Home inspired by the love of art
Nestled in Karen amid sweeping views of the Ngong Forest is Nairobi Tree House. Born in New York to an Egyptian father and an American mother, Tree House owner Jonny Dwek moved to Kenya in 2005.
When it came time to build, he knew he wanted an unconventional home that allowed humans, animals and nature to live in harmony. The house embraces its beautiful setting, taking full advantage of the views the site offers. Trees, for example, grow in different parts of the house, providing tranquilizing effects.
Dwek organically expanded the house, building Star Wars and Tarzan-inspired cottages for his children.
Dwek bought the land six years ago and used local materials to build the treehouse with the help of artisans from the coast. They used mango poles, famous for their sturdiness and inability to rot, to support the structure and Makuti for the roof. All the doors, of Arabic inspiration, were made locally except for one that he imported from India.
Dwek studied art and commerce in London and builds and designs houses which he describes as “craft” or “works of art”. He has also held several art exhibitions in Nairobi and supports artists on his Instagram page, Elevation.
You get his keen sense of design and his love for art as soon as you enter the tree house. Dwek describes her style as shabby bohemian chic. Hatches and ladders used to access rooms add a sense of adventure.
The main entrance, with an antique French-headed Arabic-style door, leads to the living room and kitchen, a high-ceilinged space with a traditional fireplace and parquet flooring. Egyptian paintings inherited from his father adorn the walls and bear witness to the family’s passion for collecting. Quite striking is the heritage chandelier that hangs from the makuti ceiling.
A wooden bookcase accessible only by a ladder hangs just below the ceiling and takes up the entire width of the house. The kitchen area leads to the TV lounge, a space that will delight fans of Boho chic: mood lighting and a skilful layering of textures and colors give the room a magical charm. Inviting leather sofas with Moroccan throw pillows invite guests to sit and admire the art in the space.
Here a trap door leads to the dining room downstairs and a ladder provides access to the attic where further heirloom paintings and carvings add interest.
Dwek’s room overlooks the forest and a nearby river. Large Indian-inspired arched windows give the space an airy feel, and handcrafted Moroccan-inspired light fixtures add even more character to the space. [Nailantei Kenga]
– For more information, watch The art of living on Home KTN this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.