Apartment emphasizes African people, culture

SANDUSKY Back to the wild. Walking into Mark Yocum's home is like walking into an Afr
May 24, 2010



Back to the wild.

Walking into Mark Yocum's home is like walking into an African jungle.

The one-floor apartment at Muirwood Village, seems like every other apartment building from the outside, but is another continent inside.

The living room boasts animal prints, elephant and tiger statues and imitations of African plants.

Yocum said he was first inspired to redecorate his apartment two years ago after visiting an African store in Myrtle Beach.

"Another country, another culture," Yocum said. "It's always something I've been fascinated with."

The living room walls and furniture are decorated with 11 authentic African masks, including a two-faced mask with intricately cut designs.

Yocum said he does not have a favorite mask, but said he wanted to include a variety since they each represent a different part of the African culture.

The living room is a blend of dark- and beige-colored furniture that accent the animal prints and statues.

His master bedroom continues with the African theme.

In the corner of the room an African warrior, carved from wood, stands guard while two stone animal statues from Kenya and Zimbabwe sit on his night stand. His bed includes a blend of tiger and leopard prints.

His family, especially his mother, picked out a few items, but Yocum said he did a majority of the decorating.

"It's just like a painter. I just pictured what I wanted and started building it," said Yocum, a self-described 'wannabe decorator.'

Yocum said he began decorating after his marriage ended, and he soon decided to explore his own interests.

"All of a sudden I had a place to build around to make me comfortable," he said. "When I walk in here, I'm comfortable."

Yocum said his favorite room is "The Cave," where he likes to relax and watch sports.

Although he rents his apartment, Yocum said that did not stop him from making temporary changes.

"Everything here I can take with me and would," he said. "If you keep that in mind, it can work."

Yocum said he's not sure how long he will keep the African theme since he's constantly tweaking it.

"You kind of dream up what you want to and start," he said. "It's been fun and I've enjoyed it."