Kate Kinyua Home

Kate Kinyua invited the Home & Living team into her Nairobi apartment that’s filled with art, bespoke furniture and colour that creates a spicy ambiance.

Words by Irene Ouso. Pictures by Deepak Sankreacha

Kate Kinyua’s three bedroom apartment in Nairobi is a treasure trove of African art. Bold splashes of colour in minimalist fashion encase the apartment. The main door unveils a dining room, lounge and a fitted open plan kitchen filled with lots of natural light seeping in through the floor to ceiling windows. In the dining space is an eight seater dining table made of hard wood which Kate designed with her good friend Makenna Mwiraria of African Heritage. The seats are decorated with intricate details on the wood and embossed fabric in burnt sienna and white for the seats. On the pure white walls, a wall hanging which Kate purchased in Maasai market hangs undisturbed.

Right next to the dining is an open kitchen finished in black granite and to create a subtle contrast, the MDF cabinets are in a shade of tawny brown. Kate who owns Leah & Gibson, which offers catering services as well as being a company that packages organic honey, homemade cooking spices and chocolate paste, knew how important it was to have a fitted kitchen. “When I saw the kitchen,

OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP: Kathy Kinyua relaxing in her living room,BELOW: The main living area with bold bursts of red. The cream L shaped sofa helps neautralise the bold hues thus creating a balance. THIS PAGE: TOP;From the dining area, one appreciates the natural light that brings out the bold hues and darkwood. BELOW: Another view of the dining area with more art work on the walls.

I knew I had found ‘the one’. I was sold!” she recalls with a laugh. After returning home almost four years ago from the US, Kate searched for a home she could call her own. At the top of her wish list was ‘that’ kitchen, one that would also allow her to cook up a storm as she interacted with her guests. And she got it.

Kate’s living room is a clear reflection of her undying love for bold African art. Separated by a long console table which is part of the dining set, it is decorated with masks from The Gambia. On one wall, is a larger than life batik mounted on a wooden frame. Its red, white, black and bronze colours depict a mother elephant and her calf. Right in front of the art work is an L-shaped sofa sprawled with cushions in all sizes, textures and patterns creating a spicy effect with the eclectic combinations in browns, reds and pops of blue and pewter. The floor to ceiling windows are draped in olive green curtains with 200% gathers. “I love gathers… so much so that it just had to be at 200%,” she says.

A wooden chest which doubles up as a coffee table and storage for her collection of cook books has been carefully placed in the middle. The wall facing the sofa is bold in red where the LED TV has been mounted flanked by two glass framed works of art depicting women which she got from South Africa. “I knew the moment I saw these two works of art that I just had to have them. It is rare to find batik done on paper,” she says. Moving to the corridor, Kate chose mocha for the walls and hangs some more batik on paper art.

The guest bathroom boasts of a huge mirror, a black granite surface contrasted with a white vanity sink.

The walls are in steel wool grey. As is expected, there is a painting. This time it’s of a boy hiding in a house whose door is ajar. At the end of the corridor are three bedrooms, a master bedroom, which is en suite, a guest room and an office. The master bedroom is encased in white walls and has a wooden canopy bed which Kate designed again with Makenna. On each end is an elephant carving. Right above it is batik on paper work of art. Her linen in terracotta drapes the bed complete with two stuffed elephant dolls which she got from Thailand.

The guest bedroom is simple, but designed with comfort and relaxation in mind for Kate’s guests. It holds a double bed with sausage pillows which she also got from Thailand. On the wall is a large painting of an open window, wind blowing through the drapes revealing a peek-a-boo view of the beach. Who wouldn’t be relaxed in this room which is so easy to settle into? “I love my home, so much. When I moved in, I didn’t have much which is anyone’s testimony when they move into their home for the first time”. In a span of four years, it is clear to see how the space has grown organically revealing her personality which is both bold and down to earth.

CLOCKWISE: A wall hanging which Kate bought in Maasai market in Nairobi, Mocca walls on the corridor complimented by a hand woven floor rug, the bathroom with a wall painting, the guest room which is cool and calm, the master bedroom in terracota coloured fabric and white walls with a painting hanging over the bed



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