When your home is an antique store

Tribal Gallery proprietor Louise Patterson on an old dhow seat. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Tribal Gallery proprietor Louise Patterson on an old dhow seat. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU 

Picture this; large wall paintings that capture the life of fishermen in Lamu, a big statue head in the corner and different coloured jewel boxes scattered in the room.

Then there is an antique Afghani cupboard and a colourful carpet that fill the living area, together with seats made from Belgium linen covered by a tribal cloth from Mali. The textiles used on the sofas could be Belgium linen, Italian or British velvets.

In another room, there is a large bed made from dhow wood with brass lanterns.

Tribal accessories can uniquely change your home and bring different cultures into one space. You can easily borrow possessions from different tribes and countries and blend them with modern furniture.

“Sometimes the smallest object can add some much-needed charm, mood or even drama to a room or space. For instance, the striking Nigerian carved bronze sculptures, beautifully designed and hand painted antique Pakistani jewel boxes, painted spice boxes, carved Koran stands and other objects of art,” says Louise Patterson, a director at Tribal Gallery in Loresho.

Louise sources some of these home accessories from trade fairs in Paris and Frankfurt and brings them to Nairobi. In her shop, the old stands alongside the new.

She talks about an old boat that had been lost in the sea many years ago.

It recently hit the coral reef and was washed to shore and she decided to get the wrecked ship and morphed its wood into beautiful items.

The collection is an eclectic setup featuring handcrafted furniture, artworks, carpets and textiles.

The “Lamu Collection” paintings were by Ugandan Ismail Kateregga. By midday, more than 50 per cent of the paintings had already been sold.

“This is a collection that my brother and I have built with passion to capture the imagination in a home. I travel to Pakistan, India, Morocco and other different parts of the world to buy antique items or we make some by hand ourselves,” says Louise.

Louise has turned her house into a showroom. She says the house allows potential customers to view the designs ‘‘which have a soul and personality’’ in their right setup.

“These are pieces that have a soul and passion, that have lived more than 100 years. For example, we have a chest from Pakistan that was made by women for the bride. The chest can be used to put the bride’s clothes when she leaves to go and stay with her husband,” she says.

Tribal Gallery works with the communities in the coastal region to salvage these vessels. The carpets and rugs, that she sources from trade fairs, are handwoven from silk and wool and dyed using natural colours.

The beauty about antique items is that you do not have to go out of your way to convince someone to buy them; Louise says that after she gives them the story and history of the piece most people are always inspired.

The gallery also features works from different artistes from all over the world, from jewellery makers, painters to sculptors.