Kenyan celebrity home front
By Sheila Kimani
| Mar 12th 2015 | 5 min read
A man’s home is his kingdom. No wonder many people hope to own a home of their own, one they can design and watch come to life from the ground up.
Even better, is the thought of living there and customising every space to your specifications.
Kenya’s real estate economy is fast rising. Gone are the days when only a few bothered with the idea of architectural designs and construction. Or had the financial muscle to indulge in the finer details of home construction.
Today, we have a plethora of professionals who have thriving businesses thanks to ‘improved’ tastes and preferences of clients who want house designs like they see in the movies.
Financial institutions have also developed favourable mortgage packages for those who wish to build and own their homes.
A look at established economies across the world reveals a whole new world of lavish, customised houses, whose wealthy owners have invested their livelihood and incomes in a bid to create heaven on earth.
Impressively, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have spent $85 million (approximately Sh7.782 billion) on homes.
Some of these homes occupy thousands of square feet - larger than some entire Kenyan estates - and have zip codes of their own!
Others stretch onto the high seas and oceans with exclusive causeways and piers, then there are those that feature private lakes, fruit orchards, golf courses, sports courts etc..
Perhaps, a clear indication that, when one has money to invest in their own little piece of heaven, there are no limits as to what can, or cannot be built.
Closer home and the degrees of extravagance vary to a huge extent. Despite a thriving entertainment industry that boasts of top notch celebrities and high level incomes, very few actually have homes of their own.
Many opt for rentals in some of the posh city estates, but would swiftly settle for their own homes given the chance.
This does not mean that some of our very own celebrities are not into real estate. A number of them have invested in the sector or plan to.
Jua Kali’s 20-car parking lot
The King of Genge sure knows how to invest his money and he has a top notch house to show for it.
After making hits and winning awards, no doubt Jua kali made tonnes of money and opted to move from the renting class of celebrities.
“I always wanted to have my own home where I could spend time with my family. So when the opportunity came along, I upgraded to my own mansion. The best part is that I can customise it unlike the rentals,” Jua Kali tells Home & away. Besides a busy schedule in the music industry, Jua Kali made sure to learn all about the housing process.
He admits that during this time, he worked closely with his architects to ensure that the drawings were to his liking and even went shopping for house essentials such as the tiles, windows and doors.
“Many people prefer importing housing materials from countries like China, but I realised that there is quality material in Kenya. I learnt so much about the Kenyan housing industry and that got me appreciating local architects and masons,” he adds.
His is a mansion that boasts of a spacious living room where he gets to hang out with his family and friends; four bedrooms, two of these master ensuite and a parking lot that can hold up to 20 cars.
Popular for his local hits and political affiliations, Jaguar is not only a celebrity but a real estate developer whose love for construction has seen him own several apartments.
However, it has not always been rosy for Jaguar as his background is nothing compared to his current status.
“You see music is not a full time job so you can never be sure especially when it comes to mortgages. It was on that note that I decided to buy my own home from my own capital,” He says.
Seeing as Jaguar often has many guests especially when top artistes from other countries come to Kenya, he mentioned that his house has several master ensuite rooms and lounges where his guests can relax.
“Some of my friends come over often and they even have their own exclusive rooms in my house.” Jaguar says.
He is swift to emphasise that the best part about owning a house is that no landlord will ever knock on your house asking for rent.
Munene Nyaga’s eight bedroom bachelor pad
Radio presenter Munene Nyaga left fan and foe in awe when photos of his eight- bedroom mansion hit the interwebs.
After years of renting, he finally decided to build his own home on a quarter-acre piece of land in Sabaki Estate off Mombasa Road. He did not take a mortgage. “I had many options, including taking up a mortgage, but the cost of mortgages is unbelievably high,” he says when asked about his funding options. Mortgage options aside, he set off on this journey using Sh3 million in savings as capital.
Despite his bachelor lifestyle, he was determined to have a unique home of his own; it was on that note that he sketched his own house plan and presented it to the architects.
“I was seated at a restaurant in town; eating fries and fish fingers and the idea occurred to me. Before I knew it, I had a sketch of my dream home,” he says.
His house has eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, a living room equipped with a bar and a hut-shaped, glass observatory. His view stretches across Athi River and Kitengela.
Many know him for his prowess on the decks. However, there is another side to this deejay whose knowledge of the construction business is quite vast.
“I studied civil and structural engineering in campus and my old man has a company that deals in construction so I know a lot about the field,” he points out.
His quest to build his own house has, therefore, been much easier as compared to many other celebrities who start construction oblivious of what’s involved.
Having been part of his house design process Kaytrixx say: “If it is your house, you need to be involved in the design, which is very important.”
Additionally, he mentions that there are cheaper methods of building nowadays. “Modern methods do not cost a lot; your home can be done in six months and is often cheaper than buying a ready-made house.”
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