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Edition 05

Budget for entertainment

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Whether one is creating a separate room or remodeling the living room for a television screen entertainment, a budgetary outline becomes a significant factor writes Sam MORARA.

Proper planning certainly counts while securing home entertainment facilities. If you want to make the most out of what you have or you plan on buying a completely new system, it is extremely important to learn the basics of what it takes to create a well-rounded home entertainment center on a budget.

For one, it is obvious that televisions have steadily graduated to become the centerpiece of home entertainment. It is the big ticket item, the main attraction and probably the most expensive facility in most home’s entertainment list.

Going for TV?

Before bargain hunting for the best priced TV available, here are the most important options for the screens.

Type: Are you looking for a 3-D, LED or plasma TV? If you’re trying to save money, you want to avoid the 3-D TV at the moment. Plasma and LED TV’s are similar in picture quality, but plasma TV’s tend to be more affordable when compared to LED TV’s of similar screen sizes. However, plasma TV’s only come in larger sizes, and if you are willing to sacrifice size for cost, smaller LED TV’s are the most affordable.

Size: The size of your TV will depend on how far away you plan to sit from the screen. For a home entertainment spot in an average size living room, you will most likely be positioned about 10 feet from the TV.

According to most retailers, a 32 or 42 inch screen would be optimal at that distance. If you think you need a little more space away from the TV, a 47 inch screen would be optimal at distances between 11 and 15 feet.

Wide-screen: A 4:3 aspect-ratio might work for a smaller TV in the bedroom, but if you’re building a home entertainment center, do yourself a favour and go with a wide-screen format. Most TV manufacturers with their brands in the East Africa have made these considerations when it comes to television sets. LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Philips lead the pack in innovations in this sector, and have wide coverage of the market. Their products are readily available in major stores and supermarket outlets in the region.

Budget Audio

If you thought purchasing a TV was complicated, wait till you start looking for an audio system for home entertainment. Your audio setup is just as important as your video setup as you’ll always want to get the best sound quality possible, at an affordable price, of course.

The general rule most retailers will tell you is your audio equipment should make up half of your system’s budget, and your video should make up the other half.

Among the key things one may way to consider when shopping for an audio system are as follows:-

Surround sound:True surround sound is a must for any home entertainment center, whether you’re on a budget or not. A regular stereo setup or virtual surround won’t cut it if you’re trying to re-create that movie theater experience.

Speaker channel: A 5.1-channel system is the best setup to go with for a home entertainment center on a budget. With this setup, you will have a total of five speakers: front left, front right, front center, side left and side right.

A/V receiver: A good audio-video receiver is necessary to bring all the audio and video components together. Make sure the A/V receiver you choose can support common audio formats like Dolby Digital Surround, DTS or Dolby True HD.

Subwoofer: A subwoofer is necessary to reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies. In other words, you need it for the bass. Here’s a quick tip: Place your subwoofer by a wall for added effect or in a corner for even better effect.

Home Theater in a Box (HTIB): An HTIB is probably the most affordable option you can go for if you’re looking at buying everything to complete a 5.1-channel, surround sound system for your audio-based home entertainment. HTIBs come in a packaged set, with all the audio components. They range from Ksh. 13,000 to Ksh. 50,000 for a decent set.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match: Many retailers will try to convince you to buy audio components of the same brand to avoid differences in sound characteristics. However, most people aren’t sound experts and will be unable to hear these differences. If a little mixing and matching will get you the most affordable audio set up for your home entertainment center, then do it.

Edition 05

Comfort in the bedroom

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Mattresses immensely contribute to the quality of beds. But one wonders, what really makes that mattress a worthwhile one for a quality sleep. Jeniffer MBOGORI gives a sneak preview of the users preferences. 

The debate between soft versus firm mattresses rages on even after decades of us appreciating the need of quality sleep nursed on worthwhile foams. There are benefits and drawbacks to options of having the sleeping surface softer or harder according to MekanMatresses a leading East Africa mattress household name.

With its firm roots in Kenya and design aerials in Turkey, Mekan has steadily cut a niche for themselves in the now competitive mattress market. It is they who continue to lull quite a number of those desiring quality sleep with enviable mattresses.

