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Inside Naomi Campbell’s Kenyan house

By People Daily
Thursday, April 15th, 2021
Malindi paradise.
In summary
    • Just over an hour’s flight from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, Malindi has long been a favorite of the Italian jetset.
    • “All the locals speak Italian,” Campbell shares. “It’s like Little Italy in East Africa.”

Supermodel Naomi Campbell wowed the world with the home where she unplugs to find peace in Malindi town. 

The video of her villa in the tranquil seaside town went viral with international media showcasing the best of Kenya’s architecture, nature and leisure. 

Overlooking the Indian Ocean, her idyllic retreat is the epitome of indoor-outdoor living and for more than 20 years has served as her chosen haven from the breakneck pace of her native London and adopted New York City. 

Bathed in natural light and brimming with warm earth tones, the wide-open expanse is an ode to laid-back opulence.

“It’s a very calming place,” she says. “You don’t really want to be on the phone. You’re not trying to find a television.

You just want to read and be with yourself. It’s nice to just have the silence and the crickets.”

Campbell first visited Malindi in the mid-1990s and returned again a few years later with a longtime friend, the owner of this Kenyan luxury resort, which houses a handful of private residences, including Campbell’s getaway.

Just over an hour’s flight from Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, Malindi has long been a favorite of the Italian jetset.

“All the locals speak Italian,” Campbell shares. “It’s like Little Italy in East Africa.”

The saltwater pool that extends outdoors from the center of her living room is ideal for a quick morning dip.

When the model is in the mood to entertain, twin voile-curtained pergolas serve as the perfect space for family-style dinners. 

The vaulted cathedral ceilings and makuti thatched roof, made from the sun-dried leaves of the coconut palm, are an awe-inspiring favorite of Campbell’s. Makuti roofs, she explains, have been a staple in East Africa for centuries and are hand-sewn in an intricate layering process.

“We’ve had this one for at least 12 years, and it’s still in good form,” she says proudly.

“Because of the air, wind, and sea salt, things can break down very quickly here, but it’s held up so well, and it’s just like a piece of art in itself.” 

The oversized latika lanterns that hang from the rafters hail from Morocco and Egypt and are as dazzling as they are grand.

Campbell enjoys furniture shopping throughout Africa but has found great success in Marrakech and Cairo (like Murano, Italy, the ancient Egyptian city is renowned for its handblown glass). 

Senegal, she adds, is another must-visit when she’s on the hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures.

“Senegal has amazing furniture,” she gushes. “Every time I go, I buy furniture, and I just collect it and store it away.”

For remarkable woodwork, Campbell doesn’t have to travel far. “A lot of the wood furniture that we have in the house is made in Malindi,” she says. 

“In fact, we used to have a workshop at the back of the house.” The hand-carved wooden doors depicting two men dancing in traditional ceremonial dress were designed by Armando Tanzini, an award-winning artist who has lived and worked in Malindi for many years. 

They’re decades old and have proved to be reliable conversation starters. Tucked around the house are more works by Tanzini, including several large-scale tableau maps of Africa.

For remarkable woodwork, Campbell doesn’t have to travel far. “A lot of the wood furniture that we have in the house is made in Malindi,” she says. 

“In fact, we used to have a workshop at the back of the house.” The hand-carved wooden doors depicting two men dancing in traditional ceremonial dress were designed by Armando Tanzini, an award-winning artist who has lived and worked in Malindi for many years.

They’re decades old and have proved to be reliable conversation starters. Tucked around the house are more works by Tanzini, including several large-scale tableau maps of Africa. The article was published in archtecturaldigest.com