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Edition 01

Bundling for a bundle of joy

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From baby nursery to teen retreat, there’s now a bevy of decorating options when it comes to furnishing your child’s room to create the delight the little ones surely deserve writes Carole Wanjiru.

Keeping in mind that a child spends approximately 12-16 hours a day in their room, isn’t it time you brought out your inner child and have her help you decorate your children’s bedrooms?  And surely there was a room you always wanted as a kid? This is going to be so much fun.

Decorating a room for a new-born is usually an exciting experience though an exerting task for parents. There are many choices for a baby’s room decor, and knowing what you want makes the whole exercise easier.

Of importance, while embarking on such course keep safety and comfort as your top priorities to create a safe and peaceful sanctuary for your new arrival. Usage of non-toxic paints is healthy. Never use lead-based paints for anything in a kid’s room as they are poisonous and babies tend to chew on everything they find.

 Choose a theme

Wallpaper patterns usually make a significant difference in the toddler’s room. It is important to choose a theme in your decorations. For instance, the following themes are recommended for a baby girl’s room: flowers, butterflies, stars, angels, fairies or the name of the baby. Having a theme in mind before decorating a room for your newborn helps you to choose the appropriate accessories, paints and window treatments.

 Colours

Choose colours that are calming and soothing, such as light green or baby blue. Understand that you can choose more than one colour for the room. Paint the wall well in advance of your baby’s arrival so the room has time to air out.

 Flooring

Decide on flooring, keeping in mind that the room can feature carpet, hardwood or tile flooring. Hardwood floors are easiest to keep clean and free from allergens.

Decorate the ceiling

Choose something for the ceiling. Understand that babies spend most of the time lying on their backs, so decorating the ceiling is important. Once their vision develops so they can see far away, they may enjoy ceiling decor.

Pick a window treatment. You can choose different textiles and designs when decorating the window. If your treatment includes blinds, wrap up the cords tightly so they do not dangle down and create a danger for your child.

Furniture and Accessories

When choosing furniture, think about how long you are going to use the pieces and whether your newborn can still use the furniture when he or she gets older. Ensure that any furniture you choose meets current safety standards.

Furniture for a newborn should include a crib, changing table, bassinet, clothes drawer and (rocking) chair. Cot is the most important piece of furniture. Usually a convertible one might be the best choice. Once your baby has outgrown the crib, it converts into a toddler bed or a window seat. The mattress should fit the crib perfectly to keep the baby’s limbs from getting caught. Make sure that the crib you buy meets safety standards. Most international brands do. (It might not be a very good idea to design and have one made by the local carpenter.)

Light the room

Keep in mind that lighting will bring your baby’s room to life. Contrasting colours work best for your newborn.

For older children (3+ years), if you want them to enjoy staying indoors from time to time, you will have to make their living space interesting and playful. They are always attracted towards colorful objects inside and outside the home. A child’s main activities in the bedroom are sleeping coupled with grooming, studying and numerous moments of play time. A kid’s room design should consider the child’s personality, age, parent’s budget and the different purposes for the room.

Children’s room furniture and design should not be too ambitious. Parents need to remember that they do not buy the children’s furniture for themselves. Furniture for the kid’s rooms should be simple and safe.

Kid’s furniture has to take a lot of “beating” over the years; therefore, functionality and durability are the next things to consider during a child’s room design project. You will need to apply fascinating colour themes on kids’ room walls and add a lot of fun items to your kid’s room.

As mentioned, it is possible to carry out these décor tips and designs in Kenya and indeed across the East African region. Several establishments offer furniture, accessories, fabric and soft furnishings. One such establishment is Treehouse Children’s décor Company.

Edition 01

Is a Will really necessary

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Toiling through toils to acquire the very best of the assets can be lost when people inevitably breathe their last on earth writes Cathy Mputhia as she stresses the need for all to write a valid Will so that the property by law does not devolve to the State. 

Most people dread contemplating their own death. Consequently, they fail to draw a Will and occasion hardships to their survivors when they pass-on after acquiring so much assets and wealth.

Writing a Will is however one of the most prudent step one could make for themselves and their families. It really is a very simple way through which one may preserve their wealth beyond the inevitable death.

A Will is a legal document containing a person’s declaration as to their wishes regarding the disposition of their property after they die. For such a document to be legally enforceable, it must conform to the requirements as set out under the laws governing succession. In Kenya, this would be the Law of Succession Act, (Chapter 160, Laws of Kenya).

 Be on the safe side

By means of a Will you could almost literally determine the course of his wealth from the depths of their grave. Many are the stories of thriving estates which got dissipated not long after the demise of their patriarchs or matriarchs because of their having landed in the wrong hands. To avoid this, one may appoint a trusted person to act as the Executor of his estate, appoint trustees and or guardians for children who are still minors.

