Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dakar Nest: Living Room Updates and African Textiles

I stumbled upon the chic, bohemian abode of Brooke Baker last week and swooned (first saw it here). The textiles, the plants, the copper, the light.... I love it. It just oozes that effortless, worldy sophistication I am striving for in our apartment. I would move in here in a heartbeat. First, behold this inspirational space (unfortunately not my apartment!):

More images here, here, and here. Please check them out... it was so hard to only post three!

So. lovely.

But how to achieve a similar level of sophistication in our Dakar Nest (before photos of the living room HERE)?? With limited access to quality furniture and an insatiable penchant for bright, adolescent colors... I haven't quite hit the mark. But, we've certainly been trying these past few weeks and I am pleased with the progress!

The biggest challenge lately has been sticking to a very strict budget - or rather, no budget at all :( I bought a few new things in South Africa and the U.S... and now I've decided no more spending money until I get back to a steadier income. Sigh.

As result, our progress has unfolded somewhat unexpectedly, using pieces we already owned in ways I hadn't imagined. For example, I knew I wanted a gallery wall and imagined framing ($$$) several of my prints in white and wood frames. I was resigned to waiting for more cash flow before hanging anything on the wall. But as I sifted through my frames on hand, I noticed I already had several black frames in different sizes. I'd written some off as too nicked or broken, but a new vision started to take shape.

I have admired this three dimensional gallery wall for months now, and referred to it for inspiration:

Here is our version! Not perfect, and with plenty of room to expand... but a nice start :) I hope to add some hanging elements in the future...

Our living room is large with a looooot of white wall. How to fill it?? I saw an African wax textile I LOVED last weekend and was intent on tracking it down at the fabric market to hang on the wall. But with a looming housewarming party and limited funds, I settled on hanging my Malian mud cloth instead (besides, why leave it sitting in a drawer unused??). Using a bathroom tension rod (still need to disguise the ends), some string, and two nails... up it went. And then I looked to my pile of textiles and layered a blue weaving from Senegal on top. I think the combo works! Thoughts?

P.S. The coffee table top still irks me. Must find a cheap solution.

See below a few more detail shots from around the room. The curtains I bought at Ikea have made a HUGE difference in pulling the room together. Eventually, I'd like to add a colorful trim.

The canvas baobab collage above made by yours truly on a crafting mission a couple of years ago ;)

And what has come along as planned are my new African wax pillows that just arrived from the tailor! I'm in love :) The quality is great and I LOVE the bright colors (per usual). I especially adore the hand woven fabric pillow in bright coral. I have more sizes and colors for sale if anyone is interested - hit me up for first dibs, and they'll be on Etsy soonish! I wasn't sure how the textiles would work together, but I'm very pleased for the time being (see the couch picture above as well!). I want to add more sizes and a few neutrals, but I love where we've started.

Snatched up this colorful rug in South Africa, though its actually made in India from used saris.

Well, there you have it... our most recent updates. I'm still figuring out how to up the "sophistication ante." More neutrals? Plants? Statement pieces? We shall see! I'm just happy to be at a comfortable stage where I don't walk in here itching to get things done; I can sit, enjoy some coffee, and feel peaceful at home!

And just to show the tangible progress :)

P.S. The natural light in our living room is nonexistent. I've come to terms with this (with the help of my new Ikea lamp and its gloriously warm light), but it is just not conducive to pretty photos. What can I do (besides spending wayyy too long editing the photos)??

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