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Edition 08

Singing in the rain

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Recharging the body with contrasting temperatures under shower rain proves a therapeutic experience that aims to restore vitality, clarity and a heady sense of well being, writes Robert Yawe.

As a child I loved running in the rain. Unfortunately having been brought up in the city, this activity usually resulted in a thorough beating from my parents.

Even today when it is raining I get the urge to just run out and stand under the shower. There is something therapeutic about rain, the water drops falling directly onto your head.

A few times I have actually overcome that societal imposed restriction and walked out into the rain just to feel those drops on my head and feel at one with the elements.

Divine shower

I always wished I could replicate that feeling of rainfall whenever I felt the need for a truly divine shower unfortunately I come from a long line of non-rainmakers.

I still vividly remember those days of the geyser when my siblings, 1 am fourth in line, would use up all the hot water and I would be forced to have a cold shower.  My redemption came with the advent of the instant shower which resolved the issue of scheduled hot shower times allowing for hot showers on demand.

The cold shower was usually made worse when the shower rose was clogged and instead of the water coming down as a shower it would pour down in a single ice cold stream.  I would normally have to unscrew the shower rose and then hit it on the ground to unclog the holes.

Forced to spend

At times it got worse and I would be forced to spend part of my weekend clearing the holes in the shower rose individually with a pin.  Many a times I spent my pocket money on a new shower rose as my parents and siblings did not seem to have an issue with the stream shower.

The worst part of all this is that you only realise the problem when you are already undressed and are standing under the shower, for some innate reason you forgot the experience immediately you leave the bathroom.

Over the years I have had the experience repeated over and over again as I moved houses, the situation is even worse when I travel and have to spend a night in a hotel where house keeping and maintenance are run by river bathers.

To sort out the issue with wanting shower heads, in the various houses I have moved into, I have opted to carrying my own shower rose and fitting it immediately I move in; this has reduced the stress and frustration of

Instant hot water shower

Today, I have installed in my bathroom, an instant hot water shower which has 4 temperature settings and 3 different jet types with a built in pump for those times when I need a needle sharp shower or when water pressure in the system is low.

It cost us a small bundle but it has been worth every shilling spent, too many of us concentrate on the items visible to visitors a.k.a. the Jones’s and continue to suffer mood altering shower roses.

For a while I believed I had achieved nirvana in as far as my showering experience was concerned, until I visited this year’s Ideal Interiors Expo and saw the ultimate shower rose.

It had three distinct shower outlets, waterfall which was a wide thin flow, rainfall which gives you a shoulder wide shower just like would happen if you stood in the rain and finally the massage jets which need to be experienced.

Worth every penny

It was what you would say to die for even with the price tag of only Kes. 150,000/- (US$ 1,800/-) it is worth every penny especially once you factor in reduced visits to your therapist, reduced road rage and by extension increased productivity.  Not forgetting the reduced domestic outbursts that result in other stressful situations.

Many of the companies that sell shower roses need to offer a real experience to their prospective customers.  A fully functional shower complete with soap, offering a complete full body experience, not just on their hands.  If a vehicle dealer can allow you to test drive a Kes. 15 million vehicle, what’s a Kes. 200/- shower (includes water, electricity and soap).

If I had actually experienced my current shower rose the first time I saw it, over 3 years prior to buying it, I would have bought it immediately.

Many of us leave with mediocre shower roses because of what they deem as the high cost of installing a new one.

Here is the fix for the damaged tiles, replace the entire 2 or 3 columns of tiles that you have removed with a painted glass panel or use contrasting tiles. While at it you can also install a new soap bowl to replace the cheap class one that came with the house.

Whatever it takes I strongly recommend that you replace that stress elevating shower rose that looked so lovely when you visited the show house with one that adds to your enjoyment of your home.

Edition 08

Build your own wine rack

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Kenyans would like to believe that they can one day feature in a Hollywood movie. Looking back at all those romantic movies, a bottle of wine plays a significant role.  Some of us know that the older wine gets the better it tastes, let alone how much a good bottle of wine costs now days.

Kenyans can spend up to seven thousand shillings a bottle on a good bottle of wine of the self, but many of are unaware of how important it is to store wine and more important how to store wine elegantly.

“Storage is an important consideration for wine that is being kept for long-term aging. While most wine is consumed within 24 hours of purchase, fine wines are often set aside for long-term storage. (T. Stevenson “The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia” pg 46 Dorling Kindersley 2005).

Wine is one of the few commodities that can improve with age but it can also rapidly deteriorate if kept in inadequate conditions. The three factors that have the most direct impact on a wine’s condition are light, humidity and temperature. A fourth consideration can be security for expensive wines. Historically the storage of wine was handled by wine merchants but since the mid-20th century consumers have been increasingly storing their own wine in home-based wine cellars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storage_of_wine)”

What we are going to show you today is how to simply construct a wine rack at home.