To be on the safe side, one may appoint an alternative executor or guardian just in case the default one is unable to act. He could also give instructions as to how his body is to be disposed of or generally how his funeral is to be conducted. This will definitely reduce the strain death causes among friends and relatives as there will be no need for lengthy funeral committee meetings deliberating on the same.

Something foreseeable

It is a very shameful to witness relatives squabbling in public over who is to get what as relates to the estate of a deceased. Imagine the anguish his immediate family had to endure over something both foreseeable and avoidable.

The mere appointment of executors or trustees does not mean that the wealth preservation process will be smooth. Indeed for complicated ventures such as investment, trusts or maintenance, they may encounter difficulty and thus a Will may specifically outline what they are to do and even empower them to do that which they would otherwise have been unable to do.

No prescribed format

So who needs to write a Will and how does one go about it? Well, the Law of Succession Act states that anybody who owns free property, is over 18 years of age, and is of sound mind can write a Will. There is no prescribed format for writing a Will but the maker must indicate from the onset that he is drafting one by describing the document as such.

Generally, a Will must be in written form (for an oral Will to be valid, the maker must have died within three months of it) and the Testator, for that is what he who drafts a Will is called, must sign and affix his mark to it or some other person must do so on his behalf in his presence and direction.

This process is referred to as executing the Will. Subsequently, the Will must be attested, which means it be signed in the Testator’s presence by at least two people who must have witnessed its execution. It would suffice if they receive from the Testator a personal acknowledgement of his signature or mark. The attesting witnesses should not be beneficiaries under the same Will, but if they are, their bequests may fail.

People need not fear writing a Will. They are indeed free to revoke or alter it at any time. Furthermore, a revoked Will can still be revived by being re-executed.

Whilst people are free to dispose of their estate as they like (Testamentary Freedom), care should be taken when making a Will to ensure all dependants are catered for reasonably. If that does not happen and an aggrieved dependant goes to Court, the Court has the right to intervene and secure them reasonable provision out of the deceased’s net estate.

However it is always best if one was able to determine how the wealth they have worked so hard for is inherited rather than to let the Courts decide for them. In the West, wills have been used to settle scores with dependents. You find cases of someone bequeathing millions of dollars to their pets.

In Kenya, an aggrieved dependant can petition the court to intervene. However, one must be a dependant for this to happen as testamentary dispositions are an exercise of one’s freedom over their property. In the very unlikely event that one does not have dependants to survive him in addition to their not having left a valid Will, the property will by law devolve to the State.

Clearly, there is no excuse why anyone should not write a Will. It is actually in our own best interests to do so. The legal costs for writing a Will, far out-weighs the costs of not having a Will. One shall disclose to his advocate the assets in his possession and make a list of how he would like to bequeath them.

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Edition 01

The tribe-less Tribe Hotel

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TRIBE, Kenya’s undisputed hottest name in hotelier industry emerges as an icon to behold following its top-notch hospitable service, robustness in stylish architecture, technology and transport aura. 

Two years after its launch, the hotel that knows one tribe in name of hospitality – continues to uphold the inner heart of warmth that has since earned it global prestigious hotelier accolades.

With sensational design mix of cool contemporary and African chic, the four-storey hotel with a glass atrium and more than 800 artworks creates a striking and an ever nostalgic wow owing to the formation that intermingle the modern architecture and traditional African tinge of designs.

Interiors of the hotel’s 137 rooms and suites—decorated in shades of ocher, brown, and beige — convey an urban cool nostalgic environment. With curved walls and headboards the rooms with contemporary and traditional sculptures make that warm wow experience desired in a home.

Volume of modernity

Glass-walled bathrooms in all the rooms speaks volumes of modernity and luxurious glam that so easily jells with freestanding tubs, packets of Kenyan coffee and complimentary mini-bar treats, with sumptuous bedding, wi-fi, mood lighting, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and large LCD televisions.

As this year comes to a close, TRIBE – also distinguished as The Village Market Hotel, has reason to boast of being chosen as one of the world’s hottest new hotels in the global circuit by Conde Nast Traveller in the magazine’s 2010 Awards. In its 2010 Hot List, the publication praised hoteliers for expanding in one of the toughest global economic periods in recent years.

“Showing amazing resilience, the art of hotel innovation is flourishing. We combed through the thousands (of hotels) that debuted in the past year and then bedded down anonymously at the most compelling candidates. A robust 134 properties spread across a record 55 countries won a place on our list with their blend of style, service, technology, and transporting aura,” said the award organizers.

During the judging process 16 hotels in Africa and the Middle East cracked the nod and Tribe – The Village Market Hotel, which is part of Protea Hotels’ exclusive African Pride Hotels’ collection, was the only one chosen in Kenya. It was one of the only six properties in the world to be selected for both the UK and US Hot Lists by Conde Nast Traveler.

