Long long ago, the legendary Vayalar Rama Varma, built a house next to his ancestral house. It was a happy haven where his friends and relatives were welcome any time. A house which had hosted many famous people – both in from the movie industry and the literary world. It was in this house that he penned some ever green songs. And it is here that his son, Vayalar Sharath Chandra Varma continues his legacy.
Where memories reside
'I had never harboured any dreams of building a new home. When everyone around me was either building or renovating their homes, this house that held my father's memories, and smells of a nostalgic period was dear to me', says Sharath.
Every year on Vayalar's death anniversary, which falls on the 10th of the Malayalam month Thulam, scores of his ardent fans gather here from all across, in front of the house called Raghavaparambil. They used to stay on, humming and sharing the memories of his famous tunes.
'The old house did not have the facilities to accommodate all those people. We were unable to give back all the love showered upon us. When I finally decided to renovate the house, this was foremost in my mind', adds Sharath.
The highlight of the new house is a long and spacious verandah where at a time 100 -150 people can sit and relax. The verandah runs all around the house till the back portion. Cylindrical pillars have been added for aesthetic appeal. The verandah could also be used for a morning walk if required.
Another factor that you will notice in the exterior is the strip pattern used in painting the house. The credit for the choice of colour combination goes to Subhadra, Sharath's daughter. The plan of the new house and the construction supervision was done by Sharath's brother-in-law. Whereas the decor elements, furnishing, interior design and colours were according to Subhadra's likes.
Wife Sreekala Varma and their daughter wanted to renovate the house and with the green signal from Sharath's mother Bharathi Thampuratti it was decided that the old should make little way for the new. Sharath was particular that the renovation should happen only by ensuring that his father's memories are not tampered with.
The only major addition was the verandah. There aren't any new rooms. The positions of some of the walls, doors and windows were rearranged. The old roofing was replaced with a concrete one and over this a truss roofing was done. The roof tiles were painted and reused. Only the main door and the windows in the front were newly purchased.
Unique Colour Patterns
The front door leads onto a formal living room. Right in front is a large framed portrait of Vayalar Rama Varma. A wall unit around this picture showcases all his awards and accolades. Below this is a contemporary style sofa placed in a U shape. The colour of the sofa and the curtains goes well with the common colour theme here. Towards the right side of the living area is the dining space. From here you can enter into the kitchen. The beams of the old house has been retained as such while renovating and this adds a different kind of charm to the room. Outside the kitchen is a long work area.
Towards the left of the formal living room there is a family living area complete with the TV and entertainment unit. You can enter the bedrooms and Sharath's study through the family living space. There is a narrow space in between the dining and the formal living room. The entrance to the daughter's room is through here. This room was made more spacious by breaking down an old, existing wall.
There are 7 different rooms of various sizes in this house. The empty space in between the concrete roof and the truss roof has been used for drying clothes and storing old, unwanted stuff. An iron staircase with railings has been built to go up to the terrace portion.
Bathrooms with lavish space is a highlight element here. All rooms have a separate dressing area. Wardrobes with aluminium frames have been used in each room. The furnishing done has been chosen with care and is quite simple. There is not a single piece of furniture that can be called extra. Everything is just right. The flooring has been done with bamboo design, ceramic matte finish tiles. This gives the home a unique feel to the ambiance. Since only the same type of tiles were used, the wastage due to cutting was reduced. This saved them a lot of money too.
Except for the kitchen slab, granite has not been used anywhere else in the house. All the rooms have a little extra height than usual. The position of the doors and windows are in such a way, so as to ensure optimum cross-ventilation. More than adding pretentious decorations, the priority here has been given for requirements and needs. The legacy and everything that Vayalar left behind is treasured as it is, and for now it stands proud with head held high at Raghavaparambil.