Though ordinary looking on the outside, this house has a closely guarded secret!
An outlook that was different from the usual, was what made ‘Sreelekam’ located in Maankaavu, Kozhikode unique. At first, it appears to be like any other contemporary style house. But inside this 4500 sq.ft. home, there are two symmetric style homes! A house hidden inside another!
The owners Rajan & Vijaylakshmi retired from the Health Department and they had to tear down their old house on this 11 cent plot to build the new one. ‘Sreelekam’ was built for their children. The plot had a protrusion at the back part and hence, there were space constraints to build two houses for both their sons. The elder son Rajeesh had bought a new plot to build a separate home. The decision that followed was that the second son Raneesh could use the new house. But after he went abroad to pursue a career, the plans were altered.
It was his friend and architect Sujith Kumar that finally came up with this unique idea that they could build two separate houses inside a single home.
Since the low lying area is prone to floods, they had to spend extra to build a higher and solid foundation for the house. A contemporary style design that gave importance to lines was used for the exteriors. Terracota tiles purchased from Thrissur was used to do the cladding in a special pattern.
The courtyard in the sit-out was built with a decorative touch. The landscaping has been done in such a way that the Bamboo planted here reaches the top floor through the openings given on the ceiling. According to the plan, the design of the exteriors ensures that a certain balance is maintained for both the houses inside. The family gives all the credit for making this plan a reality to the Achitect Sujith and the Contractor Renjith.
Most aspects of the house are simple yet bold. Even the interiors are presented in a simple style.The sit-out is common for both the houses. There are two similar looking main doors here that leads to the living room of the houses. Sujith has drawn up a very simple layout plan. The paint theme, windows, flooring and doors of the houses are same. There are just some differences in the setting of the rooms. Furniture was brought separately.
The compound wall and the courtyard is a common element here. The courtyard in the living room i connects the two houses. There is a glass sliding door on both ends of the courtyard. When this door is left open, it gives one the sense of staying in a single home. The door helps in maintaining privacy to certain extent.
Both houses follow an open plan style. The kitchen, dining and living area have open layouts and are constructed as separate rooms. The kitchen opens into the dining room and hence the walls have been done away with. There is a small work area adjacent to the kitchen.
The stairs are built of mild steel frame and wooden planks. It was a little difficult to get skilled workers required to construct the stairs. As Raneesh was abroad, the older son Rajeesh said that he, now, has the experience of building not one, but two houses! They were apprehensive about the sturdiness of building with just the wooden planks and hence a steel frame was included. The area below the stairs doubles up as storage.
The highlight of the top floor are the two bedrooms. The wall at the entrance is a major dcor element here. One side of the main wall has been given a special appearance with the help of a special texture paint. Both the houses have the same colour themes.
There are two bedrooms on the top floor and one below. The wardrobes have a plywood and veneer combination. The kid’s bedroom in both houses is quite colourful. There is a balcony adjacent to the master bedroom. The balcony which faces the backyard of the house on the first floor has been converted into a utility room for both the houses. This area has a sheet roofing.
Home theatre/Reading room
There is an extra room for entertainment purposes. In Rajeesh’s house this is where the home theatre is set, whereas in Raneesh’s home this area is a library cum reading room. This was a smart way of making sure that the families got to enjoy both activities.
Benefits of going double!
The raw materials for the construction were purchased in bulk and hence they were able to get a good deals. There were huge savings when it came to the transportation cost of the materials. Especially when one of the owner is abroad, this method is easier as only one person needs to overlook the construction. The postal address and the house number is common for both houses
Architect Sujith Kumar has about 17 years of experience in the field of archietecture. He has a number of projects across South India. He had completed his B.Arch from TKM College in 1999. Sujith is the chief architect at the SK Architects firm in Kannur.
How did you arrive at a plan for building two homes in one?
This was a plot that Raneesh & Rajeesh’s father Rajan had purchased long ago. The first idea was to either build two separate houses or an apartment. The older generation is not too keen on the apartment culture. They wanted a house that gives them a sense of closeness among the members of the family. For this, twin homes were the best bet. We had given utmost priority to the parents likes and outlooks.
Wasn’t it a little risky to do both houses in a similar style?
With respect to the area and having all facilities in place, drawing the plan for two houses in the same model was a little risky. The number of rooms and room size is the same in both houses. But for the sake of balance, there are slight changes in the positioning of the rooms.
Area: 4500 sq.ft.
Architect: Sujith Kumar
SK Architects, Kannur
Owner: Rajeesh & Layana, Raneesh & Sruthi, Kozhikode