Magic of Watamu tree house

Real Estate

By Tricia Wanjala

Above the towering indigenous Watamu forests, high up amid a canopy of trees, an architectural treasure beckons. Just a few meters from the beach, the unique family home provides a perfect getaway.

A patio on the tree house

The owner, Paul Krystall tells us a little about the philosophy of this home, "We purchased it when it was still a tower inside the indigenous forest. Together with craftsman-builder Andrew Malesi, we opened it to the natural light and modified it in several ways".

Its ambiance is calming and rejuvenating with a shower on the ground floor by the entrance.

Leaving your shoes by the entrance you ascend through a colourful, quirky wrought-iron grill of Paul’s own design.

The floor is cooling under your feet and the first thing that greets you is a dining table, laden with goodies, covered in a cheerful electric blue tablecloth. The cloth was custom-designed by textile designer Stephanie Hooper of Kamili Designs.

These were specially made to match the stunning Kitengela stained-glass mosaic patterns peppered throughout the house. From these, the creative piece de resistance stands apart; a wall reaching three stories up, fashioned entirely out of Nani Croze’s signature glass. Whitewashed walls echo the pristine white sands of the nearby beach, creating a naturally illuminating backdrop for this captivating glass art.

Parapet style

An open dinning area

So many features of this house are amazing. Its sheer height is incredible — the parapet-style ceiling is the highest point in Watamu, affording guests a lofty 360-degree view of the horizon. From here you are treated to sensational views of the star-studded night sky, awe-inspiring sunsets, sunrises and moonrises over the Indian Ocean.

To keep the spotlight on the beauty of its natural surroundings, the dÈcor here is simple and tasteful, with local materials used throughout.

Beds were fashioned out of economical Boriti wood and tables and cabinets were custom-built using coconut and mango wood. Both have a lovely and unusual grain, an example of the intrinsic beauty of local natural materials.

As a sailor, Paul used his vast knowledge of trade winds to tap into the natural wind instead of air-conditioning. Thus this house has no fans or air conditioning but remains pleasantly cool even in sweltering outside.


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