Family turns treehouse into rural retreat in Murang’a

Family turns treehouse into rural retreat in Murang'a

An eco farmhouse owned by Snehal Shah’s family in Murang’a. PHOTO | POOL Snehal Shah manages a two-bedroomed eco treehouse which sits on a 500-acre family-owned fruit orchard in Makuyu, Murang’a.

“My husband always had a fascination with treehouses. Growing up, his family had one in their garden so this is an extension of that dream,” she says.

The construction process for the treehouse was slow, taking them about one and a half years to complete.

All the wood making up both the house and furniture was either salvaged from the farm, collected from around Kenya or reclaimed from an old cabin.

“My husband salvaged an old log cabin from Nairobi and moved it to the farm, then built the treehouse organically. His grandmother is into woodwork and has a workshop in Nanyuki called Mt Kenya Sawmills. Her fundis (artisans) helped build it. The two bedrooms are made from the old wooden cabin, and the cedar posts which hold up wood in the living area were all salvaged from a farm. It’s really old wood, and you can’t get cedar like that anymore,” says Snehal.

“We used African olive wood to make the kitchen and one of the coffee tables. The legs of the coffee table are old railway sleepers. The stilts that prop up the house are eucalyptus posts from around Murang’a. If you drive between Thika and Makuyu, you will find them at Kakuzi farm. The house is mounted on a metal frame to make it very stable, and the frame is then covered by cypress wood.”

The initial plan was actually to build it as a cabin on the ground, but they put it on stilts to ward off termites.

For maintenance, they treat them at least once a year. They had also thought of doing an iron-sheets roof but settled on makuti instead. They got the grass from around Murang’a, dried it, then brought in about four weavers who specialise in roof weaving to make it.

Ostriches at the Murang’a farmhouse. PHOTO | POOL Decor

Snehal did all the decor herself over six months.

“The idea was to go rustic but very comfortable, with a distinct African theme using textures, textiles and colours which blend well with the wood. I got cushions from Love Artisan, a furniture manufacturer on Nairobi’s Ngong Road who have done a lot of my stuff. Some of the paintings were from our collection, the sofa is pallet wood and […]

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