MATERIALS NEEDED TO MAKE A WINE RACK

All you will need some timber, a wood working hand saw, a hammer, a measuring tool and a pencil.

Step 1

Determine the size of the wine rack. Some wine racks can fit on a kitchen counter which can come in handy when cooking or hanging out in the kitchen or can be fitted in a home bar usually set aside in a specified point of the living room. Feel free to go as big as you want depending on the size of the bar or kitchen top.

As you get into the design, make sure the wine rack holds the bottles horizontally as this ideally keeps the cork wet and keeps debris out of the neck of the bottle.  You want your wine bottles to always look clean and presentable.  A horizontal bottle also adds a classic look to the wine rack

Step 2

Determine how many bottles you plan to store. There are two different ways store wine bottles: in a diamond shaped slot or a flat box like slot.  In this design, we will work with the diamond shaped slot.  While working with two boards, cut out the ridges that will hold the wine rack together.  Make sure the ridges are precise and to detail so as to avoid having a wobbly rack.

 

Step 3

When done with the ridges fit the two timber boards together and bind with wood glue.  Leave to stand for a few hours so that the two pieces can stick together well.  Allow it to dry and then file the edges to achieve a smooth finish then paint the surface.  Finish off the job with a quality wood polish.

There, you have your own wine rack, built proudly by you for display to all your guests

Tips

1) Have fun with the project. Design a unique wine rack that will make your friends envious.

2) If you cannot think of a simple yet creative design, buy a wine rack kit available from most hardware stores. There are many designs to choose from and you are still building your own rack.

3) Add slots for wine glasses to save more space.

4) When building slots to hold multiple bottles, make sure your slots, along with the rack itself, are able to sup                  port the weight of full bottles.

 

Written with guidance from VirPanesar. Pictures courtesy of Panesars Furniture

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Edition 08

Comfortable living visionalized

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Nairobi is now among the most promising investment hubs in the world and Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa is at the forefront of making the most of this investment opportunity through the design and conceptualization of luxurious villas in the urban vicinity.

Africa is at the forefront of making the most of this investment opportunity through the design and conceptualization of luxurious villas in the urban vicinity.

Eng. Adnan Saffarini is a well known name in the Middle East for the architectural standards the firm has set in the design of various developments.  From concept to maturity, Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa takes into consideration the unique aspects of a development and fuses this with personal preference of the property owner through detailed supervision.

Though mostly identified with the design of commercial spaces, the firm also has a wide array of luxurious and lavish homeconcepts for the buyer who is looking for a home that befits the comforts of a hotel.  All the home villas conceptualized by Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa have this distinct aura of wealth and opulence.  A villa can pass for a boutique hotel anytime. Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa maintains the attitude of changing perceptions of property developers and owners.

The architectural and design consultancy is the brains behind some of the world renowned complexes like the “Champions Towers” in Dubai, which is already drawing in great reviews from world champions who are looking to invest in these villas in the heart of the Middle East country.

It is with this in mind that the Africa office has ventured into the East and Central African Regional market with intent to focus on enhancing the building philosophy of architects and developers.  All the concepts drawn up by Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa while being sustainable and realistic are also designed to incorporate comfort, luxury and appeal to  middle and high net worth individuals who appreciate villa concepts that are detailed and elaborate.

A unique aspect of the properties is the fact that every accessory is as unique as the owner.  According to the Regional Director of the Africa office, Mr.MahadMohamudKarani, the office has consultants who are able to design any kind of accessory to suit any preference.  He also continues to state that the firm creates design concepts for homes that take every little detail into consideration, like safety, quality, and privacy.  Features that are normally ignored like walkways and stairways are major concerns for Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa, thus the attention to detail that is noticeable in every design.

Conceptualizing villas with classical elements that stand the test of time and based on strong features, the architectural firm can boast of a wealth of experience in the model of out of conventional villas and homes.  In every design done, true classical elements are considered within designs which heavily rely on the energy efficiency.

Villa concepts designed and supervised by the consultancy in the resort centers’ of Middle east are designed to give one an exceptional feel that guarantees the comfort and feel of a five star hotel while still maintaining the feel of home.  In Kenya, the concepts will be centered on home owners who are looking for either short or long term stays.

As personalized and unique as the developments are, the spacious villas will be built in areas of client choice thus bringing luxury and comfort to the clients door step. These villas are fully furnished and equipped with all the contemporary facilities of general use like connections of Cable TV, telephone and active broadband internet; garage, car parking, swimming pool and modern kitchens, so that all a buyer needs is just move in and enjoy the luxuries.

