If you have an average piece of land and you are wondering the best way to utilize it, then you should consider constructing a maisonette. A maisonette has its name originating from the French word for house; maison. A basic feature of a maisonette is that it is usually built on two levels.
In this plan architect Mathias Omona of ACQ Consortium in Kampala, designed three two bedroom units to fit on a 100ftx100ft plot. The maisonette has a general green area suitable for a garden or children’s playground and a parking space for three vehicles.
The ground floor of each unit accommodates a dining room, living room, kitchen, store and opens on a balcony. The first floor accommodates a self-contained master bedroom with a walk-in closet, a second bedroom and second bathroom. Each master bedroom opens onto a balcony.
At an estimated cost of Shs60m per unit, Omona observes that this plan will not only meet both the budgets and aspirations of the average homeowner but it also saves on the footprint ground level space that can in future be utilised for additional construction, agriculture or landscaping.
The two levels enable rooms to be more spacious than ordinary bungalows or which makes them more popular with couples and families who like more room. A maisonette’s spaciousness also means there is more flexibility when giving it a makeover; there is a possibility of knocking down walls to create more rooms.
Steven Bamwanga, a businessman, who has been living in an identical maisonette for the past five years, says enjoys the spaciousness of the rooms and the extra space where his children are able to play. “It is not so cramped and claustrophobic, unlike some flats and bungalows that cost the same amount of rent,” he adds.
This design also offers a high level of privacy since the bedrooms are upstairs, so guests can hang out downstairs in the living and dining areas without going near the private areas.
Maisonettes also offer a better psychological assurance of security since the bedrooms are located on the first floor level which is not easy for burglars to access as opposed to bungalow types.
Bob Bwayo, a real estate broker notes that for those building for tenants, maisonettes do tend to fetch higher market prices than ordinary apartments. He cites their classy appearance and two floors as factors for the premium they command. Aesthetically speaking, maisonettes due to their elevated shape look more imposing than their bungalow type counterparts. “Maisonettes are in greater demand now because tenants are pickier of how they live. The rising private property market also means more homeowners are building homes that are more appealing, bigger and practical,” adds Bwayo.
The double-volume balcony is one of the unique features of a maisonette. Asaad Tamale Kabugo, a landscaper, advises home owners to take advantage of this feature by adding plants to the décor. “The choice of plants is usually determined by whether the balcony is exposed to the sun or is in the shade. If your balcony is sunny, then geraniums will not only add colour but also do better than most in the sun,” Kabugo advises.