According to YasinCenk, one of directors at the firm comfortable sleep isn’t chanced. “The ingredient for quality sleep hinges on a quality mattress,” he stresses.

While some people opt for the stable support of harder, less forgiving mattresses, others choose softer and more lenient mattresses on their beds.  With selection of mattresses increasing constantly, Cent notes that a mattress’ style, functionality and option to select which design and material are right matters.

Comfort vs. Support

One difficulty in the pursuit of the perfect mattress is the division between comfort and support. For years, hard mattresses have been recommended as essential for proper back support, and the only option for maintaining healthy spine alignment during sleep.

Contrastingly, more and more mattresses are marketed purely for comfort, claiming to mimic the softness of sleeping on a cloud. While sleeping comfortably is an obvious aspiration for most people shopping for a new bed, an aching back lacking adequate support clearly presents an obstacle to a good night’s sleep as well.

Orthopedic mattresses are an example of sleep-well products that hit the market with a bang owing to the fact that they do not only offer comfort and a good night’s sleep. They also help to align the body structure appropriately, thereby providing valuable health support. In this category are also the latex mattresses.

Innerspring Mattresses

The most common form of mattress available, the innerspring, uses a layer of metal springs, covered by a small layer of fabric. The springs are designed to support the weight of your body, while sinking just enough to feel comfortable. Depending on the gauge of the coil, spring mattresses can range from firm to moderate support, and then eventually reach soft with age and wear. Within the spring layer, one of four types of coils that may be used:-

Continuous coil

Each row of interior springs is made up of one continuous spring. The use of one spring as opposed to many is thought to increase the strength of the coil, providing stronger support, and extending the life of the spring’s original resistance.

Open coil

The oldest style of spring mattress, open coil spring form the shape of an hourglass, and are bound to each other by a series of smaller wire spirals. While open coil springs initially provide adequate support, they tend to lose their resistance relatively quickly.

Offset coil

An adaptation of the open coil, offset coil springs forms a square head rather than circular. This design change is thought to increase the mattress’s ability to conform to the weight of a person’s body. Offset coils are also connected to each other within the mattress by a series of smaller wire coils.

Individually wrapped coils

Rather than using a chamber of coils spanning the entire interior of the mattress, this style uses individually wrapped coils, each enclosed in a fabric pocket. The separation rather than connection of coils attempts to reduce the transfer of motion from one coil to another, stabilizing the mattress’s surface.

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Edition 05

Enchanting Sani Gardens

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By Kelai WANJIRU

Picture this beautiful setting – a lush green landscape set among beautiful gardens, surrounded by exotic flowers and mature trees in a quiet, serene and inspiring environment.

As we drove around the Karen suburb trying to locate the gardens, little did we imagine that we were about step into the most mesmerizing place in Nairobi.  As the gates were opened, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the green green grass and the most fascinating flowers – some of which I had never seen in my life.  I actually had to touch the grass just to make sure it was real.

Astonishing landscape

Lost in the astonishing landscape and the amazing view of the Ngong Hills, we were ushered into the gardens by the charming and most pleasant owners who explained to us the meaning of the word “Sani”.

A fairly new home in the area, the gardens were once just a vast land of stones and gravel, that were quickly transformed into a haven of tranquility and peace.

Step into the trendy Sani Gardens – a unique recreational garden filled with breath-taking greenery, covering a large area of peaceful parkland.  Nestled in the serene suburb of Karen, the gardens epitomize a relaxed garden scheme of uplifting colours and scents.

The gardens run by a group of entrepreneurs, are a popular spot for visitors looking to rejuvenate and relax their senses after a long hard week, picnics, corporate events, wedding parties, among many other activities.

Beautiful extension

Surrounding a most enchanting home, the gardens are a beautiful extension that comprise of a series of spaces the each feature distinctive elements that are sure to enchant anyone spending a day here – a truly enchanting spot.

With the remarkable expanse of unique trees, amazing botanic gardens and the tranquil park, there is something melancholy about the nature surrounding the Sani Gardens.

The gardens give meaning to the phrase “maximizing space”. The sheer size of the park is a challenge to anyone and an outdoor space has never been this inviting.

This enchanting garden features exquisite and striking spaces like a tranquil “pergola” where one can hold a romantic dinner or a family get-together.

