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Edition 17

Your home interiors has a life



The home is supposed to be where the heart is but too many of us it is not. Why? It’s because we don’t spend a lot of time at home. Whenever we detach ourselves from spaces we live in, those spaces die. Yes. They become dead spaces that do not allow our hearts to linger.

Most of us assume that when we own the house then we now have a home but that is an agrarian mentality where you needed land to survive, as it was a factor of production today, we carry ours on our necks.

Which reminds me of the song “Papa was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations with the lyrics “wherever he laid his hat was his home” which should tell us that we make our homes where we are and should not postpone it for later.

Crucial moments

You might not spend a lot of waking time in your home but it is where you spend those most crucial moments, which determine your waking day before you fall asleep and as soon as you wake up.

If you come home all stressed out, flop into that well-worn chair only to look across at the same old curtains that have been draped over the windows for the past five (5) years, you are most likely to feel much worse.

Too many of us spend tens of thousands on a single set of drapes instead of on a few sets of well-priced drapes of different patterns. Alternatively, you can opt to rotate the same sets around the rooms, which can be as effective as repainting the walls.

Chama model

If we are to apply the Chama (a women’s social group with a mild financial component) model here, you can buy a number of full roles of draping at a wholesale price then share it amongst the members.  Each of the members is then free to have theirs sewn into single pattern curtains, mixed pattern curtains, duvet covers, bed covers or scatter pillow covers so as to avoid your houses looking like those of twins.

Recently my wife replaced the linings and curtains with something she called sheer curtains, in my head

curtains were supposed to cut out light totally, even though we close them when it is dark outside, or to prevent prying eyes, which made me feel uncomfortable at first.

It is only after a few days of sitting opposite the sheer curtains that I realised their practicality, they worked perfectly during the day allowing enough light in and they prevented dust but did not stop prying eyes from looking into the house.  The latter was not important because our sitting room faces into a private garden; this reflects how we do not question why we do what we do.

Odourless and scented paints

Today, with fast drying, water-based and odourless paints, but there are now scented ones, you can have your entire house repainted in less than a day and ready for habitation.  The price of paint has also dropped and with the added advantage of having colour-mixing stations within many of our supermarkets, there is no logical reason not to repaint that wall.

Last but not the least, you can bring your interiors back to life by just moving furniture around; rotating your bed will give you a new wall/window to wake up to provide a new perspective to your life.

I appreciate that some of us have squeezed 6 x 9 beds into 9 x 10 rooms, which means rotation is out of the question, which is a topic for another time.

Take time to make those little changes, many of which have no cost implication, in your homes and bring them back to life and therefore giving you a new perspective on the day.

Edition 17

Celebrating design



Yes, Ideal Interiors showcasing the best of the good life is at last on television.

Time Flies. Yes It Does. We are here once more, reading, speaking and celebrating design. The climax and indeed the trend setter for it all shall be the Ideal Interiors Expo 2016.

Well, Ideal Interiors Expo is an annual event for East Africa design professionals, products suppliers and fans looking to shake off the past and bask in the warmth of the latest and greatest interior design trends.

This year, we converge for the fête of creative interior design in the month of March so as to match into the future styled-up. Each year, the bar is set high…and for sure 2016 is not an exception. Thanks to the Ideal Team selected by the Ideal Interiors TV and Ideal Interiors Magazine editorial and marketing boards to run with this year’s event themed: Design it Right! Build it Right.

We toast to the Kenya Vision 2030 for upholding the endorsement of Ideal Interiors Expo as a platform of talents and quality business. It is further pleasing to note that the National Construction Authority has this year deliberately chosen to partner with the organizers of Ideal Interiors Expo.   

What’s expected?

Quality foot-fall and quality engagement is highly expected. Over 5,000 visitors comprising: architects, interior designers, home developers, homeowners, real estate managers, hoteliers, procurement/product specifiers and home enthusiasts are lined to dramatically add value at the show.

With the latest and the trendy on show, the place shall be awesome. However, don’t just take my word on this. The exhibitors and visitors shall indeed have the last word. Reason, it’s they to talk about the variety, inspiration and business that re-assembles us together year after year in the world of the sought comfort – the appealing interiors at a good bargain.

Showstopper Show-House

For one, uniqueness of this year’s show wouldn’t be complete without the creative input of Impress Interiors and dramatic actualization of a showstopper expo show-house.

The show out to unpack talents and celebrate creative works, rare to find interior design ideas as well as longed-for solutions and worthwhile products is a must-visit for all. Showcasing the very best selection of interior design products and service in the market, this year’s Ideal Interiors Expo marks yet another beginning of festivity of quality.

Reloaded as a celebration of great interior design, filled with awesome displays, expert and practical advice from leading professionals the eventful show captures the spirit of clients and the  essence of space.

And what’s New?

The show is of equal significance to design teams, the architecture and procurement specifiers and is full of things to see whether one is working as an interior designer or, just as importantly, as a Tier one or two component manufacturer. This is the solutions show with a tremendous number of innovative products to see!

