Constructing a home is one of the main challenges faced by expatriates. Habeeb Rahman too had a tough time in this regard. A prudent man he is, Habeeb had taken two very crucial decisions from the beginning. Firstly, he would not go after those whims and fancies that would empty his pocket. Habeeb personally knew some of his friends who were trying to build palatial dream homes, which were often beyond their budget. Secondly he decided to keep away from those designers and contractors who have a knack of exploiting the Gulf expatriates. One of his neighbors, who also works in in a gulf country, had to spend more than Rs. 40 lakh to construct a house with an area of 1800 sq.ft.
Habeeb and his family wanted the house to have five bedrooms since his parents also live with them. A plot of 15 cents in Makkaraparambu near Kuruva, Perinthalmanna was chosen for the construction of the house. He also decided not to demolish the well, that stored clear water, in the compound.
A house that fits in the given space
After much thinking and consultation, designer Wajid Rahman was entrusted with the task of building the new home. Designing a home to fit in the L-shaped plot was one of the major challenges faced by the designer. Another challenge was to retain the well in the backyard. Wajid came up with an intelligent design that perfectly dealt with these challenges. The ground floor was designed with the sit-out, living-cum-dining, kitchen and one bedroom in the front portion of the house, while two other bedrooms were pushed towards the back portion of Habeeb's home.
The porch was constructed according to the ‘temporary structure’ model, using GI square tube and a polycarbonate sheet near the sit out. It cost only around thirty thousand rupees. An inbuilt seat made of rubwood was set adjoining the parapet in the sit-out to reduce costs and save space. The parapet was made with GI pipe painted in brilliant white.
All that you need
The house has everything that a family needs. There is no room for luxury and extravagance. This was the basic principle followed in the construction of this house. Except for the bathrooms, the flooring in all other places was done with ceramic tiles. The off white ‘mat finish’ tiles look elegant. These tiles cost less than Rs. 40 per sq.ft. Only the vitrified tiles used in the bathroom cost more – Rs. 80 per sq.ft.
The stair case of the house is set close to the living room. Beyond the stairs there is one bedroom. A common bathroom and a storage space for inverter are placed beneath the staircase. The staircase was built by fixing wooden planks on GI frames. Stainless steel glass was used for the handrails.
Only a few areas, such as the rooftop over the staircase and the place where the water tank is kept, are concreted. The remaining parts are roofed with a truss with tiles overlay. It is interesting to note that floor tiles, which has no designs etched on, are used as ceiling tiles. Unlike the designed tiles, these ‘plain tiles’ are easy to clean.
Dining space is set adjoining to the staircase. None of the large windows in this house are made of wood; instead GI and aluminum are used for the jambs and frames. These were beautified by covering them with wood.
The kitchen has been constructed adjacent to the dining space. The work area has been built on the other end of the house. Both the areas are separated by a sink and a tall storage unit.
In the kitchen, cabinets have been fixed as per the needs of the residents. The cabinets are made of aluminum and glass instead of wood and plywood. In certain places, the cabinet shutters are given wood finish.
The first floor consists of the family living and two bedrooms. Habeeb’s designer was not keen on a real pergola here. Instead, he created a pergola design intermingling ceiling tiles and glass on the truss roof. It has an advantage: they can create new patterns by interchanging the tiles, in the future. Unlike the pergolas, this roof is free from leakages.
The laundry is set in the utility area on the terrace. The utility area was built by paving a sheet on the GI pillars over the kitchen. Since the wall of the bedroom in the first floor is built high as part of elevation, the utility area cannot be seen from the road.
The 1750 house, endowed with every essential convenience, had cost approximately Rs. 27 lakhs.