I live in Angamali with my wife Amrutha, my son Johan and daughter Angelina. Johan is studying in UKG and while Angelina is studying in LKG. I have finished constructing my dream home and it has been just over a week since we started living here. We wanted a simple and basic home without much show on the exteriors. The 2460 sq. ft. house was built next to my ancestral home.
I must say that my father should take all credit for the smooth completion of this house. I had to be away on official purposes most of the time and he took care of every aspect of the construction in my absence.
The Engineer, Anoop, drew up a plan for the house according to all my requirements. What I had in mind was a contemporary style house with a plan that follows straight lines without shades or projections on the exterior. But my father said that this design may not be suitable Kerala's climate. The mason was later asked to include the projections during the construction phase.
The sit-out has a La Potra granite flooring. There are two entrances to the house. While one door opens into the living room, the other one leads you to the dining area. This was done for the privacy factor especially when there are guests at home.
Laminated multiwood has been used for most of the decor elements in the interiors including for the TV unit on one wall. I haven’t used false ceilings in any of the rooms. But concealed lighting has been added to the ceiling of the living room. We had sorted out the wiring for the house during the concreting of the living room ceiling.
The dining and kitchen comes in a straight line as per the layout. The kitchen follows an open plan. The kitchen cabinets were made of multiwood and given a coating of Auto paint. A small prayer area was set up with multiwood on the dining room wall.
The space outside the dining room is a study area. In fact, this was supposed to be the patio. As this is close to the kitchen, Amrutha can keep an eye on the kids when they are here. An extension of this study area is a utility area with a shutter door. You can even get into this space directly from the work area.
The staircase starts at the dining area. There is a Pergola over the staircase and hence on a level little below the stairs, we have given a small pebble court with plants. This almost resembles a mini courtyard. The railings of the stairs is of steel and La Potra granite was used for the steps.
The contractor of the house, Benny, Joseph who did all the multiwood works and Syju helped to bring in so much variety in the construction. There are altogether 4 attached bedrooms in the house, 2 on the ground floor and 2 on the top floor. I sometimes use the common room on the top level as an office room. In the living and dining area, digital tiles have been used and for the ceramic flooring has been used in the kitchen. All the bedrooms have ceramic tiles of a wooden finish.
There are many windows and skylight openings across the house and hence till 7 pm in the evening, one needn't have to turn on the lights.
The doors and windows are made of teak wood, but they are painted white to go with the theme of the house.
We have even painted the terrace white to avoid the growth of fungus or moss. White helps to reflect light, giving the house a pristine look. Like the popular TV Ad, this often causes everyone to ask us what paint we used for the house!
Tips from experience
Instead of using normal sand we used manufactured sand for the construction.
The walls were built with the locally available laterite blocks.
We mostly had only Malayalee laborers to do the concreting and hence this was done neatly.
There was no need to add a putty layer.
We went to around 8 to 10 shops to choose the best rate of purchase for all the construction materials.
All expenses incurred during the construction process were noted down accurately.
Instead of using multiwood, plywood would have been a cheaper alternative.
There were some cost savings as we custom made the shelves instead of buying ready - made ones.