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: