Reader OMG! – Sophia’s Mozambique Safe Haven


Reader OMG! is a series showcasing home tours from my favorite people…The DIY Playbook readers! Every month or so, I highlight the home of someone with some serious design style. I hope that these swoon-worthy spaces will make you say “OMG”…hence the name! It also gives me a chance to feature home styles outside of my own, so you can take away some fresh ideas for your space.Reader OMG blog series

So far we’ve featured these amazing homes in the series…

Sophia’s Mozambique Home Tour

Sophia and Matteo
  • Homeowner: Sophia
  • Location: Pemba, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
  • Home Type: Free-standing house
  • Beds/Baths: On the ground floor, there are three rooms. Each suite has its own entrance, a bedroom, bathroom, and terrace. On the top floor, you’ll find the kitchen, living room, and yoga room.
  • Year Built: 2011
  • Describe your Home Style: Our home is a very special construction that was built by a Chilenean architect, incorporating elements of traditional Mozambican architecture, Mozambican handcraft, and colonial style.
  • Favorite Spot in your House: I think there are two different spots at two different moments. The first is on the terrace of my room, when the sun rises and the golden morning light shines through the leaves onto the walls and draws a pattern of shadows onto the walls. The second is when I’m lying on our sofa in the living room on a breezy evening when the moon rises. (We can see it perfectly from up here and sometimes the full moons here are huge and dark orange or even pink.)

A few months back, I was on Instagram stories putting a call out for Reader OMG! submissions. I wanted to emphasize that submitters could be living anywhere and I would do my best to find a nearby photographer to capture their home. Sophia messaged me and said, “I bet you can’t find a photographer here in Mozambique.” Ha! She ended up being right…I couldn’t find an interior photographer to shoot her home. But even without professional photos, I still wanted to learn more about her home and the reason she was living in Mozambique, and see if she would be up for a feature!

African home flooring

Sophia works in the humanitarian sector and moved to Pemba in 2019, initially for the humanitarian response to Cyclone Kenneth. Now, her work has transformed into a conflict response to the armed violence in northern Mozambique. She is doing so much good and I was so intrigued by the life she has built halfway across the world.

Yoga Room

Sophia’s work is hectic and, at times, volatile, so she is incredibly grateful for the home she found with her boyfriend, Matteo, along with their dog, cat, and chicken! It’s a safe haven and a place to gather with friends. I love that she has found this place to recharge each day, so she can continue doing the important work that brought her to Mozambique.

Even though we never found a photographer, I had Sophia snap these photos so we could see her house and learn more about the culture and history behind it. Here’s what she had to say about the house itself…

Traditionally, people build their houses themselves here, with materials that they source from nature, including wooden poles, bamboo, palm leaves or grass for the roofing. Our house is built from concrete but incorporates those elements. Interestingly, all those materials are being knit together by tire wire, which are ropes cut out of old tires – super strong and resilient against the salty humidity and frequent cyclones here.

Let’s dive into this Mozambique home tour…

The Living & Dining Room

jungle house living room
open air dining room
Jungle living room painted doors
Dining Room art

I just can’t even get over how cool this is. I wish I could have seen this home in person to really get a feel for it. You’ll notice that it’s an open-air living room, so essentially it’s outside in the trees. Sophia mentioned that even though it’s an open structure, the house is always a few degrees cooler than any other place, with a nice sea breeze. They can sit here in the rainy season and watch the downpour outside without actually getting wet. Bluebirds fly in and out, and they can enjoy the sunset, sunrise, and moonrise. How magical!

Everything you’ll find throughout Sophia’s home is locally sourced. Her landlord collaborated with local artists and artisans for all of the art, including wooden carvings in the veranda linings, paintings, and sculptures. Even the iron doors, used for security, have creative patterns with faces.

Sophia’s Suite & Terrace

African bedroom
terrace couch

Here is Sophia’s suite with her bedroom, bathroom, and the most gorgeous terrace you ever did see. This is the one spot with air conditioning, so Sophia said it’s quite the sanctuary on a hot day!

The bed is built-in with concrete and has a custom-made mosquito net around it, where she even added fairy lights! If you look closely, you’ll see shell and coral decor hanging over the bed. It was made locally and gifted to her by her boyfriend. So sweet and beautiful.

And how about that terrace off of her bedroom? It looks like plant lady heaven and is the perfect place to recharge.

The Yoga Room

Yoga Room

In addition to her humanitarian work, Sophia is also a trained yoga teacher and she gives classes in this room twice a week. It’s a room safe from mosquitos and filled with lots of art and sculptures. If you look closely, you’ll even see a sculpture that looks like a person but is made entirely out of pieces of weaponry from the civil war.

The sofa has a capulana cover and pillows on it. All of the pillow and mattress covers throughout the home are made from this local cloth. Sophia says, “Capulanas are pieces of cloth in all the colours with different patterns. They are the Mozambican symbol of women. They are used for everything – for clothes, as baby carriers, to sleep on and to sleep under, as sun cover, to protect from dust, as head scarves, as head turbans, as a bolster on the head for carrying water, even for menstrual hygiene as sanitary pads. On the Mozambican Women’s Day and on other special occasions, women dress in beautiful dresses made of capulana and everything is full of colours.” I love that this home is so enriched with Mozambican culture.

Exterior

Mozambique Home
Mozambique home
Mozambique home terrace

I’m so happy that Sophia provided these photos of the exterior because it helps me understand how it all flows together a bit better and I can’t even get over how gorgeous this home is. She mentioned that they don’t keep much furniture out in the garden because of the rainy season.

They’ll often have picnics under the big cashew trees or even practice yoga there, when the weather is a bit cooler. Sophia hopes to add a chicken coop outside too.

Shop the Look – Jungle Safe Haven

Woven Pendant // Mask Wall Art // Watercolor Print // Couch // Lumbar Pillow // Throw Pillow // Rug // Planter // Faux Pothos

A big thank you to Sophia for taking these pictures and giving us a glimpse into this beautiful culture. I love that this series has truly brought us all around the world and proves that you can create a gorgeous, unique home wherever you are.

Submit Your Home TourReader OMG blog series

Want to see your home featured on The DIY Playbook? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Reader OMG!”, including lots of photos and information about your gorgeous home.

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.