Boys Quarters – A Multi-Purpose Space in African Homes
“Boys quarters” is a very African concept whereby the boys in the family (sons, cousins, etc.) move out into their own space when they become of age. The “boys quarters” is the colloquial name given to the servants’ quarters, a post-colonial hangover, and an ever-present feature of modern West African life. It also doubles as a guest house for when the extended family comes for a visit. This is usually a two-bedroom ensuite plan with a small kitchen, living room, and a veranda. For convenience, many people need their house help to be resident, hence the need for a boys quarters. Some people do not have enough funds to build a house in one go. So they start by building a boys’ quarter, which can be turned to serve other purposes when the house is complete. The process of building a home is a tedious and expensive one. Mobilizing the resources to complete a new home may not be an easy task. This may be one of the reasons some people choose to build the boys’ quarters as their first home and then the main house in the future. Most boys’ quarters are simple structures and are affordable in terms of construction costs compared to the main house. It is, therefore, easier and quicker to build for the owners to occupy as they plan to build the main house. The boys’ quarters may serve different purposes, but a few will be outlined below:
- Guest Wing – The boys’ quarters can serve as a guest wing in a home. This enables your visitors to enjoy their privacy. Also, having a guest wing saves family members from having to share rooms and beds whenever you have visitors.
- Garage – You may build the garage or an extra garage in the boys’ quarters to either house an extra car or as the only garage. Having the garage in this structure leaves the main house simple, neat, and free from the toxic fumes emitted by cars.
- Storage – You may build storage areas in your boys’ quarters to house your income-generating items, like agricultural produce, goods, and many others. This will save you from paying for storage in rented places.
- Location – To maximize the space, attach the boys’ quarters to the perimeter wall. This not only provides much more space but is also cheaper since one wall serves both as the boys’ quarters’ wall and as a boundary wall. It is also good practice to build the boys’ quarters at the back of the house so that the front part of the house is reserved for a lawn and flower gardens. This enables the house helps to carry out their duties at the back without inconveniencing anyone relaxing at the front.