Ash Appleton's Afro-modern apartment

Ash Appleton's Afro-modern apartment

Ash Appleton is an Afro-modern interior designer who brings a vibrant blend of cultures and colours into every space she creates.

Splitting her time between the UK and Kenya, she draws inspiration from both worlds, infusing traditional African art with contemporary design principles. If bright, popping colours were a person, that would be Ash Appleton.

The charming apartment tucked away in the suburbs of Nairobi feels like a movie set, offering a deep dive into a sprinkle of magic with layers of colours, textures and art. The apartment spans three floors, each with its own theme, with the topmost floor serving as her studio haven.

Renowned for her love of bright colours and bold patterns, Ash has transformed her interior space into a lively, dynamic, and chic urban apartment that evokes a sense of warmth and sophistication. Her spacious home is airy, and full of character, with orange and blue dominating the palette.

The furniture, décor and art pieces create a joyful atmosphere, capturing the essence of Afro-modern design and showcasing the beauty of cultural fusion.

A purple-painted bookshelf blocks the view of the living room, giving the entrance a grand and dramatic feel. Adorning the entrance is a larger-than-life black-and-white portrait, a reflection of her love for portraiture. "This is my friend," she says.

"I took this picture and framed it. My house is full of strangers. I am an award-winning photographer, and I love capturing people's essence."

Her most treasured art piece, the largest in the room, stands out as the centrepiece. She values it deeply, as it was the first piece she bought after her divorce.

Her living room has a creatively built bookshelf as the focal point. The books and décor pieces are meticulously displayed, giving the space a grand look and feel.

Her furniture is eclectic, with the centrepiece being a masterfully mustard-designed sofa from the 60s that she has reupholstered several times.

Renowned for her love of bright colours, Ash has transformed her interior space into a lively and dynamic apartment.

Next to it is a grey, sink-in sofa bed that is both cosy and practical. Adorned with colourful cushions, her vintage furniture works like magic, creating a harmonious blend of old and new.

A glass round table, that holds little knick-knacks, adds depth to the space. The cowhide floor rug blends seamlessly with the other décor pieces in the living room.

London side

On the other side of the room, overlooking the outdoors is what she calls the "London side." This area features contemporary furniture and pop art that evoke a sense of nostalgia. She sourced the furniture from London, giving this part of her home a distinctly British vibe. The dining seats are a mix of different colours, and their unique legs add to their charm.

Her inviting open kitchen space, complete with an island, exudes a vibe that encourages cooking and dining with friends. The neutral palette on the cabinets, complemented by pops of red, is simply stunning. Delicate pendant lighting provides the perfect finishing touch for her kitchen.

The kitchen area

"My kitchen is a labour of love," Ash says.

"Oh, never use terrazzo if you are living in the same house. It's beautiful and exactly what I wanted, but the dust that gathered during its installation was crazy. All my neighbours were losing their minds because of the noise from construction. It was tedious and expensive, but worth it."

Her tip for those planning their kitchens is to design it as a triangle, ensuring that the sink is next to the cooker and the fridge are within arm’s reach.

As we ascend the stairs, a showstopper art mosaic piece catches my eye.

Her collection of portraits and art pieces

The staircase was painted white on both sides to create an illusion, and the wall was adorned with stunning portraits and art pieces, each with its own story to tell. A huge window brightened the orange staircase rails, making it vibrant.

Her advice for framing pictures is to use "non-reflective frames". The opposite wall was adorned with a fusion of pictures and art pieces, creating an exceptional display.

Her cloakrooms are themed, with the first inspired by Lamu and the other by Maasai culture. The Lamu-themed cloakroom features a wall-to-wall image of a boy running with his father on the beach, giving it a spa-like, tranquil feel.

Her bedroom, drenched in turquoise, is Baringo-inspired. The combination of turquoise and purple is soothing, and the contrasting orange stripe adds a crisp, perfect pop of colour. Two framed pictures of Lake Baringo and pink flamingo pillows give the room a sense of serenity.

As we make our way up to the topmost floor, our eyes are drawn to a stunning blue curved cabinet. Positioned beneath it, a breathtaking masterpiece from Uganda burst with vibrant colours and intricate textures, commanding attention with its artistic allure.

The next floor, her studio haven, doubles as her office. The focal wall features Kanga stencil art that mimics a typical Kanga from the coast.

Her customized office 

Her vision board is filled with inspirational pictures and posters, including one showing her dream of having her home featured on TV, a dream that has now come true.

Her office opens onto a spacious veranda, where outdoor furniture adorned with orange table runners and cutlery awaits. The colourful cushions and cosy seats enhance the inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal space for hosting parties with friends.

The outdoor area

Ash’s Tips on Why We All Need an African-Inspired Home

  1. Deep Connection to Cultural Heritage: Establish a profound connection to your roots and foster a sense of belonging and pride through the elements in your home.
  2. Depth and Meaning: Elevate your living spaces with layers of significance and authenticity, ensuring every corner tells a story.
  3. Timeless Appeal: Create a home that remains timeless and exudes the enduring elegance of African-inspired interiors.
  4. Energy and Vibrancy: Transform your sanctuary to radiate warmth, joy, and renewed energy.
  5. Unique Storytelling: Share the unique story of your home, fostering a deeper appreciation for diverse cultural expressions and identities.

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