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If you’ve ever had a home on the Kenyan real estate market, your agent likely told you to turn on all the lights and pull back the window treatments whenever the house was shown. This is because a room that is light and bright is naturally attractive, inviting and welcoming, writes Rose ANDARO.

On the other hand, a room with small windows can seem dark and inhospitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Creative use of lighting, colour choices, use of mirrors and other accessories, such as a metal wall hanging décor with reflective qualities, can make even a naturally dark room seem cheerful, bright and appealing.

Lighten and brighten

First, be sure that your windows are being used to their greatest advantage. Keep your windows clean and use sheer, light hued window treatments that let natural light into the room. If privacy and light control are issues, shade or blinds can be used below sheers and drawn when needed; or heavier outer curtain panels can be open for daylight and drawn for privacy.

Accentuate natural light with artificial lighting; choose soft white incandescent bulbs for the most natural glow. Recessed lighting is a subtle way to add overhead lighting and still keep the scheme streamlined and clean; track lighting installed on ceilings or high on a wall can direct light where it is needed, to highlight a seating area or striking canvas art. Wall sconces are an excellent way to bring light to a corner or entry where natural light is at a minimum. Directing lighting upward toward a light coloured ceiling will make the room seem brighter.

Use table lamps and floor lamps for added ambiance and task lighting throughout the room. Lamps will have greater impact and provide more even lighting in a room if they are all arranged at approximately the same height.

Importance of colour

Colour can make a room feel darker or lighter. Light pastels and neutrals reflect light and make the space feel lighter; continue the light colour right up onto the ceiling. Light toned flooring, carpets and area rugs will also make the space feel brighter. Dark upholstery absorbs light. Add contrast with a few dark woods and medium tone fabrics, but choose light reflecting fabrics in pale colours for toss pillows, window treatments and brightly coloured accents that liven up the space.

Select bright and open accents

Choose accents in reflective materials such as crystal, glass and metal to reflect light. Glass topped tables reflect more light than wood, and polished surfaces are more reflective than furniture and accents with dull rough finishes. Accents and wall décor metal in silver and chrome are more reflective than brass or bronze. All this reflection helps keep light brightly bouncing throughout the room.

Glass tiles behind the fireplace or a mirror above the mantle are another way to add brilliance and flickering light. Long vertical mirrors flanking the mantle add windows of light; sconces set into the mirrors or lamps placed below will intensify the effect.

Create colour echoes with accents and repeat bright colours from table tops, to mantle top, to the walls, and in pillows and window treatments. Wall art with bright colours and open style metal art in repeated hues will add contrast to pale neutral walls without making the space feel closed in and dark.


Edition 09

Me? An interiors accomplice…



Thanks to Ideal Interiors magazine, the annual inspirational Interiors Expo and the changing industry writes Robert YAWE as he asks asks if you are taking any action to stop heinous crimes deliberately executed by some developers on the spree of killing the taste of interiors.

In a previous article in Ideal Interiors magazine, I declared that someone was intentionally eliminating our interior designers and by extension our interiors.

Those accused of the heinous crime continue to serially execute their mandate unabated by the suffering consumers of mediocre interiors. Fortunately all is not lost, yet.

Having realised that I was an accomplice to this crime, I decided to take action instead of just sitting back and watching the carnage to our interiors continue. Undoubtedly, the best place to start was with me.

To begin with I sorted out the issue of door swings in our home so as to provide the occupants with an increased level of privacy that they were not enjoying previously.  Next was the use of the available space, being a techie family, we have multiple computers strewn around the sitting and dining room placed on different assortment of tables acquired many years and carried across different houses.

So I took my tape measure and a few pieces of paper on which I sketched the solution for the worktops to place the various desktops and laptops.  Yet again my high school technical drafting and carpentry classes came handy.

Shape and finish

After doing the sketching, I went to PG Bison to buy the required materials which I was expecting to take to a “fundi” to shape and finish the pieces but to my utter surprise, I found out that PG had recently installed a CNC router.

For the uninitiated, a CNC is a computer numerical control system that takes in a cutting list on one end and a material at the other then proceeds to cut the material according to the cutting requirements.

It does the work often highly qualified “fundis” in a tenth of the time for a fifth of the cost.  The systems accuracy gives a very high level of finish and quality control is of the highest degree.

So in went my cutting requirements and the selected particleboard; and voila out came the perfectly cut pieces. All that remained was the impact edging to be fitted and I was off to mount the worktops.

Gang of artisans

This means that you no longer need a gang of artisans camped at your house for multiple weekends trying to fit in new kitchen doors or even the entire cabinet.  All you need is a good interior designer to take the measurements then you agree on the colours.

PG Bison will cut the parts apply the necessary edging and even drill the malpa hinge holes and if required you can also have the hinges fitted.  Therefore, all you will need is a carpenter with a screwdriver and within a few hours, you will have changed the doors on your kitchen cabinets and even the wardrobes in the bedroom.  All this will cost you at the most two Saturday mornings, maybe another one if you are ripping out the existing cabinets.

