Home Decorating From Kenya, With Love

From Kenya, With Love

When we think of Africa and its jubilant approach to traditional dressing and personal adornment, the word neutral doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But when we think of Out of Africa, we immediately conjure up images of sleekly minimalist interior palettes that somehow manage to both echo the desert tones all around and evoke a healthy dose of Scandinavian cool.

That, and Robert Redford.

Don’t judge us. We know you were thinking the same thing.

The sets for the movie, which were based on the interiors of novelist Isak Dineson’s house in Kenya (the home, now a museum, was not available for use when the film was shot in 1984, but Annie has actually paid a visit to it), are a study in neutral layering. In the living room, shades of sand, taupe, cream, and walnut overlap on everything from the—count ’em—three divine area rugs to the side tables, the bookcases, and the beautiful, ornate screen in the back corner. Those clay-colored floor-to-ceiling drapes, and the hint of blush and leafy green on the sofa and armchairs? Gorge—and the perfect example of how fabrics can completely change the character of a Nuanced Neutral space.

The kitchen doesn’t get much play in the movie, but check out those pale stucco walls, hardwood floors, rough-hewn cabinets and center island, and linen panels over the sink.

In the office, greenery and pastel flowers are a lively addition.

And the bedroom . . . we get a little misty-eyed as we think the emotional conversations between Karen and Bror that happened here, but we also can’t help but wonder, Where do I find a bed like that? And while we’re at it, I’ll take the mirror and one of those silky robes, too.

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1 comment

Andrew July 31, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Palette was neutral because it followed Edwardian tastes, albeit a colonial version that was more rusticated.

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