The golden rule of decoration is to live with what you love and Lydia Kyankya has gone out of her way to collect items that have added beauty to her home.
She buys most of items from garage and junkyard sales where people are either disposing of stuff they rarely use or simply selling items to acquire money.
Much of the items on sale are from expatriates who have pretty much travelled the world. In a way, they are collectors.
Kyankya is a collector too and her home is full proof.
It will remind you of places like the Stone Town in Zanzibar along the Swahili coast. And from your history, you will identify with items that largely tell of the trade in the towns, made of porcelain and representative of the historical trade that had traders of different descents; the Persian, Chinese, Arabs and Portuguese.
Mariam Said, an interior designer, says: “There are homes I have visited and they have a rich coastal look which marries Arab and Portuguese designs. I am able to identify them because when I went to Portugal, I found the same structures and décor. Obviously, you can choose to have these unique ideas both at home and at your hotel,” Said says.
And to achieve the coastal look, you do not necessarily have to travel to the coast.
Said says carpenters here do the same work and it is a matter of knowing which designs you would like to achieve, share it with someone competent and have the creative furniture curved and delivered to you.
Much of the coastal works are hand-made where the natural elements are preserved, thus playing into Feng Shui as a style where architecture is largely conserved in its natural form.
It is of little wonder that Stone Town earned the recognition by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) something Diane Gallin, an American-based Feng Shui consultant, underscores particularly because the coast’s architecture blends with the land forms.
“Coastline architecture generally has a real or virtual behind the building with open, expansive land in front - open to the water.
The water side of the building (Indian Ocean) is the mouth of chi and source of energy to the building while higher ground behind is protection,” she explains.
Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonising people with the surrounding environment. Chi, as an element of Feng Shui, complements personal inspiration with building interior and exterior.
But you can also fuse the coastal look with some Ugandan antics. Kyankya says for her, it is about collecting unique items.
So, every time she is out and about, her eyes are roving in search of something exclusive.
For example, when she travelled to Bwindi to visit a friend, and saw an old, abandoned chair. She asked to have it and the family was happy to give it to her.
“I was immediately excited and asked if I could have it. They gladly gave it to me because to them, it was another old item in the house. I like old stuff and generally stuff that you will not find anywhere,” she explains.
She restored it and it is one of the living room items you cannot miss. So, you don’t have to have and keep the usual. You can get creative and have the coastal outlook without sitting by the dOcean.
How to clean seashells
1.Fill a bowl with half water and half bleach. It should be full enough to cover all of the shells completely.
2.Soak the shells in the liquid until the periostracum, the flaky, leathery covering on the shells, is removed.
3.Use a toothbrush to remove any other particles from the surface.
4.Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow them to dry completely.
5.If you are planning on displaying the shells, rubbing them with baby oil or mineral oil will give a beautiful shine.