For the first time, this unique event is having a FREE-TO-ATTEND Professionals’ Business Forum spiced with an evening networking that’ll bring the exhibitors and idea buyers together at the exhibition bay.

Visit, tour and connect with the best of the good life.

Learn more! Enjoy more!

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Edition 17

Hire qualified architect and interiors designer for your construction



The importance of hiring an architect and involving an interior designer from the onset of a construction can’t be stressed more, writes George Washington.

Think about the last time you moved. Your former house emptied and cleaned, and all of your possessions are stacked randomly in your new space. It was time to start setting up the new house. You took a deep breath and started arranging your furniture.

Power outlets dictated where you placed your furniture so you can plug in the lamps, and determined where you put your TV. Your dresser only fits on one wall and your bed only fits one way if you want to walk across the room. That’s when the realization comes that the design of the house is controlling how you use it.

Back to bite

Most people think they are being clever by ignoring services of an architect. Regrettably, they aren’t. Shortcuts come back to bite them. It usually costs them in either time or money or both. The most successful projects are when you have a team of professionals involved from the beginning. I say it is a three-legged stool — great architect, talented interior designer and an experienced contractor. “Add an open-minded client and you have an awweeeesome, (if such a word exists) result.”

With a collaborative design approach, the time to build the team is at the beginning of the project. It is the idea of having multiple sets of professional eyes. Many people have the misconception that hiring an interior designer means they are going to suggest you buy all new furniture and scrap everything you own. This is not true. In fact, you should fire anyone who works for you who suggests that.

Measure the pieces

An interior designer should take an inventory of all your furniture and consult with you as to what you want to keep for the new or re-modelled house. They will also measure the pieces you are going to keep. It is important to know how big your nightstands are before you build your new master suite.

On the plans, you will just see boxes representing a queen size bed and the basic 25-by-25 nightstands, but you have 36-by-18 nightstands and a king bed. That will change what you need for your room. When you understand the problem at this early stage, you can decide whether to adjust the size of the room or replace the furniture. Knowledge is power, indeed, when you plan the end from the beginning.

In the beginning stages of schematic design, it is our practice, as the architect and interior designers, to add furniture symbols into the plans to help provide a sense of scale. For instance, we can easily see that a certain dining area comfortably fits a table for six. This can be valuable information if what you really want is a table that seats eight, and this is the time to discover this, as opposed to the day you move in to your finished project. Part of our job as architects and interior designers is to make sure we all deal in reality rather than in wishes or hopes.

As we synthesize our various schematic plans and zero in on our master plan, in collaboration, we can begin to replace the generic furniture symbols with the true measurements of any critical furniture pieces. These placements will help shape lighting layouts and outlet placement.

You may have a beautiful piece of furniture or piece of art that may need specialty lighting. This great piece of furniture may need a lamp but there is no existing plug in the area. This early point in the design process is the best time to have these conversations. After construction is not when you want to talk about wiring new lights and outlets.

Since you are paying a significant amount of money for a new home or a substantial remodel, you don’t want to be frustrated about the little things. Hiring both an architect and an interior designer provides the best possibility of a seamless result for your project.

Interior design is more than arranging furniture and plumping throw pillows. A good designer will help with the hundreds of decisions and specifications involved in remodelling. Choosing paint colours, finishes, light fixtures, flooring, knobs and trim are all choices that need to be made in a home construction or remodel.

In addition to all of these issues, an interior designer will help design the new space to accommodate everything you want to include in your new space. Ultimately, the goal is to control the design and not have the design control how you live in your home.

George Washington is the CEO Invision Concepts Limited, President Interior Designers Association of Kenya and Lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya.

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Edition 17

Before you buy a new sofa



When you’re thinking about a new sofa, you’ll want to check our sofa buying tips. While it is important to get a sofa in just the right color, it is just as important to get one that will last. Inexpensive furniture can break, pop springs, and look out of shape within a year of constant use. Quality construction will offer years of enjoyment and has enough good “bones” to allow you to recover it periodically. By Oliver OWUOR

Choose the style of cushions for your new sofa

First decide if you prefer the look of loose back cushions or attached. Loose cushions give you the option of turning the pillows as needed, while attached backs won’t need fluffing or rearranging. Be sure to sit in the sofa you are considering. Is it comfortable? Are the arms the right height for taking a nap or reading a book?

How many cushions do you like on a sofa?

How many seat cushions would you like? One cushion offers a clean modern look while two or three are traditional. When you sit on the cushions, do they stay in place or do the corners flare up? Are they attached to the frame with a clip to hold them down?

What style of sofa arm do you like?

Choose an arm style for your new sofa. You can choose from armless, traditional rolled arm, curved arm, or a straight style. The rolled arm has a flat front panel and is often outlined in cording. Straight arm sofas are most often seen in contemporary settings.

A skirted sofa or one with bare legs?

Do you want a skirted sofa or one with the visible legs? Choose from leg styles that vary from heavy square chunks and wide bun feet to more delicate tapered legs or carved and curved formal versions. Legs are usually available in a number of finishes as well.

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