What you need to know:
Like Nancy Otyang, you can tap into homegrown skills or hobbies to create a beautiful living space that is to your liking.
Nancy Otyang is a lover of beaded materials put together to present a traditional Masai look. She is enthusiastic about culture.
Born and raised in Moroto she spent her earlier childhood years creating small stylish patterns out of Masai beads.
Her grandmother would knit Masai garments and do beadwork to enhance the look of her customers.
She would gladly lend a hand through which she would learn a few things.
During her school life, Otyang would showcase a great deal of Masai culture in her dressing and art work.
“My roommates would borrow my shawls and crafts for talent shows at the school. This prompted the music teachers to appoint me as the styling coordinator for all inter-house competition shows,” she shares.
Little did she know she had an inbuilt skill in décor and a keen eye for detail?
When she became of age she rented a two bedroom house and decided to split rent with her sister in order to manage rent arrears.
“I was excited to have a place of my own. I went all out on the decorations putting all the little things together was quite satisfying,” she admits.
She made good use of all her home space greatly ensuring her picks met her décor needs. “My sister leaves me to do all the planning and decorating which allows me to do everything in a way that suits and pleases me,” she explains.
In line with her personality and interests, the décor lover largely fills her home with artwork and materials that communicate what she stands for and her origin.
While at it, she has managed to create an African, precisely Masai, ambience in her home space.
Here, she shares some of her décor tips tailored to meet her single living requirements and cultural identity.
“For a fresh environment that characterises my woman-hood, I ensure my space is aerated with both vanilla and strawberry scents which are definitely girly.”
Otyang buys a handful of scented candles which she places by her bedside and bathroom space. These she confirms create a relaxing environment.
To achieve a safe placement of scented candles in these spaces, Otyang explains that she ensures they are not positioned close to the netted material in her room or next to the shower sprinklers in her washroom space.
Asked whether air fresheners would not serve the same purpose, the youthful soul highlights her need to exploit trends.
She says, “Scented candles are a classy option away from the heavily sprayed environments that are cause of allergic reactions to some home occupants or guests.”
Otyang advises users to pick out the colours and fragrances which appeal to their home space as the scented candles come in different colours and flavours.
For her mirror hangings, Otyang places a touch of Masai beads which she glues around the surface borders of her mirrors.
“Growing up beading items, I easily relate with beaded work and personally add multi-coloured small beads to my interior items,” she confirms.
Additionally, she hangs a Masai necklace on her living room wall, which artistically clings onto the space and speaks to who she is.
Her guests she explains, ought to relate with her identity while occupying her living room.
To add a spicy appearance to her Television space, she hangs two sisal baskets right next to it. These, she says, complement the Masai necklace in her room space adding an African touch to the wall space.
For her corridors, Otyang lines up a number of art pieces and banana fibre hats next to her bedroom entrance.
Luckily her corridor is long enough to accommodate multiple wall hangings which she positions distant from each other to avoid a congested look.
“I am always intentional about what works for my home space while shopping. I picked out two banana fibre hats while on a road trip and was purposeful to use them for both my clothing and interior décor needs.”
The interior décor lover, ensures proper handling of her home accessories as part of ongoing home maintenance .
She says, “I carefully rub a dry cloth on most of my wall hangings as they do not require water. This, I ensure to do gently to avoid any damage or tears as I would love to have them in good shape for a while. Her bead bordered mirrors require that she uses a glass cleaner spray to carefully clean the mirror centres,” she adds.
The most costly item Otyang recounts purchasing are her pallet chairs.
“I went shopping for pallet furniture which efforts were put on hold due to exaggerated prices and excuses from carpenters on how that specific wood is rare.”
Before she could give up, Otyang landed on an e-shopping network that sells second hand furniture.
She was then able to acquire a set of pallet furniture with colourful cushions at only Shs750,000, an item she estimates would have gone for about Shs1,500,000 or more.
Otyang has since incorporated pallet furniture in her other spaces such as her bed, and her balcony outdoor plant carriers.
“I have mastered the art of painting my pallet furniture especially the plant carriers at my balcony where I spray them with different colours to create a multi-coloured ambience and warm invite to guests.”
However, Otyang has faced challenges with outdoor pallet furniture which she says doesn’t do well with the rain as the paint peels off surface and diminishes the attractiveness and strength of the wood.
To enhance her African touch in everything she has going on, Otyang spreads out African-print bitenge curtains within different rooms of her home.
“I usually ask my personal tailor to create well-patterned African print for my curtains that easily coordinate with my African designed environment,” she adds.
With so much going on in one’s home, there is only one way to make it work and that is only done by ensuring you are comfortable with the interior design options you opt for. Being bold and confident for what you stand for and what speaks to your identity is key.
You may choose to do it your way or another way. If you choose to do it another way, ensure to paste whatever you copy. Know what you stand for, and what meets your interior décor needs.