Munene Nyaga’s home is a work in progress. A journey that began in April 2009 has culminated into a work of art and a life-long dream realized. This is just the beginning, Munene insists, because what today stands as an eight-bedroom mansion in Athi River’s Sabaki Estate is just half of what he dreamed about. No expense has been spared in putting up this mansion, which has cost him Kshs 15 million already, but the proud owner is only warming up.
While the mansion has several unique designs, the highlight of the day goes to the semicircular observatory glass house on the first floor that magnificently stands out. The glass house, Munene explains, was inspired by the office atriums he always admired. Inside the glass house, is a bar counter where he can serve drinks to guests, or better yet, serve as a Deejay’s deck. Made of simple windowpanes fitted onto iron frames, the glass house not only gives a perfect view of the sky, but is also his guests’ favorite spot in the house.
“In the afternoons, it gets really hot. But that heat comes in handy at night because this glass house is the warmest place in the house. My guests prefer to sit here and enjoy the view of the moon and stars at night,” he says.
But on a good, relaxed weekend, you will most likely find Munene seated at the huge balcony right after the glass house,
probably enjoying a beer with a couple of friends. The mansion might not yet be fully furnished, but this does not stop
Munene and his friends from using it as their ‘weekend home’ when they have had enough of the city’s smoke and dust. The 49 square meter living room is complemented by yet another bar downstairs. The downstairs bar is uniquely decorated in Mulberry- a deep purple and white with stripes of channel blue. This bar. This is me. This is Munene Nyaga in his element. I wanted a unique concept. I wanted a cozy bar where my friends and I can buy drinks, listen to music and party all night,” he says. The downstairs bar has a unique secondary ceiling with a snake light and neon lights that complement the coal
black tiles on the floor. Of the eight bedrooms and six bathrooms, the one that speaks volumes of Munene’s outgoing character ought to be the master bedroom. Almost as huge as the 49 square meter living room, the master bedroom upstairs boasts of the largest bathroom and an additional balcony.
“My idea of a master bedroom was a room that I could even put a couch and have a mini-living room or a small office. Who knows, even a baby cot (laughs). This bathroom will be the only one with a Jacuzzi. This master bedroom is basically going to be my safe haven,” he says.
Other notable aspects of the mansion include the underground water tank that cost him close to a million. But why not?
The tank can hold up to 80,000 liters of water, and since Munene discovered the secret in water harvesting, the tank comes in handy during the frequent water rationing periods.
So exactly how did Munene manage to put up such a home?
Before starting the project, he saved Kshs 3 million with his employer’s trust fund, which was enough to kick-start, his project.
He sketched the house himself one Friday afternoon and handed over the sketch to an architect who realized his plan.
“I thought I was loaded. I thought that at 2 million, I would have finished. How wrong I was!” he says.
Munene put a labor contractor in-charge of the project, as he was busy with his career and could not manage the project by himself. They would then agree on how much he would pay the contractor at every stage.
Contrary to his expectations that Kshs 3 million would suffice for his project, the and generally living large. Defying convention, Munene still drives an old Toyota and resides at Old Racecourse, something that comes as a shocker for
many who would expect him to keep up with the trends, if not set them. “It takes a lot of sacrifice. For instance, in the past 4 years, I have not taken a holiday. All my leave days are spent here, watching my project. People think I drive the worst car in the industry, but I think I have the best house in the industry,” a grinning Munene says.
He says this is his biggest and most memorable feat so far and it was worth every effort, every dime and every sacrifice.
“Whenever I lay my hands on some cash, I always explore all my investment opportunities and my conscience cannot allow me to spend for social status. This has got to be the most exciting project of my life,” he says. So does he intend to live here?
“I don’t intend to live here,” says the 40-year old. “Because I think it would be wasteful. Being a bachelor, I want to lease it out for people travelling in groups and would not want to stay at a hotel. I want to finish and furnish it, and open it up to the public as a getaway from the bustle of town life; a place where they can come cool themselves and just enjoy the Athi River breeze,” he continues.
Story courtesy of Homes Kenya Magazine