Dé­cor dilemma

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Sa­nia Ha­gen-Hound­some of Paarl writes

Our braai room has al­ways been our fam­ily’s favourite space. It has seen much laugh­ter, cel­e­bra­tions, good food, heartache and tears. Armed with my Home mag­a­zine, I’ve done lots of home im­prove­ments but the braai room was my hus­band’s do­main.

He passed away three-and-a-half years ago af­ter sud­denly get­ting cancer. We got the news while we were in our braai room; we cried there and he lay on the couch un­til al­most the end. That’s where I still shed a tear when I’m alone. Even though I’m on my own now, I still braai ev­ery weekend.

To cut a long story short, I think I’m ready to make “our” braai room “my” braai room. Can you give me some ideas? My ceil­ing is made of reeds and I’d like to know if I can paint them white. I am not a fan of a con­tem­po­rary look; I pre­fer some­thing be­tween farm­house and beach house. I like sim­plic­ity, light and nat­u­ral colours and I’m an out­doorsy per­son, so I’d love it if my braai room flowed seam­lessly out into the gar­den. What do you sug­gest?

Stylist and pho­tog­ra­pher Mar­gaux Tait of mylifestyled.co.za replies

With a few quick and easy changes, this space can be turned into a cosy re­treat where new memories can be made.

A braai room shouldn’t be­come a dump­ing ground; it’s al­ways a good idea to cre­ate space by de­clut­ter­ing. If you’re us­ing this area to store var­i­ous items, con­sider in­stalling a cus­tomised cup­board to stash them in. Here are a few cost-ef­fec­tive sug­ges­tions for a stylish trans­for­ma­tion:

This is the quick­est and most cost­ef­fec­tive way to trans­form a space. I sug­gest us­ing a pal­ette that echoes your love of the out­doors. Grey, blue and a light sage will cre­ate a calm colour scheme that can be en­er­gised with a con­trast­ing ac­cent colour; con­sider in­tro­duc­ing yel­low in ac­ces­sories such as scat­ter cush­ions or even just a bunch of fresh flow­ers from your gar­den.

You could also paint the ex­posed brick in a light dove-grey and the cab­i­nets in white or slightly off-white for added warmth. This white can then be echoed in the ceil­ing reeds (see box for in­struc­tions), and the struc­tural wooden beams can be painted with the same grey as used on the bricks; a dis­tressed paint tech­nique might work well here, but it will be just as ef­fec­tive if the beams are left in their orig­i­nal state.

Con­sider land­scap­ing just out­side the slid­ing door and in­clude some of your (and your hus­band’s) favourite flow­ers. Adding in­door plants will soften the lines of the ceil­ing and bricks; choose plants that will flour­ish in the en­vi­ron­ment such as a moth or­chid, peace lily and areca palm.

In­clude a few hang­ing bas­kets or more con­tem­po­rary plant-hold­ers; a fresh bunch of flow­ers as a cen­tre­piece on the cof­fee ta­ble will cre­ate a fem­i­nine touch.

Use a fab­ric table­cloth to up­date the look of the square din­ing ta­ble; café-style stools will add a bit of a twist. Also in­stall a light fit­ting that lines up with the cen­tre of the ta­ble.

4 Re­uphol­ster and add tex­ture

Give the old sofa a makeover by re­uphol­ster­ing it in a strik­ing striped fab­ric, or have a slip­cover and scat­ter cush­ions made to or­der. Add a few floor pil­lows, pouffes or ot­tomans as in­for­mal seat­ing.

Keep a few throws in a bas­ket for when it gets chilly and you want to snug­gle up on the sofa with a good book. Bas­kets add tex­ture and can also be used to store pine cones and wood. Put sim­i­lar bas­kets un­der the ex­ist­ing cof­fee ta­ble as stor­age for books and mag­a­zines. In­clude a 160 x 230cm carpet to an­chor your set­ting – con­sider a rough nat­u­ral fi­bre rug such as jute to echo the look of the bas­kets.

Mod­ern blinds will give the win­dows a sleek ap­pear­ance or you could use sheer cur­tains if you want to cre­ate a more fem­i­nine touch – but you will have to wash out the smell of braai smoke reg­u­larly!

To hon­our the mem­ory of your hus­band, I sug­gest in­cor­po­rat­ing a tray with beau­ti­ful scented can­dles on the cof­fee ta­ble so that friends and fam­ily can light a can­dle when they feel moved to do so. This can be com­bined with fresh flow­ers or spe­cial items that were dear to him.

The space above the braai al­ready fea­tures var­i­ous pic­tures but with the new look I sug­gest us­ing nat­u­ral wood or dis­tressed frames to dis­play fam­ily pho­tographs or say­ings that were unique to your hus­band. Group the pic­tures closer to­gether and keep the neg­a­tive space (the space be­tween the frames) the same to cre­ate a per­fect bal­ance.

THE SPACE The braai room was added on and en­closed with glass; it’s about 30m² in size. 1 Paint 2 Green­ery 3 Fur­ni­ture THE SO­LU­TION 5 A lov­ing touch Don McWil­liam of WeatherPrufe Paints (021 556 4200, weatherprufe.co.za) of­fers the fol­low­ing ad­vice:

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