15 February 2019

The Brightest Kitchen in Kigali!

I'm so excited to share with everyone my latest kitchen interior design project, and the bright young woman who lives here! 

Claire is a neighbor, a friend, and a client of NAFASI! She had just decided she was ready to settle into her Kigali house, but wasn't quite satisfied with it as her and her son's home. Luckily Claire called on NAFASI, had some great visions of what home meant to her, and we opened up her space into the cheery welcoming kitchen you see now! 

This is how it used to look:
Can you believe it!?!?

Claire worked with her landlord, as she is renting the house, to share costs for the renovation. It was win-win for everyone! A lot of landlords are ready to make renovations on older homes, and willing to pay for the renovation costs that come with it. Claire was responsible for the interior design costs. This way the owner is able to get free design, and the value increases greatly on their home, and the tenant gets the home they actually want, free of renovation costs. It's a great solution any way you look at it! 

Now, let's meet Claire...

Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? What do you do for work? and for fun? How long have you been in Rwanda, and why did you choose to nest here? 

My name is Claire and I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve been living in Rwanda for nearly 7 years, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rusizi district and then working in Field Operations at One Acre Fund, helping small scale farmers across the country to increase their yield and incomes. For fun, I enjoy yoga, boxing, reading, traveling, board games, playing basketball games with my son, and blogging occasionally at http://seekingclaire-ity.blogspot.com

Who lives in your home? How do you like to live? What is an average day like at home? 

My 10 year old son D’Assise, whom I adopted here in Rwanda and I live alone but we’re lucky to have two guest rooms where friends, family, and even perfect strangers stay (I’m a host on Couchsurfing, so people can sign up to stay with me for free). It feels just right for us. I love hosting friends and value hospitality, so I have friends over pretty regularly for drinks, dinner, or boardgames. An average day for D’Assise usually involves waking around 5:45 am to get him ready for school, doing a boxing class or some yoga, a quick shower, and then heading out to work at our Kigali office on my scooter. After work, we’ll often play basketball for a bit after D’Assise is done with his homework, and eat dinner together (he prefers Rwanda food, I usually throw together something more American). By 8:30, he’s getting ready for bed. We normally read together every night, and he usually likes me to stay in his room until he falls asleep. 

Your color palette is so bright and fun! Have you always had a certain vision for your designed home? What has influenced or inspired your style?

I’d say the two things that really influenced my style were traveling and adopting my son! So many homegoods in my house come from my travels: rugs from Morocco, lamps from Egypt, beautiful wooden frames and carvings from Zanzibar, some pillows from Turkey, and my big comfy couch from here in Rwanda! And certain cities really inspire me too; I went to Cartagena, Colombia last year and all the bright colorful buildings just felt like the tropical vibe I wanted for my house in Kigali. Becoming a family was my second inspiration. I wanted our house to feel like a home to my son as well, so I added a few Rwandan accents like Agaseke (peace baskets) and the word “Amahoro” in block letters (which means “Peace” in Kinyarwanda, and it’s also my Peace Corps nickname!) in our kitchen to make sure it feels like our home, not just my home. 

Was this your first time hiring an interior designer? If so, what did you expect from the process? 

This was my very first time working with a designer! Going in, I expected to walk away with designs for a kitchen and bathroom I’d love (spoiler alert: I did), but what was unexpected to me was actually understanding my own style through the process. Teri took me through a fun exercise in the consultation that really made me realize what I liked and what I definitely didn’t like, and that was super cool. In the same consultation, Teri also asked me questions about what I like to do in my house and what I value. It was unexpected at first and I had to reflect on what I really wanted. I wanted a space that felt comfortable to both my son and I. I wanted to be able to host a lot and to have people over but not be isolated from them if I was checking on food or mixing up drinks. I wanted my house to feel sunny and bright and reflect my personality. I didn’t realize before the consultation how much the things I value would play into the final design and how much Teri would really prioritize those things. 

Do you find that your style was represented through NAFASI's work on your home? How do you describe the experience working with NAFASI? How has your home life changed in the process? 

Definitely! Before working with NAFASI, I would be able to say certain things I liked in a house, but didn’t really have a strong sense of what I liked or didn’t like, what I valued in a house or didn’t care about, and how that might impact design and style decisions. In the consultation I really felt like Teri took the time to understand my style and what I really wanted, and the final results really reflect that (for instance, the open floor concept and breakfast bar allow me to still be interacting with guests while I finalize meal prep or to talk to D’Assise while he’s doing homework. The house before felt like a house I was renting, but it didn’t feel like MINE. Now every room I walk through really represents my style. I immediately feel so happy and comfortable when I come through the door, and I hope my guests do too. 

Thanks so much for interviewing with us, Claire! This was definitely a super positive project to work on, and Claire's energy fills up her new home! Thanks for reading along, and I'll leave you with a few before and afters of the kitchen! It's a little hard to understand, because there are a ton of walls and hallways that we knocked down, opening up more space, but each before and after comparison is shot from the same(-ish) angle!

view of kitchen

view of front door

view of hallway

There you have it! Please contact me (here) if you are ready to personalize your home too, just like Claire did! And check my website portfolio (here) to see all of Claire's house photos added soon! Thanks so much for reading.


