Monday, November 28, 2011

If I Didn't Travel, I Would Have No Home Decor

I do love pretty design and great living spaces. I get my daily fill at Sugar and Spice Living and Bien Living Design, but I thought I would do a little design post myself with a bit of a travel twist.

I present to you, the TAO living room.

Please don't focus on the deformed sofa pillows. :(

I guess I would call our living room "modern ethnic," if I was going to categorize it in any way. The ethnic part really comes through in many of the accessories we've used to decorate our living room. The majority of those have come from traveling. I wish I could say that we have these museum worthy "pieces," but they're just things that we've picked up throughout the years.

Our ledge of stuff: Zulu basket, a berimbau, a little Buddha, another basket, calabash instrument

I bought this basket below in South Africa. It's called a ukhamba or a Zulu beer basket, and it's traditionally used to serve sorghum beer at Zulu ceremonies. I have yet to try to put any beer in here. :)

I also bought an mbenge, another example of Zulu basket weaving, and they hang on one of our walls. I thought they were bowls, but they are actually covers. I hang them convex side to show off the designs.

For years, I had these sitting in a box because I lived in apartments where I couldn't hammer anything into the walls. :)

I bought these baskets at Ilala Weavers, which is a craft and curio collective in the small town of Hluhluwe in the ZwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. They hope to keep Zulu craft traditions alive while allowing the residents of the village and surrounding areas to have a viable income. I'm glad I was able to support such a worthy cause.

Shifting gears, my berimbau from Brazil now lives on the ledge too.

Here I am learning how to play it in Salvador, Brazil. It kills your fingers. What you're expected to do with your pinky alone is enough to make me cringe while playing. If I take up capoeira like I want to, at least I know I'll have strong fingers.

The last piece on the ledge worth mentioning was this little Buddha we bought in Bali. I really wanted to get a nice one from one of the many art galleries in the center of Ubud. Husband J wasn't on board. We stopped into a small shop on Jalan (jalan means "street") Hanoman, one street over from the main commercial strip of Jalan Monkey Forest. Crafts and really anything were so much cheaper just one block off the main strip, in case you're shopping some time soon in Ubud.

The last item in our living room is also our most recent purchase. I think I may have talked a little about Turkish carpets before, but what I failed to mention was that we bought one. Mental note: If you want Husband J to buy something, put him in a room, whip out some raki (licorice tasting Turkish liqueur) and start taking out carpets of different shapes and sizes. We had a really educational tour at Bazaar 54 in Avanos, Turkey where all of the carpets are handmade by local women (they showed us how to recognize ones that were not handmade).

Our carpet. This is a traditional Ottoman design from the 18th century

We actually needed this carpet. We have been arguing about carpets since we began living in the same space. Either Husband J doesn't like the one I pick or vice versa. This is the only carpet we don't fuss about.

I really appreciate all of these items because they help make my our living room look great, and they are reminders of some of the places we've been.

Do you have souvenirs or special objects in your home from your various travels or life experiences?


Naomi P. said...

Can I live with you!? You're lucky to be surrounded with such culture everyday when you come home!

Erin said...

I love this post! Since we've lived together as a couple, we've tried to pick up decorative pieces when we travel instead of just the usual trinkets. (Although I do also have a magnet collection). Not all of our pieces are representative of local artistic traditions but they are great reminders of wonderful trips. And they inspire us to travel more!

Micah and Catherine said...

I love the pieces you've brought back. The baskets are so pretty. I feel the same way about our house. A lot of the decor has come from travels. Our newish thing is to pick up a Christmas ornament or something we can make into an ornament from each place we travel together.

Oneika said...

I love this sneak peek into your home! You have some lovely pieces!

Daphne said...

Nice! Question - did you ship these items stateside, or bring them back with your return flight?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!

@ Naomi P. - Well, we do have an extra room....

@Micah & Catherine - I do like the Christmas ornament idea. Hmm...

@Daphne - The baskets and the carpet were shipped from South Africa & Turkey respectively. The berimbau and the Buddha, I will. If I can fit things on my carryon or in my bag, I will.


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