 Luxurious nature

Danny Bryer, Sales, Marketing and Revenue Director of the Protea Hospitality Group, said he was delighted with the award. “This award recognizes the quality and luxurious nature of Tribe and the African Pride Hotels brand; Africa’s largest and leading luxury hospitality brand. Our staff members are dedicated to providing world-class service and the entire hotel is a design masterpiece,” he said.

He noted that awards of that nature show the international travel market that the best hospitality services are to be found on the African continent.

Bryer said the hotel was also a testament to successful partnerships between local developers and international brands such as the African Pride Hotel group. “The recipe has worked so well that the hotel has since expanded its top-of-the-range conferencing facility to accommodate 100 people from a previous 30.

 Re-setting the standards

Director and Chief of Development Hooman Ehsani said he was delighted. “The response has been good from local and international clientele since the hotel opened,” he noted.

“Tribe is not even two years old, but we have already earned a reputation for re-setting the standards of hotel customer service and accommodation in Nairobi. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short time, but for us, this recognition is a spring-board for the continued development of Tribe, and the continued growth of tourism in Kenya,” said he.

“From the very initial drawing board stage of design our benchmark has always been the global hospitality industry, and this accolade establishes Tribe as one of the top properties in the World, an achievement we are extremely proud of,” said Mehraz Ehsani, the hotel’s architect.

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Edition 01

Offices to crave for

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Unlike furnishing a home where relaxation takes place, furnishing the office presents different challenges writes, Lydia Opwaka stressing the need to ensure that the environment remains pleasant.

Decorating an office space can be a delicate balancing act. On the one hand you want your office space to be inviting and pleasant for both employees and visitors, while on the other hand it must remain professional in look and feel.

Here are some helpful tips on how to make your office space a pleasant and productive physical environment. They range from painting, decking the walls to minimising clutter to greening the surrounding and furnishing with care.

If you are going to be using a computer you will want to make sure that it doesn’t take up your whole desk, so you may consider this before buying a desk or the computer. A flat screen for the computer can help to leave you some room.

Color Your World

While painting office walls, pick colours that reflect the spirit of your business. If you work in a traditionally conservative industry such as banking or legal services, you’re better off choosing a neutral colour such as light green, beige, or a shade of white. If your business is traditionally staffed by more creative types such as designers or artists, feel free to go for walls with more visual pizzazz. Whichever tone you choose, be sure to use high-quality paint that will last for a long time, as repainting an office space can be a disruptive event.

Deck the Walls

Bare walls can give an office a dull, unlived-in feel, and that energy can affect the mood of your staff. Warm up your workspace by adding some tasteful framed photos, prints, or paintings to your walls. One creative idea is to invite local artists to display their artwork on your walls. It’s a win-win situation — they get exposure for their work while you get free office decor.

 Indoor trees

Make Your Office a Green Zone. Adding a few plants and indoor trees to your office setup will make your employees feel less cut off from the outside world, especially in offices located in very urban areas.

Potted plants can help to give an office comfortable ambiance and there are now fake plants available that look exactly like real plants. Real plants never do well in an office environment due to the dry air and lack of sunlight.

However as you may also want to go natural; chose to shop for plants by read their identifying tags to determine what kind of light each needs, and make sure they will thrive on the amount of light available in your workspace. There are also many corporate plant services that will “rent” office plants and take over their care and watering onsite.

Furnish with Care

Office furniture plays a large role in how an office space looks and feels. As furnishing a large space can be very expensive, most businesses tend to rent or lease their office furniture.

Unfortunately, the majority of office furnishings available tend to be very bland and conservative looking. One important rule of thumb is to try to maintain the same style of furniture throughout the office.

Mismatched tables and chairs tend to make any space look rather cheap and thrown together. As with wall colour, try to go for a style in furnishings that reflects the energy of your industry. The move will help you save some money on Office Furniture as you make your space look great without breaking the bank.

Control the Clutter

It’s been said that with a clear desk comes a clear mind. Keep that in mind when arranging your desktop. A framed photograph of a loved one, a telephone, and a computer should suffice.

If there are office supplies you don’t use on a constant basis, tuck them away in a drawer. A chaotic physical environment will soon give way to a chaotic energy in the workplace, and this is rarely good for productivity or progress.

 Break area

If you are going to have employees working for you will need a break area for them to break in and relax their mind a bit. Fatigued employees make mistakes and can become unproductive. If you are going to be working late nights you might also consider having a coffee pot on a table, so someone can have a cup of coffee if they feel a bit tired.

 Relaxed air

Another thing that you might consider is to hang some framed prints on the wall with outdoor scenes to give the office a relaxed air. If you are going to have clients visiting your office then you might also consider installing a sofa for them to relax on and provide some magazines for them to read.

It is important to have a video screen available for clients with some promotional material showcasing services or products that potential clients can view while they are waiting. On the floor, consider to throw a rug to soften the look of the extensive tile floor.

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