Homes - Interiors

Interior: African-inspired decor

Organic textures, rich colours and exotic patterns evoke the feel of the South African veld in this romantic master bedroom suite.

Most people keep their vacation memories alive in photographs and souvenirs. But Style at Home advertising sales director Julie Wiggins had a bigger plan to commemorate the majestic African safari she and her husband, Jeff, had taken in 2009. With guidance from contributing design editor Christine Hanlon, Julie recreated in her master bedroom the atmosphere of the elegant Ngala Safari Lodge, where the couple had stayed. “We slept in a thatched hut,” says Julie. “But, I use the word hut loosely because it was so luxurious. I wasn’t expecting it to be as romantic as it was.”

Taking that as her cue, Julie also wanted to respect both the culture and the wildlife of South Africa in the palette, fabric, furniture and accessories. So Christine set out to create the new look she calls “modern Africa.” She combined large-scaled patterns in bright red and chocolate brown with organic textures like the capiz chandelier and the grasscloth wallcovering. The showstopping red botanical print on the quilted coverlet and upholstered headboard was a risky choice for Christine and Julie. The dramatic result is bold and playful, lending the room an exotic vibe. “We looked for prints that felt organic and had some movement, providing graphic impact against the creamy ivory palette,” says Christine. The unique tiered shell chandelier also makes a statement yet is delicate and beautifully reflective at night.

Evoking South Africa The natural-coloured grasscloth, artwork and decorative felted sheep recall the organic beauty of the South African veld; this group of photos taken by Julie is one of her favourite features in the room: “These photos bring me back to the moment I took them,” she says; the African headdress evokes a specific locale but isn’t too literal.

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