Why holiday homes need simplicity, good ambience than city house

Designed wicker furniture on the cozy balcony. [Getty Images]

When someone talks of a holiday home, the first impression that comes to mind is that of the coastal region, with a cool ambience, palm trees and a breeze softly sweeping through a magnificent bungalow or mansion, somewhere very close to the beach.

Yet while this is more often than not, the correct imagery, a holiday home is more than just the location.

Edwin Were, a project manager, says it also has to be simple. “You do not want to be fighting with so many doors like in your home in Nairobi yet you are here for a holiday,” he remarked.

The design for such a house must also be considerate for other individuals who may rent it out for holiday as well. Chances are, if you own a holiday home, you already have a live-in apartment or townhouse somewhere in the city.

Hannibal Simba, a real estate consultant, notes that a holiday home should be somewhere one goes to relax hence the simplicity. “It should be more spacious, reserved, outdoor and meant to give you what the Nairobi home does not. It is a place you go and relax,” he said. 

 These homes are also basic in design. “Most of the younger people might go all out (in design) but the older generation want just a bungalow where they can relax with their friends,” added. 

When it comes to renting out the holiday homes to others when not in use, Mr Simba said not all homeowners welcome that idea. “For the majority of people whose income is a little higher, they do not mind doing it. But for high net worth individuals, they do not share,” he said 

As such, your holiday home will not only be the place where you go to unwind for two weeks or a month in a year, but it can also be a revenue-generating piece of property whenever you are not at the coast.

Therefore, even those who rent it out as an Airbnb should get a piece of that holiday ambience that comes with the simple design of the house.

Attract customers

 Mr Were, who is overseeing the construction of Pazuri at Vipingo, a holiday home estate by Superior Homes, notes that this is the reason why the units being put up seem to have more open spaces than what one would find in the city.

The living room is an open plan which reduced the number of doors for entry and exit. The units have sliding doors that usher you outside in each bedroom. As such, if you want to step outside, you do not have to navigate through the house’s front door, which is also a sliding door, or the backdoor.

Similarly, it also allows the house owner to rent out one bedroom and close up the rest of the unit if the short-term tenant wants just one side of the house. “The house type is very simple. If you have noticed, we have the main door but we also have sliding doors in every bedroom. You can let out the whole house or let out per room,” explained Were.

“May be, renting the whole house is Sh40,000 but they (tenants) have only Sh10,000 so you have the flexibility to accommodate them.” He added: “It is not complex or complicated. When you come for a holiday, you do not need all that hassle. And now it is even easier to rent it out.”

He explained that in the beginning, the designs were simpler and that there were only three house types which did not involve a bedroom on the upper floor.

“When clients came, they started saying ‘I would like a three bedroom but with bedroom on top” so we had our design team work on it then we built a sample and they loved it,” said Mr Ndege during a tour of the project.

The Vipingo at Pazuri project is expected to have over 300 units complete. “There is a lot of demand for plots because they get the benefit of a gated community and they can also change the design. For our design we do not do five bedrooms because of plot size,” said Clive Ndege, head of sales.

Even those who are building on their own, are required to submit their designs and get approvals to maintain the estate standards. Prices for units range from Sh15 million to Sh32.9 million.

Head of Brand Marketing Louisa Wanjiru say one of the reasons behind demand in the Vipingo area, which has become synonymous with Vipingo Ridge, is the mushrooming of apartment blocks in Nyali, Mombasa.

As such, those who had bungalows and mansions are opting to move further into Kilifi. “People are moving this way. And with the completion of Mombasa –Malindi highway, it will be 20 minutes’ drive to Mombasa,” she said.

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