This means that instead of keeping on admiring your friends glass fronted kitchen cabinets you can replace yours with the same over the coming weekend or even go over board and replace the kitchen counter and tiles.

Let the buyer customize

With this kind of rapid installation, there is actually very little need for a developer to finish the kitchen or even the bedroom cabinets as the buyer can have their own cabinetry designed. Let the buyer customize and install in just a few days literally, before the ink dries on the purchase agreement.

We are past the days when you needed to plane the wood even and then stick on formica with glue. Today, your cabinets come pre-finished and with a little more attention to detail they can arrive pre-assembled making the completion a matter of minutes.

Roughening a.k.a. hacking

Tilling no longer requires roughening a.k.a. hacking of the surface on which they are to be placed and neither do you need to soak the tiles in water for hours.  The available tile fixing glues allow you to fit tiles in hours instead of days.

You can even fit new tiles onto existing tiles allowing you to replace those ugly tiles in your bathroom over the weekend without having to move house.  Ask yourself, why am I continuing to live in a stressfully finished house yet I can now comfortably replace the offending fixtures?

Informant Peter Marangi

Our great informant Mr. Peter Marangi can apply two coats of emulsion paint within the span of 6 hours and it will be ready to lean on, so to repaint your house in those lovely colours you have been admiring in the various magazines and the paint manufacturers colour charts is a weekend away.

Another simple thing that can radically change the ambience of your space – home or office – is lighting, you have hundreds of different fittings to choose from and installation in many cases is DIY.

For those who got mislead by the beautiful lighting in the show house just to find a single pendant in the middle of the rooms of the house you purchased can still fit side lighting.  You can do this by installing cornices with large cavities into which to place the wiring and even fit concealed lights or down lighters.

Know for the coup de grace, you can actually change the flooring in most of your house without moving out. Today, the only flooring that might require your temporary evacuation is solid wood parquet or wood blocks, which require sanding.   However, with a well-equipped contractor, this can still be done with minimal disruption over a long weekend.

Opportunity to personalize

Replacing that cold ceramic tile flooring with warm bamboo wood flooring or sensual thick carpeting no longer requires your extended absentia from the house as all can be fitted without the needed for strong smelling adhesives or varnishes.

With the advancements in installing finishes there is actually no justification for the developers to insist on finishing the houses to their personal taste thereby depriving the final owner from the opportunity to personalise the house.

What this means is that we can stop the continued murder of our interiors, all we need to do is take a stand on the delivery of semi-finished unit by the developers.  The additional 5 percent or less that you might need to spend to finish the house to your taste is worth every penny, with the alternative being a continued stress of looking at a kitchen every day and wishing you had not bought the unit.

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Edition 09

Are you looking for a generator?





Here are some essential factors to consider during investment

  • Reliable brand
  • Reputable company
  • Warranty period of product
  • Availability of parts
  • Service team available
  • Technical support and Consultation

Generators have become an essential part of the industry today. With frequent power failures from mainstream power providers, any stable business must acquire a generator as a prerequisite.

But the acquisition of a generator can be a fuss, especially if the user is not informed about modern power generating equipment.

“It is possible that one can acquire an outdated generator that does not adhere to very modern international compliance standards,” says Ms AfraTobaria who is in charge of marketing at Famiar Generating Systems Ltd.

She reckons that one has to be particular in the selection of a generator to ensure they obtain optimum benefits from the equipment.

“This modern times call for modern generators that are not only able to switch on automatically within seconds of power failure, but are also environment friendly and consume less fuel,” Ms.Tobaria says.

For this reason, Famiar has been on the forefront as one of the continent’s leading generating systems suppliers and service providers, to ensure businesspeople have no sleepless nights over power.

Famiar has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade to become one of Africa’s major dealers in automatic power gensets, mobile trailer mounted gensets, sound proof canopies, synchronized units, design and installation as well as the servicing of generators and the products that largely handle power back up issues.

Apart from the core fundamentals, what else should a businessperson look for when shopping around for a good generator?

Well, for starters, each of the generator sets distributed by Famiar consists of standard equipment which include a cooling system, an engine, a base frame, a control panel and an alternator. These are factors that one must take cognizance of when selecting a good generator.

The cooling system, for instance, consists of industrial type of radiator, expansion tank, which constantly keeps the temperature of the generator sets at an acceptable level.

Luckily, the engine is diesel powered, so consumption is at a minimum with output almost twice that of a petrol-powered generator.

The generators must have a base frame that is strong enough to provide high level of easy transportation and emplacement with an accompanying design that is appropriate for the user’s needs. It also should be able to reduce vibration to a minimum.

A standard control panel used in the Famiar’s generators will provide comfort and safety in the form of a guiding panel with proper and easy to understand indicators. This is designed in accordance with the customer’s needs.

“The alternator is durable and highly efficient and has a bedding system that does not require maintenance,” Ms Tobaria says. “It also has an automatic voltage regulator that provides stable output voltage, and is globally approved.”

