My friend Moira over at Palm Tree Tea did this amazing post giving a tour of her Dakar apartment and how she has made it their home. I loved it. I immediately wanted to do one. And then I didn’t want to because it seemed too personal. And then I did because I love seeing other people’s homes… You get the idea. But what actually convinced me was an article I read on why we should regularly photograph the places/spaces we live because it all changes so quickly.
Easier said than done, sama xarit. Capturing your space looking as it does when you live in it but not looking like a total disaster (ahem, nod to the kiddos)… Not so simple. But it was a fun challenge to tackle, and these are the ones I felt like sharing.
My number one tip for making a place in Dakar really feel like your home… paint. It seemed like every house or apartment we visited either had chalky white walls or creamy yellow, which just made the rooms feel even hotter. So my genius husband negotiated in our rental contract that we would paint on arrival rather than upon our departure. So when we moved in, it had not been repainted since the previous tenants (moderate levels of ick) but we were able to choose our own palette. I went a little overboard with the blues, but I wanted something DIFFERENT and in COOL TONES. There is not a white or beige or yellow wall left anywhere inside our apartment. 🙂
Tip number two would be to understand that the woven baskets from Thies cost us next to nothing but retail in the US for hundreds of dollars. And they can be used for laundry baskets, decorative potted plant containers, storing kids’ books, holding rolled towels, fruit or bread baskets, massive toy bins, organizing toiletries… Or, you know, just looking awesome.
Tip number three if you’ll be here a while is to shop the spring yard sales. We bought what we needed to survive the first year (which, as some friends remember, did not even include chairs to go around the table) and then slowly added and replaced. Fortunately our moving in timed exactly with a family who was leaving, so we were able to buy almost everything we needed at once. Nearly every piece of furniture and all but one major appliance came from yard sales.
After all, love makes a house a home. That and plenty of toys and laundry laying around. Just not in photos. 😉