Most of us can remember when bathrooms and kitchens were more or less style-free zones, tucked in long corridors and away from the magnificent living room.
Then came the time when a bathroom (which used to be called a water closet because it was so tucked away) was turned into a room where you refresh, renew and get natural light.
Renowned interior expert Clodagh (yes she goes by just one name) is among those who believe that the bathroom which you spend eight to 10 hours a week should have a view of the outdoor and the skylight “so you can lie in the tub and look at the sky.”
Interestingly, she isn’t alone. Whether in hotels or private homes, the design and location of a bathroom and kitchen is no longer an afterthought.
What was once a handy way to maximise dead square footage that remained after the rest of the living space was mapped out has become a stand-alone selling point.
High-end developers are now placing bathrooms and kitchens in prime locations, where they can enjoy maximum light and the best-possible views.
But why is focus shifting to the kitchens and bathrooms?
Sakina Hassanali, the HassConsult marketing manager says the kitchen, bathroom and floors are the most important elements in a house and the beauty of these three elements make upto 70 per cent of the visual impact of the home.
She says that for a developer to attract any meaningful return on investment, these three areas must be brought up to modern standards. A modern home owner in Kenya has become more trendy and a beautifully designed bathroom and kitchen is becoming a new feature for development.
According to the real estate agent, a master bathroom with a glass shower, jacuzzi, double sinks, good grade fittings ranges from Sh500,000 upwards— a price that does not include labour or plumbing.
Similarly, a good kitchen without labour, walling and plumbing can cost about Sh800,000.
Janet Mathenge, a real estate manager at Fair Acres adds that there is never too much focus on a kitchen and a master bathroom in a home. To her, that is money well spent.
Janet argues that although to most people in Kenya the kitchen is a place for the house help, it is becoming more common for the lady of the house to try out fantastic recipes from cooking shows in their well-appointed kitchens.
Also, kitchens are being made an open concept where it leads directly to the dining room and or living room for easy and better flow when entertaining.
The real estate developer notes that high-end home developers know that it is the kitchen and the bathroom that sell a house as they are the constant fixtures as furniture is changed often.
She says that in many cases, when a couple buys a house the final decision is made by the woman and is usually based on whether or not she likes the kitchen and the bathroom.
“All women love great kitchens and relaxing bathrooms and it is also great for resale. In our development, much attention and care was given to the kitchen and bathrooms. For example, we did high-end finishes in the kitchens with ample cupboards. The drawers were all soft closing and the showers were custom made in the master bathrooms,” she says.
On an average, Janet says that a great kitchen and bathroom costs about Sh100,000 per square metre and a good sized kitchen can cost about Sh2.8 million upwards depending on personal taste and the appliances.
The final price for such units once they are ready for resale costs between Sh70 million to Sh150 million for a four and a five bedroom home respectively.