our digs and hers

I’ve been told by many seasoned officers that this is the worst housing pool in the FS, which leads me to believe that we’ve REALLY lucked out. This is not to say that our place is without issues, lest you all think we are living like dictators and oil tycoons. But as I’ve said before, I am electing to not focus on mystery sewer gases emitted with every flush or brown water sputtering from the taps or the nightclub neighbor’s bumps, beats, grinds, howls and brawls until 5am…No, siree! I choose, instead, to focus on the positive.

Both Snakes and I are people who seek beauty in castoffs, so much faith in and hope for the underdog: from the Detroit house rehab (purchased for pocket change off the demo list) to our commitment to taking in strays. One of the first times we hung out, we’d spent the afternoon shredding cabbage on his grandfather’s ancient kraut board in preparation for our first batch of sauerkraut.  Afterward, as we sat on his back deck sharing a beer, I looked out over the overgrown and littered landscape of his alley way and collapsing garage and said, in all sincerity, “This is so romantic.” That may be the moment I was bitten by the love bug. But enough about that.

Our current place, which is about 3 blocks from the embassy has spacious rooms and a generous dose of glorious natural light.  We have a small front yard (where my seedlings are thriving!!) and driveway with a tiled in courtyard. Although I’ve been using the back area to air out rugs and make minty sun tea, this space is primarily designated for our guards. There is a mini “kitchen” (basically just a sink with running water) and a little half bath. As I’ve said before, most people here don’t have water or electricity in their homes.

One enters the house through a screened in area, where we hope to put a little patio table and chairs, into the kitchen. A generous amount of cabinet and countertop space makes cooking and baking together a pleasure. The tiled walls are peppered with odd little cornucopia motifs. I will attempt to camouflage these with framed 4×6 photos of various markets we’ve visited. And of course, I will make some new curtains once my machine arrives to swap out with the unremarkable little dingy-s currently doing no favors.

Through the kitchen is a little alcove which houses our second fridge (necessary when ordering everything in bulk) and leads to the half bath and dining room.


I was hesitant to post pictures before our things arrive. It all seems so sterile and drab. I am so glad that I followed the advice of fellow FSOs and packed some pictures and favorite little doodads. Perhaps a little ambitious, considering I’ll have an infant to care for, but I’d love to post some “after” shots once I return from the preg-evac and get things in order.  In any event, off the left side of the dining room is our living room.


The french doors open to the aforementioned screened in entry way and I’ve since opened the white shutters, to let in more light. Again, I plan to make some type of sheer for these and would love to replace the big light-sucking brown drapes with something more interesting, but my ambition has been known to overstep its boundaries. It’s just that everything is so brown, bulky and boxy!! Living in such an otherwise challenging environment, I find myself craving color and texture.

Just a quick side-note: Being pregnant, my sense of smell rivals that of the Mississippi mud hound, Banjo. It wasn’t before months of deliberation that I finally purchased this fancy candle. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around paying so much for a candle as a Diptyque fetches. I mean, talk about money to burn, right? Wrong. This is one of the best purchases I’ve made in the past year. Not only does the fresh and soothing scent fill the entire room with a very gentle perfume while lit, but it lingers for close to a day after. This is coming from a girl who is VERY sensitive and even averse to perfumes. It’s absolutely divine. The french really know what’s up when it comes to this kind of stuff. I look forward to trying each and every flavor. Okay- maybe I’ll get a little somethin for that gratuitous product placement….anyway…


Upstairs are 3 bedrooms and two full baths. We’ve never each had our “own” bathroom! Such a luxury! The master bedroom has a little screened in porch off the front that with some elbow grease revealed a beautiful green marble tiled floor. I have BIG plans for this area. I imagine madrugada* nursings and afternoon naps out here in big cushy chairs. I’ve ordered an all-weather rug from Martha and may need to use my layette shipment for a comfy chair or two. The second set of doors leads through a VERY bright little room that will become my sewing room (!!!) and into “my” bathroom.

Banjo and I have been working hard on the nursery…

But with our things still in transit, I may need to leave the bulk of it to him and Snakes. I can always tweak and rearrange when we return. She’s got a pretty comfy space for now.

