most, we enjoy real peace. You would never guess that this is just a 15 minute walk away. Soon I'll show you more of the inside.
the taxi park

Come visit. We have 2 spare rooms and you'll have your own bathroom! Sahara and Tuna are excited to greet you.


  1. Soooo nice! It makes me want to come and check it out *now*...


  2. Makes me want to come back already! 'You are most welcome' I love it! Excited to see you soon! xo