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Edition 05

Dare the devil

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The level at which lesser and lesser attention is paid to details is shocking considering that the trend tends to have people comfortably live with the unacceptable as acceptable, writes Robert YAWE. 

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS – Mmmh they say. Any mason can plaster a wall but it takes a great mason to plaster it flat and level. Well, as a consumer of interiors, I have realised that we are fast losing the eye for detail both in the case of the consumer and the supplier.

It is only after seeing the lack of attention to detail; starting from how we cook to how we drive that you realise where the failure in all the other facets of our lives originates.

A wise man once said; “When you wallow with the pigs, expect to get dirty”.  This simply means if you hang around with pigs, with time you will be comfortable rolling in the muck and will also find it acceptable.

Advanced knowledge

The level to which we have cascaded into paying lesser and lesser attention to detail is shocking. It is certainly concerning. Most likely, this is what may’ve happened just before the fall of the great Mayan and Egyptian civilisations. How else could you explain the existence of great structures that required advanced engineering knowledge yet all the inhabitants surrounding them lived in caves and adobe structures?

If we continue to treat detail as optional, not only in our space interiors and exteriors but also in our lives we are likely to find ourselves literally stuck then back to basics.

You must be wondering where this rant and rave is doing in a magazine dedicated to the finer things in life, the interiors of our homes, offices, places of worship and vehicles.

What turns a house into a home or an office into a place of creativity is the attention to detail taken in its creation.  Mr.Kigara, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, during his presentation at one of the Ideal Interiors networking functions reminded us that all design is meant to serve the needs of the occupant.

The door heights sink levels, flooring materials, placement of toilet paper roll holders, door swings, and chair depths are meant to first be functional to the occupant before aesthetics is introduced.

Quality of work

The first time I saw a set of plans for a house was when designers used drawing boards yet the detail in those plans were far surpassing what is being generated today with all the technology available.  We might have moved forward in the tools that we use but unfortunately we retarded twice the distance in as far as quality of work is concerned.

During a recent project I was involved in as the developer I came to despise the statement “- ditto –“that kept being used by the design team.  A valuer once told me that no two houses are identical so based on the same tenet no two buildings are therefore identical “- ditto -” should be used sparingly.  As a result of all the ditto instructions to the contractor we ended up with a building that was 10 percent bigger than budgeted.

With the ability to drag a wall to a new location, change colour at mouse-click while in 3D the quality and accuracy of our work needs to be 100 times better than what could be produced on a drawing board; one would certainly wonder what is going wrong.

There is too much wallowing taking place in the interiors fraternity and I have proof that it’s more because we have refused to keep abreast of what is happening within the industry and instead work in cocoons where we deceive ourselves that we are the greatest in our field.  

I have a pet issue I like bringing up and that is the lack of a private hanging area for underpants in our houses.  Some of us know that Africans have an issue with letting someone else wash or see them, yet in the over 20 years I have had a keen interest in interiors I have only seen one house where such a space was provided.

Disappointing plans

In the July-September 2011 issue of Ideal Interiors I raised the issue who is killing our interiors which referred both to our interior spaces and the profession of interior design.

As you drive around the leafy and also the thorny suburbs you will come across well designed and finished exteriors only to walk into the units and get completely disappointed in the floor plans.

It seems that the external of the building was what got initial approval by the financier before the floor plan was developed, resulting in awkward shaped/sized rooms, wardrobes in the wrong place and isolated facilities in en-suite rooms.

The worst of all is the little items like power sockets, TV outlets and lighting where even developments put up in the past few years have a single or two twin sockets in the master bedroom.

Yet it is obvious that there will at least be a TV set, DVD, stereo or hifi, two or more mobile chargers, a laptop or two and 2 bedside lights.

In addition to providing additional sockets they need to be placed in a way so as to give the occupant the flexibility in how to arrange the room.  Forcing the occupants of a room to face their beds in a fixed direction is a cause of our unhealthy lives. I have a problem with sleeping at right angles to a wall and like the option to get out of bed from either side.

Persistent pain

Well, some of us pretend that we are able to live with such flaws in our houses but I can assure you that the persistent pain in your neck and tendency to drive slower as you near your home and faster as you leave are as a result of detail in the house that you are uncomfortable with but are either unable to change or you are in denial about its existence.

A shower cubicle that is half a foot too small, a door handle that is 2 inches too high, a socket that is inaccessible, a soap holder that is too low or skewed tiling might be what is causing the knot in your neck .

If you are renting then this are temporary issues that you can look out for when moving house but if you built or bought the house then the issues are different.

As consumers we need to learn to notice and take action when we come across a lack of attention to detail be it in houses, shoes or services as an acceptance of less leads to lowering standards and institutionalised mediocrity.

Uphold professionalism

Those of us involved in the interiors industry have a responsibility to uphold a high level of professionalism and adherence to tight tolerances. If you were on the operating table comatose in the hands of a surgeon, how would you expect them to do their work?  Keep this in mind every time you provide a below standard service to a client as the child who grows up in such a space may become the surgeon.

Unlike the roofers whose bad workmanship can be easily lived with because it is unseen those responsible for the interiors do not have the same luxury as the client is constantly in touch with your attention or lack of to detail.

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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