This weekend we’re squeezing (virtually) into bed with Samina and Akil from the Becks family. Samina is a project manager in the theatre and dance industry whilst Akil runs his own aquarium design company – which has to be one of the coolest jobs ever. Both are co-creators of the Instagram account @blackhomesuk.
Sam and Akil invite us into their home to chat renovations, winding down rituals and how the code word: ‘d triple b’ is the key to a successful bedtime routine.
Tell us about your home…
Buying our house last year was a dream come true. We always knew the area we wanted to buy in because of its transport links, great school and diverse community.
Although we got the keys during the middle of the first lockdown we managed to speed through the first phase of renovations. We completely gutted the house with the exception of the kitchen and had a full rewire and replaster and brand new bathroom fitted before we moved in in October 2020.
We’re taking our time to thoughtfully decorate the house and make it work for our family. For us, having a house full of friends, family and food makes a home. But we do love a movie night in bed, just the four of us.
Describe your interior style?
Inspired by nature. We choose design features to help us all feel centred in our home but we’ve had to embraced the challenge of merging this with the practicalities of a family home. We also love the philosophy behind biophilic design.
Samina and Akil have recently given their bedroom a makeover
Describe the feeling you get when you walk through the front door?
Gratitude. It’s so humbling to finally own our own house. We worked so hard and sacrificed so much as a family and we are all very aware of how lucky we are to have our lovely home.
Akil tends to work away for a few nights at a time so the children are always over excited to see him when he gets home.
Samina and Akil sleep in Linen in Snow and The Cotton Quilt in Clay
How does your family switch off before bed?
This lockdown has seriously disrupted our bedtime routine, but we have a saying which is: ’D triple B’ - dinner, bath, book and bed!
It’s usually a challenge to get the children up the stairs but once they are in PJs we spend a lot of time reading together to wind down. When the children are settled, and if neither of us have any pressing work to do, we catch up over glass of something (a flavoured gin is our favourite at the moment).
Which corner of your home are we most likely to find you having a moment to yourself?
BED it’s probably the only quiet place in the house (Samina and Akil sleep in Linen in Snow and the Cotton Quilt in Clay).
What are your favourite ways to wind down as a family?
It changes as the children get older but our favourite thing to do recently is to organise regular movie nights. Our youngest writes up the menus and invitations and we have an array of naughty and healthy snacks.
It always takes ages to choose the movie and dad usually ends up falling asleep ten minutes in!
Who is the biggest homebody in the family?
I am. I love being at home alone.
What makes you feel most at home?
There is a piece of abstract artwork Akil bought from a market trader in Birmingham City centre for £15, years before we met. The first time I saw it I recognised it straight away.
It’s an iconic image from a classic modern dance piece called Revelations by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. I’ve since found out Akil had no idea what it was when he bought it and thought it might be a picture of flying birds!
The piece signifies the journey we have come on together (I’m now working with the dance company) and it means a lot to both of us. We still haven’t found the right place to hang it but there’s something about just knowing it’s there that makes us feel home.
Samina and Akil's Lie In List
The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle
The How To series by Stormzy's publishing company Merky Books
Anything property related on Channel 4
Caught off Guard podcast by Patricia Bright
Oprah's Super Soul Sundays
@blackhomesuk an inclusive space for everyone to enjoy the interiors of black homeowners and renters.
@Farfromthenorm where Hip Hop meets visual theatre. You have to see it to believe it. Stunning!
@Hudstilingservices they share the most satisfying clips of luxury tile installations set to reggae music. I could watch their reels all day!
@mumsnet I love all the versions of motherhood they share and represent, it feels like a really inclusive space where even the 'unmumsy mums' can get involved.