Archives for posts with tag: Decorating

Over the past several years a new obsession has quietly crept up on me.  I find it difficult to walk past a basket without stopping to examine it and, more often than not, buying it and bringing it home. Something to do with the shape, texture and ‘organic’ nature of baskets hold an irresistible attraction for me and despite my determination to keep this house as uncluttered as possible, my collection of ‘woven-ware’ is growing steadily.


A window display in Cape Town.

Loving baskets as I do, Africa is a good place to live.  Baskets abound.  There are weavers on street corners, piles of baskets at markets and some beautiful examples in many of our loveliest decor stores.  But discovering Amatuli in Kramerville is like walking into Basket Heaven.



There are baskets of every size, shape and colour imaginable.  They come from all over the African continent and I am particularly drawn to the Bohero Baskets.  These are made from plant fibres by the Bohero people who live on the borders or Zimbabwe and Zambia to our north. They are used for carrying and storing food.  No two are alike and there is something very appealing about their form. So far, I have succumbed to three large ones which are under the stairs and a couple of smaller ones which are now on bookshelves.


Small Behero baskets and woven Zulu hats in the library

Basically, there are baskets all over the house:



Three shallow (originally brown) African baskets, now painted in duck egg, hang above the headboard.

Art Africa in Parkview is another source of beautiful basket-ware, along with a huge variety of other African craft work.  The brightly coloured baskets on the wall come from there.  They are made with telephone wire, rather than grasses or reeds.



Art Africa.  Mind-boggling choices.


Art Africa.  Just love these black and white wire baskets.

An abundance of basket-ware…

In most South African towns it is not unusual to find street vendors selling basket-ware on pavements, street corners, traffic intersections and, of course, markets.  I have only to go a couple of blocks to find Khosi who comes from Swaziland.  She makes beautiful baskets and floor runners and can be found most days of the month on a corner of 4th Avenue in Parkhurst.

The woven grass runner in the kitchen area of the guest suite was made by Khosi.

And finally, it seems my passion for baskets extends to all members of the household…


Wow.  It’s been absolutely ages since I updated this blog.  Home-in-the-Making is ‘made’ but, as any homeowner knows, homes are never ‘finished.’  There’s still quite a lot going on here and a few things still have to happen.


I asked my local street corner ‘Beader’ to make little yellow chickens.  I think I got ducklings instead.


So this is a quick update.  As usual in Johannesburg at this time of year, there is a distinctly autumnal feel in the air.  As recently as last week though, we were still having thunderstorms and heavy rain and the drought in this part of the country has been well and truly broken.  After just one storm on Friday, I measured 20ml of rain.


It’s fairly late in the year for this sort of rainfall and our water storage tanks are brimful.  This is reassuring for the dry winter months ahead.  Should we have any inexplicable water cuts, we’ll be covered.


Our house seems to have settled into its surroundings now.


Autumn is creeping into our park.


Guest Suite Over the Garage

My next project is to finish decorating and furnishing the guest suite over the garage.  These rooms have a separate entrance and would only be used to accommodate visiting friends if the main house were full.  Despite the mixed reactions I have had from friends on the subject, I’m thinking of trying this out on Airbnb when it’s complete.


Galley Kitchen in Open Plan Living Area.

This is how the guest suite looks today.  You can see two perspectives of the living room and three of the bedroom, one showing the sliding door into the bathroom.

Barn sliding door in guest suite

Barn slider in guest suite.

Quite a lot needs to happen in this space before I can consider renting it out.  Let’s see how it will turn out. And in the meantime, Daisy wishes you all a Very Happy Easter.


We have builders back on site.  Not the original ones, mind you.  We don’t want to see them again any time soon.  If ever.  Bernard has found us someone new and we’re doing a small alteration.

When we decided to downsize to a house with a small manageable garden, I believed I’d get by with only a garden service company every fortnight.  The small toilet and handbasin next to the garage would then have been more than adequate.  But during the moving process we ‘borrowed’ William, a young, enthusiastic Malawian man who works for friends of ours once a week.

William helped us in all sorts of ways both when we packed up the old house and put things into storage.  When we eventually moved into this house  and needed to collect  various potted plants and other garden paraphernalia which had been in the care of  long-suffering friends, we borrowed him again.

William showed himself to have great initiative and to cut a long story short, he is now our once-a-week gardener.  As our exceptionally hot summer dragged on and on, I started to feel the need of providing him with a shower rather than just a basin and I spent some time thinking about ways we could extend the little bathroom to accommodate one.

I asked Bernard about it and he came up with an excellent idea.  Our garage is extra- big and he suggested knocking an opening through the garage/bathroom wall and building the the shower cubicle out into the extra garage space.  It meant that neither the basin nor toilet needed to move and was quite the simplest and best option.


So that is what it taking place right now.  This little job has had little impact on us and the workmen tidy up so thoroughly each night, you’d hardly know they had been here at all.  And I think it will make a big difference to William when it’s finished.


The garden is growing beautifully despite the heat and water restrictions.  Desperately hot days have been interspersed with some spectacular and violent Highveld summer storms bringing drenching rains of several millimetres at a time.


Summer Storm building up

This is what the garden looks like now:



Fortunately the carefully thought out drainage on the south side of the house has worked well.  Unfortunately we have sprung a leak over the bay window on the north side and now need to get that roof more or less redone.

Inside, we’re making progress on a weekly basis.  Pictures have been hung and small changes made to the arrangement of furniture.  I decided to offset the yellow wood dining room table by using ghost chairs rather than more conventional wooden ones.  They look good and pick up on the glass of the staircase balustrades:



I like the way the Ghost chairs leave the view almost unimpeded.


After a Storm: The view from our balcony.