It should come as no surprise that Musemo Handahu is the type to take inspiration from her surroundings. The fashion enthusiast has been creating content since 2012 under the name Miss Lion Hunter, a nod to her last name in Tonga, and is known for her eclectic, bold and colourful style—and that doesn’t just apply to her wardrobe. Her decor journey started seven years ago. At the time, she was living in a cramped apartment, and it wasn’t giving her the creative spark she needed. So, when she stumbled across a listing for this Halifax space—with its huge windows and waterfront location—she didn’t hesitate to schedule a viewing.
“I absolutely needed that change,” she explains. “I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t feeling inspired by where I lived. As a creator, your home has to inspire you every day.”
Now, Handahu’s rental is not only a space where she can find inspiration and create compelling visuals for her blog and the brands she works with but also a welcoming retreat for her and her loved ones. “I wanted this to be a place where I’d be proud to have my friends over and where they’d feel like they were right at home,” she says.
She describes her decorating style as “organized maximalism.” Art abounds, and there’s colour and pattern everywhere, but she is careful to implement a sense of balance in the space. She’s also firm about decluttering. Two or three times a year, she does an audit of her home—and her closet—and parts with what no longer serves her.
“I’m inspired by colour,” she says. “Whether it’s on my clothes or on my walls, colour makes me happy. I also love [pattern], so having an eclectic mix of prints in my home is important for me. When people talk about maximalism, they think of chaos, but there’s no chaos here.”
Instead, Handahu’s home is a collection of treasures thoughtfully accumulated over time and artfully displayed to create a cohesive and airy vibe. One of her favourite art pieces is a beaded-wire sculpture of an African hoopoe, which was her mom’s favourite bird growing up in Zimbabwe. The mask sculptures in her bedroom were found at a South African market. She even has a story about her tan sofa, though it’s slightly more prosaic.
“I walked into HomeSense, and it was right up front. I immediately called my mom and was like, ‘I have found the sofa of my dreams, and I am not going to move until somebody who works here walks by!’” she says with a laugh. “It’s HomeSense—you cannot let anything go [or you’ll never find it again]!”
That tenacity was at play when decorating this space, too. For the first couple of years that she lived here, the walls were painted renter’s beige, a yellowish hue that didn’t really provide the right backdrop for her extensive art collection. “But I hounded my property manager to allow me to [paint the walls] a lighter colour. It took a lot of emails!”
Painting wasn’t the only way she put her stamp on the space. She also changed the light fixtures and swapped the knobs on the kitchen cabinets, two relatively inexpensive changes that gave the space a personal touch. And she has continued to fine-tune her decor. She loves to move pieces around; sometimes she rearranges the sofas, or she’ll swap out artwork or accessories on a whim. “I like the aspect of myself that’s driven by how I feel and what’s making me happy in the moment,” she says.
The result is a home that’s forever evolving but always feels like a true representation of Handahu’s friendly, welcoming personality.