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Welcome nature into your home, Emakoko-style

Thursday March 7 2013


When Anthony and Emma Childs purchased this hilltop land deep in Maasai country, their goal was to create ‘a bush lodge with city comforts,’ thus Emakoko was born. Emakoko is named after the nearby Maasai river that flows into the Mbagathi, right above their hilly dwelling

The lodge was literally carved into the side of a valley. This emphasis on its rugged wilderness location dictated the architecture and décor for Emakoko.

The entrance is at the end of a bridge high above the river. The stately but simple lobby is open plan to let in the fresh air and divine view. Soft woods like cedar and eucalyptus were used for the flooring, pillars and ceiling beams so as to limit the lodge’s environmental footprint.

At the entrance, the first seating area is furnished with ivory imperial sofas, these are accented with high polished wood coffee tables. On the walls are gorgeous round signature mirrors with mosaic frames, sourced from Palacina Interiors.

“Our main criteria was that everything should be made locally,” says Emma. “I’ve worked in lodges where every single piece of furniture is imported. We wanted to do something different. It makes sense to create employment and benefit the local economy, since the quality is just as good. We briefed Palacina that everything had to be made here — the bar unit, the duvets, linens, dining tables and chairs were all locally made”.

Reminiscent of the first explorers to visited the country, the walls are adorned with sepia photographs of Kenya back in the early 1900s, taken by photographer Nigel Pavitt.


A familiar motif throughout the lodge is the simple but funky cushions made of micro-suede and satin, with a zebra motif. These are found in all the rooms, which were built separately on different parts of the hill. The sandy-textured tattaruga exterior and amorphous shapes of each room appear to draw inspiration from traditional Maasai Manyattas.

The Ivory room and Mara Plains room employ a more muted colour scheme with soft furnishings and upholstery. Emma decided to also add bold hues in the these rooms because, “Africa is such a colourful, vibrant place so we wanted to express that in at least a couple of the rooms.”

Each room has its own fireplace, ideal for the cool equatorial nights. These contain coloured natural stones sourced from the local quarry, hand-cut and assembled brick by brick, using a traditional English method known as dry stone cladding.

By the fireplace, comfy love-seats and armchairs on a cream woven carpet create a cosy nook. The cement floors are cool underfoot, and create a rustic feel. In the bathroom, luxurious stand-alone tubs are accentuated with Kenyan crafted pieces made of wrought iron, soapstone, banana fiber and aluminum. The result is simple, minimalist luxury.