The engine has a mechanical or electronic type of governor with sensitive speed adjustment and is ably boosted by a standard type canopy.

The canopy, whilst protecting the generator set, also helps in the prevention of noise pollution. It features a four-points lifting system at the top that allows for easy transportation, and a hidden exhaust inside the canopy. It also has an emergency stop button on the canopy as well as an enhanced air suction channels in order to provide homogenous cooling inside the canopy.

“The cover on the top of the canopy provides easy filling anti-freeze to the radiator, and also a strengthened paint system against corrosion and rusting,” says Ms Tobaria.

The generators are designed for ease of transportation and maintenance, safety in use and performance that creates a difference from the point of sound isolation.

Famiar has fully trained field service engineers and technicians who have the experience in looking after all aspects of the operations and maintenance of the generator equipments. The firm also custom-designs the equipment in line with client needs to ensure everyone gets just what they need.

Famiar continues to be a leading entity in the market, and analysts say the firm is on course to continue a rapid expansion in all parts of Africa.

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Edition 09

Boma Hotel



The dwindling donor support has put the Kenya Red Cross Society on the top gear to develop spacious Five? Star Hotels to source for alternative humanitarian funding, writes Humphrey Odhiambo.
Five days after formal soft-opening of The Five-Star Boma Hotel, Jenny my colleague and I were privileged to re-tour spaces that make this fascinating building one rare piece of architecture with refined interiors.

Boma, a Swahili word meaning shelter, was built in a record time of two years, by Kenyan architects, engineers and interior designers.

It’s mounting was timely, says Mr.Mugo Maringa, the hotel’s managing director who lauds the historic building of the Kenya Red Cross Society as a distinguished hotel with humanitarian grounding.

Mounted with stars of humanity, this hospitable location speaks of a deliberate action taken by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) in sourcing for alternative funding to respond to emergency needs of populations affected by disasters in the country. For one, the KRCS was formed by an act of parliament and therefore funds generated from The Boma Hotels will largely be routed to disaster interventions across the country.

Spacious rooms

The Nairobi Boma has 148 amazing spacious rooms with a sterling one being a Presidential Suite and an already talk of the town Executive Suite. It also boasts of six business suites, 24 Deluxe Suites and 116 Superior Suites. The hotel has a wonderful heated pool with a large glass at the side that gives a view of swimmers and perhaps also detailed spot the much appreciated hygiene.

Built with a business-class traveler in mind, The Boma has many extraordinary characteristics that make it unique; one of which is the large sized rooms. The Presidential Suite is more of another magnificent hotel within the hotel. The Room is beautifully made and the overall ambience of the Hotel is very good. The comfortable bed and room with good quality amenities as well as personalized attention makes The Boma a preferred among frequent travelers.

The journey to constructing the Nairobi based Boma was fundamentally precipitated by the need of addressing the competition on donor funding says Mr. Maringa noting that services rendered by KRCS are 100 percent donor funded. KRCS has been supplementing the government in drought mitigation through appealing to local and international organizations for the required interventions.

Perhaps, the height of fast-tracking the construction of the prestigious Boma in Nairobi; followed the recent government declaration of drought as a disaster in Kenya. KRCS chose to think out of the box while making an international appeal for a total sum of Ksh 859 million to enable it to respond to emergency needs of populations affected by drought.

The government facilitated the move to put up KRCS hotel iniatives in Nairobi, Nyeri, Eldoret and has also since acquired a 3,000 acre land in Mlango, Tana River for the same purpose. According to Maringa, additional lands for putting up major hotels are on the pipeline with target places being Isiolo, Malindi and Mombasa. The society has conferencing facilities in Kisumu, Malindi and Nyeri, while Eldoret is slated to unveil the next Boma by February 2013.

“Our idea is also to ensure that we keep up with the pace of development of counties as they are lined for major growth take-offs in the next few years,” said Maringa stressing that the KRCS investment ventures into the hotelier landscape is within the laws of the country.

The KRCS does not get any funding from the Government. It relies on donor support and other well-wishers within the country and all over the world. As we all appreciate, this donor support is dwindling.

The efforts of the KRCS to supplement Government efforts in providing relief support to affected societies, has been noted all over the country. Owing to this dwindling support, KRCS has had to find ways and means of generating income. The hotels are very well-placed to generate income to mitigate disasters that have occurred severally in the country.

The birth of The Boma has come with refreshing tidings as it has so far created employment to 370 people says Maringa pointing out that the Bomas are even bound to create more jobs since KRCS vision is to have a major hotel in every county.




Having graduated from Utalii College, Kenya in 1988 and proceeding to Belgium for further studies in Hotel Management ,Mugo has proven to be a think-tank with a wealth of experience demanded in the hospitality industry. For over 23 years, he’s been at the top management level in leading five star hotels in East Africa where he initiated and eventually opened flagship hotelier branches before his recent journey of actualizing The BOMA. His call to his hospitality team: “Offer the best service with a smile,”. He hastens to  add: “Anyone can check-in a guest but not everyone can do it with a smile

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