Because of Kenya’s remarkable growth in the real estate sector and considerable returns on investments, the new concept of villas has become greater attraction for investors from all over the world.

Eng. Adnan Saffarini office – Africa, in addition exacting magnificent standards, does just  not design residences, Saffarini sells lifestyles.

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Edition 08

Oasis in your backyard

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While every home has a specific taste and style, most backyards rarely reflect the home.  While the interiors are usually spick and span, the exteriors are usually an eye sore.  As you look through your terrace doors or window, does the landscaping in your backyard make you cringe?  We, there is a way to make your outdoor living space as inviting as your indoors.

In this fast paced world where we are faced with all kinds of challenges every day, it is important to have a soothing and relaxing place to go to. Imagine coming home from a tiring day at work and sitting out in your backyard to the soothing sounds of water flowing in the fountains.  While you are sitting out here, your eyes are enjoying the beautiful scenery of greenery, flowers and exquisite garden statues.  This instantly relaxes you and changes your mood.

 Water fountains

If you have a backyard or a large garden and you do not know how to bring life into this space, why don’t you opt to install a water fountain in the garden?  Or better still; add a few garden statues that reflect your personality.  These exterior décor aesthetics will do a lot to soothe and stir the senses.  Installing these aesthetics is very easy, straightforward and economical. Take advantage of your outdoor space by installing these unique and beautiful pieces of décor.

When you decide to install a water fountain, you have to take into consideration the size of your garden.  You do not want to have a fountain in a small space.  If you have a small backyard, look for a small fountain or better yet, opt to have only garden statues which come incorporated with little fountains.

Make sure there is no contact between water and the electricity.  When using electrical cords, make sure they are buried and install the switch out of a child’s reach. You can also opt to have solar powered fountains that will save you on electricity costs.

Install statues

Garden statues are another great addition to your outdoors.  Place them in strategic corners of the garden.  Remember to install statues that are a reflection of your personality and inspire you.  Take time to shop around and you will get statues that will bring out the best features of your garden.

One can choose from a wide range of statues that include; wild animals, flower pots and garden lights.  Garden statues add to the aura of a peaceful sanctuary by complimenting the water fountains, greenery and beautiful flora in your garden. Décor items in your exterior add an aesthetic appeal and create a feeling of luxurious relaxation.

Add a few garden statues that reflect your personality.  These exterior décor aesthetics which are very straightforward, economical and easy to install will do a lot to soothe and stir the senses.  Take advantage of your outdoor space by installing these unique and beautiful features.

A garden statue can also serve as a bird feeder and come in different designs and materials. For example a terracotta bowl statue can be used for decoration and bird feeder.

 Plant exotic plants

Most homes are separated by grey walls or the all too common green fence.  I for sure do want to look at stones or the neighbours backyards when I sit out in my backyard – I am sure you do not want to either.  So here is an idea – plant lush layers of exotic plants that are pleasant to look at and plant towering shade trees to line the walls of your backyard.

Shrubs, flowers and grass provide a colourful and relaxing environment.  Remember, light affects the impact of flower colours outdoors, as you will notice when you take a stroll in the evening.  When siting any plant, check whether it needs full sunlight, tolerates shade or does well away from direct sunlight.  Leaf variegation is mostly pronounced in good light, as shade stimulates more greencolouration. To add a personal touch to your backyard, why not create a garden where you can plant herbs and basic kitchen ingredients.

Terrace the furniture

The outside impression of your home is synonymous with the first impression you make of your home.  When guests walk into your home, they should be mesmerized by the beauty of your exterior. Wherever it is that you live, be it a flat, apartment, estate or a bungalow, the first thing people see when they come to your home is the entrance. It may be hard to create a beautiful entrance to your home if you live in a block of flats, but if you live in a private space, you have the responsibility of making your exterior beautiful.

Take the time to brighten up your outdoors with inviting and invigorating furnishings specially made for the exteriors.  You will want to entertain in this space all year round.  Every one of us has a patio or a terrace in our homes, and judging by many homes, when looking for décor and furnishing for your home, one rarely thinks about the exterior.

Style and taste

When choosing terrace furniture there are various things that you need to take into consideration.  The options are endless when it comes to choosing outdoor furniture as the variety is almost the same as indoor furniture.

By the way, your style and taste is the foremost important thing when choosing your furniture.  You want furniture that is a reflection of you and also refreshing.  Consider the surface of your outdoor space.  If you have terrace stones, you will be able to choose from metal or wrought iron furniture.  Invest in furniture and furnishings that are weather proof.

If a quiet and relaxing getaway located merely steps from your back door seems like something you would enjoy, then creating a relaxing oasis in your garden will be a delight.

 

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