June 10, 2015


I wanted to share this story about how art + creativity really transcends waters & borders. I have done jobs in many parts of the country {USA} as well as the Caribbean, but this was a pretty interesting job I helped execute in Nairobi, Kenya. My Mother currently resides there, {she’s lived in over 5 countries in the last 12 years} and of course she calls on me, during every step of her decorating journey. 

Kenya is a truly magical place full of some of the most beautiful animals in the world, a climate, which resembles LA, luscious greenery, and trees, which make for not only a great ecosystem, but amazing furniture as well. 

Here is a pic of my Mom feeding her Giraffe friend named Kelly at the Giraffe Sanctuary in Kenya.

She was getting a dresser made by a local carpenter, which they call a “Fundi” in Kenya. She of course needed my assistance with coming up with a concept & style for her dresser and this is our decorating journey from NYC-Nairobi.

My mother knew that she wouldn’t be able to find manufactured furnishings of her likings in Nairobi so she simply decided to get them made. This is something she’s done in most of the countries she has lived in. She has accumulated a taste for style & fashion, which is a bit of a modge podge of the many cultures she has both lived in and traveled.  She wanted something with LOTS of personality and charisma, & let’s just say personality and charisma is what I do! I scoured my sources and started to check out some of the popular American franchises in the States. I then came about this popular beauty from West Elm.

I shared it with my mom, and she fell in love! She absolutely loved it and decided this would be the template/concept for her dresser. We discussed how we would customize it to a wider size, which would provide more surface space for her jewelry etc. We also discussed the colors we wanted to use a long with the color pattern. Once we finalized these logistics we are on a path towards creating a true work of art. 

Below you will see the patchwork collection by West Elm. I truly like the combination of colors and the way each section/drawer had its only little story/personality. this was the inspiration for the design & construct of my mothers dresser. She showed it to her Fundi {what we would call in the States, a carpenter} and my process began. We started with the sketches!

 We decided to make a piece which will allow her to hold most of her "get-to" items which she doesn't want in her wardrobe. 

We wanted to have all drawers and no doors, for easy access and the ability to for her to look at her accessories from above. 

This is where we figure out what type of knobs we wanted where. We decided to leave the middle open, and do something a bit for funky.  

We then started playing around with colors and decided which drawers we wanted to keep natural vs. give it some personality with a splash of color. We were wall able to use this as our blueprint and allow the Fundi to work his magic. It took him a few weeks {closer to two months, start to finish} to complete as he had a few orders to complete before her dresser. As you take a look below, you will see how it was well worth the wait.....

TA-DA! The end-result! Still at the Fundi, awaiting delivery, and my mother was so excited to get it in her bedroom.

We came up with this awesome concept to use different styles of hardware for the middle drawers so we decided to use pieces of the olive tree as hardware. This is commonly used in Kenya as handles and door knobs, it's truly beautiful. It worked out well and created an awesome breakup of structure & texture.

We are working on getting the mirror mounted on the wall, but here is what the dresser looks like in her room. 

Here is a view with the mirror sitting on top. {not yet mounted on the wall} 

I truly hope you enjoyed learning about this process and seeing how I get my crazy ideas from my head to reality. If you liked this article check out some of my most informative & popular articles below.




If you’re interested in more of my projects simply check out my PORTFOLIO.

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