The home that I am featuring today is going to become one of those favorite, bookmarked home tours that we come back to revisit every few months. It belongs to Hemal and Atul, and is located in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s decorated in a style that is hard to pin down under one name, but which encompasses all that is warm and welcoming. If you ask me, the timeless elegance is the result of a perfect combination of warm, neutral tones and colonial sparseness, enlivened by treasured, colorful finds from around the world. And Hemal’s careful editing results in a very cohesive whole!
I have always felt that no matter which part of the world I moved to, my home would look more or less the same, made up of the people I love + art, vintage textiles, and books. A signature style, if you will. Do read on to hear the story of this home in Hemal’s words, and to enjoy this family’s signature, global eclectic style. – Priya
“I was so thrilled to hear from Priya about showcasing my home on her awesome blog! Once upon a tea time was one of the first blogs I followed for decor inspiration and I have learnt a lot from her wonderful blog stories. Thank you, Priya!
We are originally from New Delhi, and have been living the expat life in beautiful Kenya since a few years now. I have a background in architecture and culture. My husband takes keen interest in photography and our home is always filled by the constant chatter of our boys, a teenager and a preteen.
Being a trailing expat spouse, I needed a creative outlet so I started my Instagram account. There was so much to share and I felt I needed more, so recently I have started a blog too (www.villamarigold.com) where I wish to share happy home and travel stories with a focus on Indian, African and Oriental décor. I also feel lucky to have been able to reconnect with my love for painting after 17 long year. Watercolors are my favorite medium (artwork pictured below).
Our home is like a canvas on which we paint the story of our family’s wonderful journey every day. Like all homes, it is a constant work in progress. Our home is an amalgamation of our travels and collected memories. As a family, we like to travel a lot, and I always tend to pick up something for my home from the places we visit. When I display these knick knacks around the house along with thoughtful gifts from friends and family, I’m reminded every day of the happy times that we shared and the memories we made.
My Home Goal: To create a space which reflects positive vibes and a soulful, holistic and calm atmosphere.
My home décor style:
I would describe my décor style as Global eclectic bohemian with a bit of vintage Indian, British Colonial, and Tropical. All this combined with small doses of Zen to calm the madness would sum it up I think. (Too many styles, isn’t it? But I find it impossible to choose a single style)
I love warm colors and interesting play of textures. I have an affinity towards handmade objects so a lot of what I own has a story of love and labor behind it. Textiles, woodwork, pottery, all kinds of handmade things find a place of pride in our home. A dash of green and fresh flowers around the house bring in everyday freshness and add cheer to the humdrum of our daily lives. Kenya is such a tropical paradise, there is abundance of roses and tropical flowers to choose from.
My style is influenced by my mother and my aunt. My mother liked to collect brass antiques and make beautiful embroidery, she would display the brass around the house and all the tablecloths and cushions would have her embroidery on them. My aunt is an artist and our home used to be a gallery of her paintings of varied subjects from Umar Khayyam to batiks to mythology. My grandfather was an avid gardener and our garden had blooms of some kind around the year.
Memories of my childhood home had a big impression on my décor style. I think that’s the reason why I tend to take inspiration from vintage décor. I’m intrigued by art and cultures of people around the world, bright colors and foliage of the tropics also never cease to amaze me.
My favorite place in the house: This would be my balcony, it overlooks a cute little house and lush green foliage around it. Beautiful sunbirds, crows, ibis and sparrows love to hang around the trees. Bright bougainvillea make our morning cups of tea cheerful and we wait for the jacaranda tree to bloom every year!” – Hemal Paliwal
Image credits/courtesy of Hemal Paliwal.