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Stunning home makeover on a centuries old island

Robert and Domitilla Peugeot hired architectural designer Claudio Modola to renovate their home on the Kenyan island of Lamu. This centuries old island, with an old town that is a UNESCO protected Cultural Heritage Site, is accessible only by boat or air, and cars are not allowed. Domitilla wanted to create spaces for entertaining. This 4,800-square-foot tropical getaway overlooks the Manda channel. A fountain marks the transition from the outside to the inside entrance of the home. The living spaces and master bedroom are on the upper levels to take advantage of the views and the ocean breezes. A swimming pool is nestled into tropical gardens to allow for privacy and magnificent views, perched 30 feet above the ground. The style of the interiors, with its 23-foot high ceilings, is inspired by the island’s Islamic architecture. The exterior of the home replicates the traditional plasterwork of the local Swahili culture found on many of the island’s buildings. Most of the furnishings were sourced locally on the island, using salvaged driftwood, and local craftsmen. Via

In the baraza, or conversation area, Indian fabrics have been used to enhance the surroundings with bold infusions of color. The door surround has been salvaged from a 16th-century palace.

To avoid completely reconstructing the existing structure, balconies were used in the dining area to add height to this traditional corner village home.

Another area built for conversation, the crescent moon decor on the back of the wall has been put there as a symbolism to local customs as “good luck.”

This corner master bedroom opens up on two sides to bring in cross ventilation from the ocean breezes. The bed was handcrafted by local Swahili artisans, along with most of the home’s pieces.

A beautiful guest bedroom.

Master bathroom.

The poolside pergola has been designed in more of a Mediterranean style than East African.

The rooftop baraza (conversation area) is where the homeowners and their guests retreat for the evenings to enjoy beautiful ocean views and some drinks.

Photos: Tim Beddow

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