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Edition 05

Go beyond portfolios

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While it is important to run through the curriculum vitae of an interior designer before commissioning the work, it is important to know your personal space aspirations that you’d then share with a professional whose credentials positively speak and match the working style of quality deliverables, writes Winnie LAU.

We NOW KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF HIRING AN INTERIOR DESIGNER. This follows the insights shared in the previous edition of this magazine. Now what next? Before you start planning your “reveal” party, you’ll need a basic understanding about the process to ensure that you get the most design for your hard earned shilling and that you have an enjoyable and fabulous experience, no matter what type of project is ahead of you.

 

Looking at an interior designer’s portfolio and talking to past clients are two ways of learning about the professional credentials and working style. That being the case, not every designer’s talent is right for every project.  Well, hopefully that sounds a bell.

With the consideration that projects vary is important to dig deeper before engaging that or the other interior designer. If your goal is to create a more personal, more functional, more comfortable home, a designer’s ideas about how to approach your project may be more important than reviewing a portfolio of previous projects. You will want to choose someone whose portfolio “speaks” to you in a positive way.

Well, among the aspects that you as a client should consider before formally engaging services of interior designers include:-

 

1

Consideration of the needed lifestyle or project needs

Your living or work environment should complement and support the way you and those who occupy the space really live – or really want to live. For example, if you’re starting a home-based business, you might turn your cluttered garage into a functional office.

To ensure that your designer understands how you live now and how you want to live, share as many details with them as you can. Also share your personal tastes so they can incorporate them into the designs. After all, you hired this person for their experience, talent and vision!

 

2

Do Your Homework

It’s often recommended that you begin to accumulate photos from magazines of rooms and furniture you like (and those you dislike), and the activities that will take place in the room, since this will give your designer a place to start in creating a design specifically for you.  In this respect, it is important to choose the right interior designer.

For one, professionally trained Interior Designers have enormous experience. They’ve undergone extensive training in the various elements of modern and historical design, art and architecture. This knowledge allows them to develop concepts that range from traditional, contemporary, art decor, eclectic – or a combination of several styles.

 

3

Establishing a Realistic Budget

A well-run design project will enable you to get the most for your money. It will also help you see what you can expect from your designer and how to plan for extra costs. Initial discussions about budgets and costs ought to take place at the first meeting. If you have absolutely no idea what you need to spend then it may be a case of requesting three proposals or quotes. Either way, it is beneficial for everyone to be up-front about your available budget.

Design fees are usually quoted as an estimate, fixed price or on a ‘price-not-to-exceed’ basis. Although some of the bigger design consultancies may have a minimum project fee, many designers can – and often will – accommodate smaller budgets rather than dismiss a project entirely. But it will help if everyone has a clear understanding of how much money is available and a realistic idea of what could be achieved with it.

Equally, you should expect any proposals from your designers to include a detailed breakdown of all their charges, including standard day rates, possible additional fees and what is and isn’t included.

It may also be worth reserving some of your total budget for additional requirements that could develop either during or at the end of the design project. The design costs should therefore be broken down into three areas that include: Design fees – quoted in advance; usually related to the amount of time a consultancy will spend on a project and probably charged at a daily rate. The other amount should touch on expenses – costs such as travel and accommodation incurred by the consultancy in connection with the job. Lastly, implementation costs – payment for materials and services used to complete the project.

Remember: It is agreed good practice to pay the designers for any time they spend preparing creative work and you should not expect them to undertake such work for free.

So, if you’d like to see some initial creative responses to your project you’ll need to factor in to your budget, say, a day’s worth of time for each designer who will be making a creative pitch. The designers will be able to tell you what their day rates are, so you can work out whether this is feasible

 

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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