Overlooking the majestic Lukenya Hills and adjacent to Lukenya Getaway near Daystar University in Athi River is a rustic guest house built with artistic consideration and cost-saving solutions that do not compromise quality.
The entrance has a wide wooden antique door resembling a Lamu door, complete with brass knobs. The door is anchored on walls made of machine-cut stones. These require no extra chiselling on site, resulting in a much quieter and cleaner construction site and also faster construction time. The house, designed by Aktasis Architects, uses no plastering on the exterior walls, which is a great saving.
Though the house is new, the roof gives the pleasurable look of an aged house, thanks to the use of over-burnt factory clay tiles.
Inside, my eyes are drawn to the beautiful waffle ceiling made from pre-cast cement and has hollow ports. They use less cement and easily handle the structural weight of the building.
The yellow-painted walls give the space a warm ambience. The living room has a cleverly built double-fireplace, which shares a common chimney. One side of the fireplace faces the living room while the other faces the terrace, providing relaxed spaces for friends to catch up. The fireplace mantelpiece is adorned with exceptional woodwork and a mosaic of recycled local stones.
Orange reddish winged chairs warm up the blue sofas in the living room. Immaculately handcrafted louvre cabinet doors are used with amazing precision employed to ensure that the louvres are positioned parallel to each other.
The kitchen is the space that best displays the work of Moses Buyu, the artistic craft contractor who built the house. It has a true shags (upcountry) feel with lots of dark wood giving it a warm, rustic country feel.
An innovation I have not seen before is the fridge-door, which is capsuled in a locally built cupboard. It evokes strong memories of my grandmother’s grocery cupboard. Bar stools on one of the kitchen counter provide an alternative eating space, with an opportunity to watch food preparation and hopefully lend a helping hand.
Above the cooker is a well thought-out and innovative wooden cooker extractor that sucks out smoke, hot air and food aromas from the kitchen. A red brick back splash pops out to catch my attention and I am surprised to find out that it was created by carefully cutting big red tiles and arranging the pieces into a brick pattern.
Floor space at the guest house is well utilised and it is hard to believe there are 11 rooms at the Isaac House distributed on the ground floor floor, first floor and second floor.
The main house has seven en-suite bedrooms, with four en-suite annex bedrooms in a separate wing. All windows are super large, bringing in a lot of natural light. They are also neatly cut out using metallic frames without creating the usual annoying burglarproof fortified feeling.
The raised American-style beds have custom-crafted headboards, which use wood with knots, giving them an earthy imperfection that would be appreciated by eco-friendly enthusiasts.
Each room has an invitingly large, well-lit bathroom with a glass shower-cubicle. A honeymoon attic suite with a Jacuzzi bath for two is hidden away on the third floor where newly-weds can enjoy some intimate privacy.
The furniture is locally made. The bedrooms provide a sitting space with miniature Atian interiors novelty coffee table and chair where one can read a book or catch up with emails on a laptop. Bedroom walls have the house’s signature yellow colour with white MDF wardrobe cabinets that illuminate the rooms.
Cabinet doorknobs have been crafted from wood off-cuts that steal away the hearts of those with an artsy eye for detail as they help one connect to the beautifully landscaped gardens outside, where birds are busy chirping as they sway on the branches from the trees. This is the kind of place I would like to come with a group of friends, family or work colleagues to hang out together for a relaxed weekend out of town which easily connects with nature.