Graceful plants

There are also unique areas around the garden where graceful plants define the gardens in the countryside by the city and manicured archways that line the gardens.  The gardens are also graced with beautiful and one of a kind sculptures that offer the African theme of embracing family and unity.

In line with going green and being friendly to Mother Nature, the mission of the founders of Sani Gardens is to promote relaxation, enjoyment and appreciation of nature.

Enjoy days and evenings filled with the fresh scent of nature and fragrant plants at the fabulous Sani Gardens.

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Edition 05

Golfing transformed at Aberdare Hills

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If you ever thought of refreshed international standard golfing, then Aberdare Hills Golf Resort, with homely interiors, a nostalgic environment and manicured landscapes designed by world renowned designers Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo (WATG) would definitely be your next big bet by Kelai WANJIRU.

Sitting in grandeur at the foothills of the world famous Rift Valley, is a beauty unknown to most people – facing the Aberdare ranges is the highly anticipated Aberdare Hills Golf Resort. Thanks to Panda Development Company initiative speaks volumes of fantastic interiors graced with beautiful surroundings and manicured landscapes.

Going on a tour to this eco-friendly golf resort is undoubtedly a nostalgic experience. Set on a massive 1,650 hectares of prime land in Naivasha, the resort boasts of a five star hotel. It is designed as a self-contained residential community with recreation, leisure facilities and amenities that offer a unique and luxurious lifestyle. One quickly sees the opportunity of an international golf championship talking place at this well kempt arena. Within the golf course’s vicinity is a commercial centre.

With wide views of the mountains and the feel of the soft breeze of the rift’s air on one’s cheeks, pure relaxation and contentment is what the developers – Panda Development Company had in mind when this world class resort was incepted.  It affirms its quality space around the neighbouring flower farms that’s known of Naivasha – a town equally popular with those who are keen on the finer things of life.

Jells pretty

The generous spaces of the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort boldly make it a site to behold. Its 18-hole golf course and endearing vehicle parking yards jells pretty with the green mother-nature that serves as a special sanctuary for birdlife. Several species of the birds abound.  One can easily see why the resort is mother-nature’s best friend.

According to the chairman of Panda Development Company, Dr.PritamPanesar, the integration of the East African Community makes the incomparable major regional development a sure determinant of Naivasha’s future in Kenya’s growing global market position.

The development comprises two phases with the first phase comprising of 216 Ultra-Luxe Villas each with a choice of three to five bedroom rare units, an 18-hole golf course that’s built to international and USGA championship specifications, a Golf and Country Club House and infrastructure to support the first phase.  Construction of the golf course has already started and the first phase will be completed in 2014. Design for the second phase has been completed.

Superb views

Dr.Panesar, so passionate about the environment, states that the golf resort is environmentally sustainable as it will contribute to alleviating some of the pressures of the city and ease congestion. He notes that the golf resort has a safe and secure environment that provides freedom for children and adults alike to play and explore the natural landscape accessed by well maintained paths and trails.  With superb views from elevated areas, the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort is designed by world renowned designers Wimberly Allison Tong and Goo (WATG), who have done a superb job of creating a visionary mix of housing and commercial space – a first in Kenya.

David Jones, the golf-course design team leader was certainly out to make a difference at a location that is away from the hustle and bustle of the Nairobi – Kenya’s capital city. However, by virtue of being only an hour’s drive the city, the golf resort offers luxurious living with excellent services that surpass the expectations of the East African Community and international travellers. The resort, which has changed the face of the small town of Naivasha is a sound investment that is sure to elevate the country as the destination to be.

The exquisite and stimulating design of the villas is a summary of inspiration. Each villa is uniquely designed to capture the spirit of nature and the feel of the Aberdare Ranges that stands tall in a not so far-off distance. That contemporary and modernity feel couldn’t escape the designer’s mind.  While it is almost difficult to capture the designer’s concept, kudos goes to the unrushed and well thought-out process of the awesome and inviting Aberdare Hills Golf Resort.

By creating beautiful spaces to live, work and play, the Panda Development Company offers an exceptional experience that combines opulence and nature.

P.O Box 46235 – 00100 Nairobi

www.aberdarehills.com

info@ aberdarehills.com

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