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Nyambura Ndiba: Living in My Tiny DIY Container House
Nyambura Ndiba: Living in My Tiny DIY Container House
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Nyambura Ndiba: Living in My Tiny DIY Container House

July 8, 2022

This article was originally published by Qazini, an online media platform that is seeking to drive systemic change in our societies through empowering storytelling.


Nyambura Ndiba is a free-spirited 31-year-old businesswoman. In 2018, she had saved some money to tour Europe. But after binge-watching tiny homes on YouTube over and over again, she was convinced she could build her own. And just like that, she put her travel plans on hold and channelled the money into building her own tiny home in Githiga, Kiambu.

Mourine Odongo caught up with her to learn about tiny homes and how she started her journey of owning one.

Were you creative as a child?

Yes. I was always good at art and was part of the art club from primary to secondary school. People knew me as an artistic kid. I guess the transition from there was a swift one.

What are tiny houses about?

Tiny houses are about downsizing living spaces by simplifying and essentially living with less, so basically a minimalistic lifestyle.

How did this journey start for you?

It started with my late-night binge-watching on famous Tiny Homes Yout/Tube channels, my favourite being Living Big in a Tiny House. In 2017, I started collecting materials and in 2018, I actualized my dream of building a tiny house. I purposely made it a goal to build one in Kenya.

Nyambura  Ndiba

What did it take to bring your tiny house dream to reality?

It took discipline and focus to achieve my dream of owning a tiny home. I had to hold my travel plans to save up on the project and stopped going out to minimize my spending habits. Embracing thrifted stuff also helped a lot.

In the process of actualising your dreams, did you have any doubts or frustrations?

Explaining my concept to the local fundis was frustrating because they were used to typical house structures. I also messed some things up when the building was midway because I didn’t have any architectural skills, plus there was no foreman on the site. I had to re-do those parts, but that was part of my learning curve, and I’m grateful for that.

Nyambura’s tiny home (exterior) in Kiambu

What kept you going?

My determination to build a tiny house regardless of the obstacles. Apart from my determination, I kept the whole process under wraps in order to avoid the external pressure from people who would potentially discourage me. My mum also supported me. When I was stuck, she helped financially.

What would someone need in terms of finances and expertise to construct a tiny home themselves?

In terms of cost, come up with a plan beforehand for what you desire, approach experts in the field for advice, and then have a budget. You’ll be able to gauge how much money you’ll need and where to source suitable materials within your budget.

Nyambura’s tiny home (interior) in Kiambu

Do you feel that the tiny house movement is taking shape in the country?

I am happy that more and more people are embracing the tiny homes concept. I am grateful to have inspired people to build their own tiny homes. I would, however, wish to see more people building their tiny homes to actually live in them instead of renting them out or only using them as getaway homes. This way, the community will be easier to grow.

What would you say is the downside of living in a tiny house?

I like to host, so sometimes there’s not enough room for all of us. But other than that, I’m yet to experience any other downside of living in a tiny house.

I can tell you are deep into DIY (Do It Yourself). Do you have any tips for those interested in getting their feet wet with DIY projects?

I’m very big on DIYs, and I would advise those interested to start small. If you want tutorials on making things, go on Youtube. It is very informative. Pinterest is also a great app for DIY inspiration. Another pro-tip is to avoid comparing yourself to those who are better than you because every day is a learning curve, and there’s enough room and light for everyone in this field.

Nyambura’s tiny home kitchen

What does your typical workday look like?

On a typical day, I’m mostly hustling as I sell building materials, among other things. On the weekends, I organize events or just entertain guests.

How can people reach you?

I have my Instagram page @tinyhomesandinteriorbynyambura, where I give tips on where to get stuff at a steal. I also share my DIY and interior decor tips there.

Qazini is an online media platform that uses the power of stories to not only uplift and inspire but also challenge existing narratives and champion the spectrum of voices and perspectives from the African continent. Visit Qazini here.

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