Whilst many people come to the Algarve to retire, local artist and businesswoman Uschi Kuhn has spent the last 15 years working as a hairdresser and body painter at her home in the picturesque hills above Loulé.
Born in Germany, Uschi and her husband Rudi moved with their young family to South Africa in 1966 where they established a hairdressing business. They returned to Germany in 1976 to start yet another hairdressing business in Leimen. However, they both missed the climate, vegetation, stars, sea and sky of South Africa so much they couldn’t settle.
After visiting the Algarve on holiday they were reminded so much of all the things they had left behind in South Africa that they moved here in 2002 and started yet another hairdressing business. Soon Uschi expanded the business to include body painting and permanent make-up.
In 2013 Uschi was suddenly widowed but she continued her business and in 2015 she was appointed the first woman President of the Almancil International Rotary Club. It was whilst carrying out her presidential duties that she met widower Peter Thorne. The two became friends. Romance soon blossomed and their partnership was blessed at the beautiful church in São Lourenço in January 2017.
Whilst Uschi enjoyed her business, art has always been her passion. Her dream was to create an artists retreat at her beautiful home. “When I confided this to Peter he not only encouraged me to transform my home and gardens, he has worked tirelessly to make my dream come true” said Uschi. Together Uschi and Peter have created an oasis of colour and calm where fellow artists can stay, enjoy the beautiful Algarve and receive expert tuition from local professional artists if they wish.
The extensive gardens certainly reflect Uschi’s quirky character and love of colour. Whichever way you look there are paintings and sculptures to make you smile. There are breath-taking views of the valley as well as seating areas to soak up the sun and atmosphere. Even before the project was finished Uschi was receiving enquiries from people as far away as Australia. “I won’t be giving up hairdressing” said Uschi. “I don’t want to disappoint my regular clients but I am very excited about making new friends who enjoy art as much as I do”.