01 February 2019

We've Waited Long Enough!

It is now time for the big reveal!!!!! I have had such a huge internal debate over when I was ready to share finished photos of our home in Kigali. While most of our friends would have said it was completely done 6 months ago (!) I still don't actually feel like it's really finished.  I'm still changing up porch furniture, debating curtains, and I'm not quite pleased with the legs of the island yet- to name a few! 

However,  it is time to get the photos out there, and to move on with all of the other Kigali homes and projects I've been working on and need to share with you too! I will be sure to update the blog with all of my own home changes as I make them. And you know I will! ;)

So let's take a brief home tour of only the best shots for now! Starting with our front porch. I hope you like it!!! Keep in mind, I could do this for you and your home too. ;) (www.nafasiinteriors.com)

I added these breezey curtains for a vacation-y relaxing vibe. 

I wanted the decor to be organic and natural, yet...

Still vibrant and colorful! This is the outdoor greeting of the house. It sets the stage!

Welcome inside! Here's the Entryway! (and Nami)

Here is our Entry, Hallway, and island of the Kitchen. This big main room is the heart of our home. The Kitchen, Dining Room, Entry and Living Room are all open to each other.

This home design was an attempt at a more dramatic, mature space for Patrick and I. Coming away from our Rubengera home in the hills (click to see,) with all of it's playful color, I was feeling ready for a more moody scene here. Plus, the setting of the home works well with the design, as the house sits very low, privately in a valley. 

This show stopper end table and chair in the Living Room!!

Our cozy Living Room!

The view from the Hallway. Here you can see the use of black on the walls, as well as white,  set apart by an added brick beam. 

Here's our open kitchen. It is so nice to entertain and have everyone in one big open space! 

This is the blog from installing the whole kitchen! 

Saddle up! 

Kitchen looking at Dining Room

Colorful and classy. Formal and casual, both at the same time. 

Then, beyond the Main open room, down the hallway you'll find the Bathroom.

I have been keeping my own bathrooms pretty natural and calm lately. I think I want to make my showers feel as spa-like as I can, so maybe that's why! 

It is very relaxing. Candles, plants, rainfall shower head. :)

Then you remember the guest room of course. (Read more from the blog on it here.)

And lastly, the Master Bedroom.

This room blends masculinity and femininity to a T with floral on black bedding, a soft pink yet geometric rug, khaki curtains with a more delicate pom pom trim, and canvas rope lights and a heavy black dresser with softer accessories. The room is simple and minimal, yet still dances with pattern. 

Can't resist this bed shot!

Simplicity in Design

Let's end on some bedroom sunlight :)

So that was the whole tour of our home! But I guess we can't forget about The Art House in our yard as well! (Click to read the blog on that too!)

This is where I unleashed all the color!!! 

Well, I must admit, after finishing this blog, it does feel like a release to let the design out into the world! Perfectionist or not, I think it's pretty darn good so far! ;) 

I would be interested in doing more home tours around Kigali. If you're proud of your home and want to be featured on my blog, we could all use the design and furniture ideas in this town! So please email me, and we can discuss more. And if you'd like some help with your design before releasing it into the world- I can help with that too! :) tericlar@nafasiinteriors.com

Thank you all so much for reading and following along on another fun design and transition of home, and life. :) 


23 January 2019

Paintings and Porches and Puppies, Oh My!

A few of you have been asking about the "imigongo" style mural behind the bed in The Art House Airbnb space. I thought I'd take this opportunity to go back and show a detailed look at that painting and how I did it! Take a look:

I started with my chosen paint colors...

Then I nailed canvas into the wall, in case I'd want to keep the "mural" when I was all done! ;)

The whole Art House was pretty bare. All I knew is I wanted to make that mural first. The rest would follow!

I pressed into the canvas to adhere it to the wall and I was all set to paint!

I started off drawing the design on a small piece of paper, and then free-handed it onto the wall, making any additions or edits I wanted as I went.

I colored it in, from the top to the bottom, color by color.

By the end of the night, I had the color blocking done!

There she was, greeting me the next morning! 

Then I detailed by adding the black edges, starting on the bottom right. 

It took all day...

I spent the whole last day evening out colors all the way to the edges, and adding coats of paint...

Ta daaaaa! This photo is with the bed added, and temporary curtains.

We then slowly added some furniture to the kitchen too. This shot was taken before any art was hung, or the tiles were replaced.

Rearranging and designing to perfection!

Then all the furniture was in, the curtains were in place, and it was ready to go! (You remember the finished photos from last week's blog here.)

Meanwhile in the front porch of the Main House...
It was the very last room we worked on, and I have no idea why! I LOVE being outside on the front porch. I started by getting these sheer curtains made and hung. Nothing says relaxation like a breezy white outdoor curtain, in my opinion.

Then I made this modern outdoor sofa... which works perfectly!

And I think every porch needs a rocker. Even if it's modern. And especially if it's for 2.

Much family time is had out here. (The coffee table was also added!)

New rug, same chandelier! 

And this is where we'll leave you! The final pics of our main house, including the porch, are coming soon. So stay tuned!! And thanks again for reading.