Architecture: Author Lesley Lokko’s Modern Tranquil Home in Ghana

Lesley Lokko [Ghana]

Modern African Architecture - Lesley Lokko home exterior

[Image credit: Home Exterior and Garden – Lesley Lokko]

I’ve just finished reading a book called ‘Saffron Skies’ by author Lesley Lokko; whom I came to know of the by chance when I happened to catch a fairly old rerun of the lifestyle show Studio 53, featuring an interview with her. As an avid reader, I can’t understand why Lesley Lokko hadn’t crossed my radar before, but a couple of clicks on Google brought me quickly up to speed and having got my hands on a couple of her books I’m definitely making up for lost time! Sweeping tales, offering escapism to some of the world’s most glamorous and intriguing locations, Lesley’ novels are good old-fashioned blockbusters, the type you want to read in an entire sitting if it was possible; at the same time willing it not to end as you get caught up in the lives and loves of the characters. Lesley’s novels are also reflections of her dual Ghanaian/Scottish heritage and include settings in a number of Africa’s cities; presented to the reader as real, vibrant, and progressive places. 

Lesley Lokko - African Interior Design Inspiration

  [Image credit: Home Interior – Lesley Lokko]

Reading Lesley’s profile I found out that before carving out a career as a writer she was a practising architect. The idea for writing began in the form a diary Lesley kept while working as an architect in South Africa; recording the impact of a time of great change in the 1990s. Lesley then moved to the US for a three-year teaching stint before giving it all up to concentrate on writing full time. Well travelled, Lesley divides her time between Accra, Edinburgh, Johannesburg, and London; and it was in Accra that she embarked on the challenge that many architects dream of; building her own home, a six-month build that was not without it challenges.

Lesley Looko - verandah

[Image credit: Home Exterior – Lesley Lokko]

Purchasing two plots of land, the plan was to build two houses facing each other across a pool on a large strip of land in between; a main house for herself and her partner, the other a guesthouse for family and friends. Blending a bit of European and a bit of African design aesthetics, a key feature of the design is that each structure consists of one single seamless living space; relying on strategically placed furniture like bookcases to demarcate the different living areas; with the addition of architectural African sculptures and artefacts giving the space character. Fittings for areas such as the bathroom and kitchen were bought in the UK and shipped over. It is a highly personailsed space and understandably a single living space doesn’t work for everyone as Lesley acknowledges the challenge she faced of winning her partner round to the idea of living in a home that literally has no interior walls or doors to separate the bedroom, living room and kitchen. The design is meant to echo the traditional African way of living, where homes often see the incorporation of extend families, and in doing so contrasts the Western interior influences of having separate rooms with a focus on privacy. 

Beautiful in its simplicity, Lesley’s home takes advantage of letting air circulate freely given the hot climate and allowing for maximum light. It does look like the ideal place to get immersed in the writing process letting ideas flow with minimum distractions. 

…a modern tranquil looking home, one that adds its voice to the debate on designing suitable contemporary homes for Africa’s burgeoning cities, and challenging the ways we live

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For further information about Lesley Lokko visit: www.lesleylokko.com   

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