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Edition 07

Stupid questions



Every person ought to be inquisitive through every hour of his or her adventurous life, writes ROBERT YAWE whilst stressing that even a seemingly ‘silly’ question fires-up those in the creative interiors world.
THERE IS A SWAHILI SAYING “kuuliza sio ujinga” that loosely translates to “asking a question is not a sign of stupidity”.
This is close to a proverb I picked while in school which in part reads: “He who knows not and knows he knows not: is a simple-teach”. I am simple. Why do I say this? Not a single day passes without asking a question to better understand an issue, be it to a colleague, stranger or even my nine year old daughter.
I was recently asked why I am able to keep such diverse and detailed information in my head, many of you might not be aware that my core day to day activities are as an ICT consultant yet I feel confident enough to comment on issues pertaining to interiors as well as on personal finance.
Well, am humbled that this article is queued for publishing during the third Ideal Interiors Expo. As you plan to visit the event or should you even miss it get ready to ask questions. Put on your thinking and inquisitive caps and fear not to ask even that stupid question. It might be the question that will change your lifestyle or even the interiors business.

Never stop questioning

As a living being I am a daily consumer of interiors be it at home, in the office, the car or even a restaurant I have to interact with interiors and as a curious and inquisitive person I never stop questioning but most important I have never stopped asking.
This realization makes me feel sorry for my parents as I am sure the terrible twos must have been a nightmare for them especially with regards to those unending “why” questions.
Many of us unfortunately remain ignorant as a result of fearing to ask a question which has serious effects on our ability for mental regeneration. I read recently that just changing a basic routine as the sequence of dressing can greatly reduce the onslaught of dementia that comes with aging.

Rudimentary question

I am proud to say that in the area of inquisitiveness I remain a five-year old and I also have the lack of shame to go with it as I will ask what would seem as the most rudimentary question in what many might deem as the most inappropriate environment.
With the advent of the internet and more precisely search engines my knowledge of various issues grows exponentially every day, how many of you can claim to learn something new at least once a week?
After acquiring our first real estate property I decided to undertake the renovations myself even though I had no prior experience. It took 3 or so months before I commenced as I spent the time visiting construction sites, hardware stores and the various furniture and sanitary showrooms.
The fellows at the Bamburi Special Products building centre, which unfortunately was shutdown, new me by smell as I was a regular visitor and even went to the extent of actually paying a subscription to become a registered member, as is said education is expensive but try the alternative.

Like a trained expert

Initially the staff would humour me and my extremely basic questions relating to cement and by extension concrete but after a few more weekends of my regular visits and as my questions became more probing they took me more seriously.
The knowledge I acquired has been indispensable especially as I have delved into more and more complex real estate development and renovation projects. Today I can read a bill of quantities like a trained expert.
Asking questions like how thick should wall plaster be helped me a lot in accepting quarry dressed stone as opposed to site dressed stone. The uniform shape and even face of the stone means that you need only the required minimum of half an inch where as with site dressed stone it would be as thick as two inches.
The difference might not seem like much until you take the surface area of all the walls in the house and then the cents begin to turn into hundreds of shillings and there goes your project budget.
Do you, the reader, know the recommended height of a kitchen worktop, the height from the ground of a power socket or the position of a kitchen sink drain? I know the answers of each and every one of these questions because I dared to ask what in many peoples minds mind seem like a stupid question, know you go out and ask.

Knowledgeable consumers ask

Many a times we assume that the interior designer, architect or “fundi” (artisan) know the answers, but all you need to do is walk into most of the developments going on around the country and you will realise that many of them seem not to know.
I am not saying that they are quacks but that many have become lax as a result of none knowledgeable consumers who do not ask questions. Using your body as a measuring device, note a height of 3 feet from your feet then use this as you visit various developments to measure the kitchen worktop height.
If you find two different developments with countertops of the same height you can claim Kes. 1,000/- from me (offer valid for first 3 claimants).
A difference of 3 or 4 inches might not seem like much visually but the stress and agony it causes you with continuous use of the surface will make you miserable. The unfortunate thing is that you might never get to associate the symptoms with the non-standard height.
In the previous issue of the Ideal Interiors magazine I covered issues of finishes and the fact that many people believe that ceramic flooring is superior to wood and PVC. To the uninitiated this might seem like the case but for those in the know ceramic flooring is the least appealing of flooring finishes especially in the tropics.
As you plan to visit the forthcoming Ideal Interiors expo to be held at the Village Market please go with an inquisitive mind and fear not to ask that stupid question as it might be what stands between a habitable house or a life-long source of stress. It could also be the answer to why you feel sick immediately you start the journey back home in the evening.