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Gloria kawuma taking on the task of beautifying homes

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Gloria Kawuma has been doing interior designing for three years now.

Gloria Kawuma has been doing interior designing for three years now. She says the trend has grown wit more Ugandans travelling and desiring to re-live their experiences back home. photo by rachel mabala 

By Henry Lubega

Posted  Saturday, May 31   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

INTERIOR DESIGNER. It is a trend yet to catch on in this country, but there are an enlightened few that appreciate it, and that is where Gloria Kawuma comes in.

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If home is where the heart is, then which better way to make it comfortable and deserving than giving it a touch of class to keep your heart at peace? Cavendish College-trained interior designer, Gloria Kawuma, will do just that, to make your guests look with their eyes and mouth wide open.

Having grown up in a home where pictures of buildings was the order of the day and sometimes visiting construction sites with her architect father, Kawuma formed her mind from childhood to beautify what her father created. “I grew up seeing my father drawing plans of houses from nothing and sometimes I went with him to the different sites. This had a lasting impression on me.”

As Kampala’s original seven hills have expanded and increased in number, so have the changes in the interior appearances of the houses decorating the mushrooming upscale and middleclass residential areas. With the growing middle class that is exposed through their travels, the mother of three saw an opportunity to live her dream as an interior designer. Kawuma says at university she could not pursue her dream course because Makerere did not offer interior design.

“After Makerere where I had done a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, my father sent me to Cavendish College in London for a diploma in interior designing. However, upon my graduation, I decided to start a family and raise my children first to a level that I will be comfortable leaving them under the care of a maid,” says Kawuma.

After almost a decade of dedication to her family, the mother of three decided to join her father’s company, Habitat Consultants, an architectural firm based in Kamwokya, as her springboard.

The new trend of interior designing is being driven in particular by the growing middle class, much as the perception of interior design in Uganda is misunderstood for interior décor. “An interior designer is like an architect. You need to know how much space the client wants and how much is available to bring out the kind of design he wants.

In most cases, the interior designer is consulted right from the time of drawing the house plan, which is not the case with interior décor which comes in as final touches on the finished work,” explains Kawuma.
Kawuma, who has been practicing interior designing for the last three years, adds that it is important to know what the client wants and bounce it off the available space, and financial ability.

Using her father’s office as her base, Kawuma has not advertised her services. It has been her work doing the marketing. “Save for the first client who contacted me after reading my column in a construction magazine, other clients have been referred to me by friends and other satisfied clients,” she says.

Kawuma adds that sometimes, it is hard to satisfy a client’s taste. As a result, they have to go shopping together, especially for the fabrics. “There are times when the clients are not decided on what they want by just looking at the samples and we have to go shopping for the materials together to allow them to make their own choices. Then, there are those who will make up their mind by just looking at the samples without having to go to the market themselves,” she says

The clients
“I deal with people from all walks of life, but those ranging from the late 20s to the late 30s are the majority and easiest to deal with.” Kawuma, however, adds that though she has clients in their 40s and above, they are not easy to deal with like the younger ones. She attributes the reluctance among the older people to take in the changes to rigidity and not wanting to change. “Some older people are conservative in their perception of modernity when it comes to interior designing,” she says, adding that much as they want something new, they are not ready to go the whole way. They still want to hold onto certain things, which Kawuma says is not the case with the relatively younger people.

“Most people in the late 20s to late 30s are open to new ideas and are more adventurous than the older ones. The young generation has lots of idea, are more open-minded and ready to go against the norm. For instance, it is very easy for the young client to have hot colours splashed on the wall while the older group would rather keep it in the traditional colours and not splashed.”

The challenges of the job

Like any business, Kawuma says interio

d onto certain things, which Kawuma says is not the case with the relatively younger people.

“Most people in the late 20s to late 30s are open to new ideas and are more adventurous than the older ones. The young generation has lots of idea, are more open-minded and ready to go against the norm. For instance, it is very easy for the young client to have hot colours splashed on the wall while the older group would rather keep it in the traditional colours and not splashed.”

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