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Do-It-Yourself: Living big in a tiny home

Friday, January 21st, 2022 08:00 | By
Nyambura Ndiba is an interior designer and founder of Tiny House Movement.

What inspired your passion for interior design?

I have always loved Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crafts since I was young, and I would mostly gravitate towards making home décor items.

From there, it was a spiral of collecting art pieces and pairing them together with home décor plus teaching myself paint work and paint colour combination hence my interior design journey.

I can’t call myself an interior guru yet as I’m still fairly new in the game. I’m taking my time as I slowly learn and scale up myself. Every day is a learning curve for me.

You have an Instagram page dubbed Tiny homes Kenya by Nyambura. How has the response been so far from people who have interacted with your designs and work online?

The feedback I get is great overall and has opened doors for me that I did not expect when I started the page.

I also get to learn from my followers so it’s a win-win situation. I share my journey there to inspire anyone who would like to build themselves a tiny prefab house.

It is also a good forum to share my DIY works and home improvement projects that I have done for others, especially small spaces. 

Why prefabs and tiny homes?

My focus on small prefab home is purely out of lifestyle. I have always loved small spaces and my fascination peaked after stumbling on Tiny living channels years ago on YouTube, my favourite channel being Living Big in a Tiny House.

I just love the idea of people living simply and maintaining that minimalistic lifestyle, it does teach one a lot, such as the art of contentment. Styling a smaller house is much easier than styling a large one in my opinion. 

Tiny House Movement is popular in the US and Europe, what is it all about and is it gaining popularity in Kenya?

Tiny or Small House Movement is both an architectural and social movement that advocates for people to downsize their living spaces, and simplify them and eventually live with less.

The Tiny House Movement is slowly, but surely gaining popularity here in Kenya.

It is my hope that more people actually get to live in their tiny houses and we can have a community as opposed to building them for vacation rental purposes.

What started as an idea in my head and a very vague sketch in my notebook materialised and I now offer consultations based on this.

I am currently in the process of constructing a similar structure for a client and hoping to put up more of these tiny house structures in the future and forming a tiny home community in my space where we can all live off grid and peacefully.

What is trending in the small homes designs?

The trendy designs I see people focusing on lately, especially with small homes is the modern minimalism style.

People are avoiding clutter and too much going on in their spaces, they are opting to keep it neat and clean.

Another trend is the boho chic style, and my house is a combination of eclectic and boho style.

Bohemian style comprises of a fun mix of colour and patterns, furniture styles, as well as unexpected décor.

It also tends to be super casual and carefree, with a relaxed approach to styling. As for the contemporary style, safe to say it’s here to stay as most Kenyans conform to that style more.

What are the pros and cons of living in a small home?

The pros of living tiny, include cutting on electricity, water or general home maintenance costs. As I mentioned before; one is contended, therefore, happy.

It is also more environment friendly, especially for those living off grid as less energy is used and there is less wastage.

The cons include: it can be expensive when initially putting up the structure as their numerous things to consider, such as insulation, wall cladding; some things don’t come as easy as putting up a stone structure.

Entertaining in a tiny home has some limits too. You can’t have it all so you have to decide what possessions to take with you in this tiny space.

Overall, it all boils down to your circumstances or life choices, because of life circumstances.

For others lime me, it is a matter of choice and we are willing to overlook the cons and bliss in all the pros and more.

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