*madrugada: an Angolan word for the wee hours of the night, generally like 12a-6a. aka: neighborhood night club hours.


24 thoughts on “our digs and hers

  1. You look so wonderful!! The place looks more than suitable. Soon you will be able to get back to doing the things you like to do. Happy it’s working out!

  2. Eve, you look so beautiful!!! And the house look so much nicer than I thought it would, can’t wait to see your next installment!

    1. Lana!! I always look forward to your sweet comments! Thank you for checking in on me. I hope you’re doing well. Know I think of you often, birthday sister! xoxo

  3. what a beautiful pregnant lady!!! your house looks cozy and lovely as well. i am sending you a package soon, so let me know if there is anything from detroit that you miss and would like for me to send!! hugs

    1. Stace!!! If you have any extra tomato seed favorites laying around- I would be honored to plant some here! I’m helping to start a little community garden on the embassy grounds and have a little seedling operation going currently. I have tri-colored cherry toms and a hearty bush tomato. But nothing like a cherokee purple, mortgage lifter or hillbillies we used to get from you!! Lettuce would be fantastic as well. Thanks lady! I owe you an email soon. Or, wait, is it my turn to write a proper letter?!…. I think it may be. In touch soon. xoxo

  4. Hey Eve! You and the new digs look fabulous! Keep the sunny disposition up (Richard needs that advice at the moment!) Leslie sent me the blog so I can get back up to date – my life is good but crazy as usual. Chat with you soon – Jen

  5. You look great! Your house looks really interesting. (I mean that in a good way. I like houses that are kind of different.) I can’t wait to see what you do with it. You are really good at looking at the bright side.

  6. You’re a glowing, beautiful mama! Loved touring your new home and it’s many lovely qualities. Wishing you continued happy garden and baby growing!

  7. I agree, looks like a great place w lots of potential and I’m psyched that you posted the before bec the after is going to be amazing! glad you’re doing well.

    1. must be from all that “canned mackerel”… (please explain.)
      We got 4 boxes from you this week! Thank you thank you thank you, most generous auntie of the north. I will try to call you today.

  8. Wow! You are so beautiful as a pregnant mommy!!! I love all the space in your home, I especially love all the sunshine pouring into your windows. I see lots of cozy, cuddly times coming in your future.
    Love, Love, Love,

    1. thanks, summer! and I agree- my favorite parts are #1-the natural light- just wait til you see my studio!!! #2 the staircase- I think it’s so elegant!

  9. Lovely! I can see you already making your mark here. . . And madrugada, what a great word. I love when all is quiet in the house and it is just me and the babe. . .

  10. Very nice digs~so clean and sparkling! You must have already expended tons of elbow grease. When you get around to doing those higher drapes make absolutely certain Snakes is there to help switch them out. You will be surprised how off center you’ll be on a ladder with your sweet little belly.

    Love the birch vignette! Reminiscent of northern MI!!! And how nice to have a balcony off the master. LYTP

  11. We just saw pictures of our house for the first time and I find myself looking back to your decoration for inspiration. =) How’d you make that horrible dining room set look not so horrible? We have the same one. We’ve got lots of space and plenty of potential, but I wish we’d seen the place before our HHE shipment so I could have bought and sent some appropriate bigger stuff..

    1. I know, Alex. If only we were allowed to sand down, switch out knobs and “shabby-chic” some of this drexel… my advice: 1. we got rid of EVERYTHING we could possibly do without, better an empty space than a big brown box with golden swirling knobs. 2. use artwork, rugs and swap out curtains to detract the eye from all of that brown high gloss. Our dining room looks so much nicer with all 3 of above plus proper lighting (a lamp with a dimmer switch!). I will most likely put a runner or table cloth on too, maybe just a nice little arrangement of some sort- bowl with a vase and branches or flowers? But the chairs…. some things can’t be changed so just add other elements to draw your eye away from your least favorite aspects! GOOD LUCK!! I’ll look forward to details on your blog! I am eager to get back and fuss around- somnambulist or not!

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