It was nostalgia that made Sabu take a decision about his new home. The long verandah, nadumuttom or the central courtyard, and an attic held beautiful memories and he was sure that he wanted all of this when he built his house. His family was of the same opinion and that made things easy. Being an engineer, he himself designed his new house.
The house aptly named 'Koodu' is set on a 35 cents plot at the TOC H road in Vytilla. It is a 2-storey structure. Ample space has been left in the front for a spacious garden and courtyard. There are many beautiful sculptures and design elements in the garden along with Bonsai plants. The pavement tiles in the front follow the same red and cream colour scheme as the roofing and the walls of the house.
Since they used to have a lot of visitors, the family was particular about the privacy factor. They also didn't want the staircase to be prominently seen when one enters the house. The design is in such a way that the front verandah leads to a foyer. From the foyer, the room on the left is the formal living room. The teak wood flooring, and a false ceiling that resembles the attic of ancient houses and the furnishing of wood gives the living room a vintage feel.
The foyer directly leads to the verandah surrounding the nadumuttom or the central courtyard. This area follows a Kerala style design. Terracotta floor tiles have been used to do the flooring of this verandah. Like in the old traditional houses, the walls have been lined with wooden planks.
The nadumuttom also has an antique feel to it. The four concrete pillars have been covered up in teak wood and brass coverings added on top and bottom of the pillars to finish the look. Around the nadumuttom there is a 2 feet high wall laid up with granite slabs where the family can enjoy a quiet evening. The prayer room is situated in between the foyer and the nadumuttom and hence the granite seating can also be used during prayers.
The family wanted the nadumuttom to be a space that let in enough sunlight and rain too. But this wasn’t practical considering the mosquito menace in Kochi. A grill with a glass covering has been done over the double height nadumuttom. This glass can be opened using a remote control, to let in the rain when required.
The dining area is right behind the nadumuttom. Adjoining the dining room is a patio that opens up onto a landscaped backyard. The pantry, kitchen and work area is near the dining space. The kitchen has a peculiar design where there is maximum utilization of natural lights. Right at the centre of the kitchen ceiling, there is a 6 x 4 feet skylight opening given in a pergola design. On the terrace, truss work has been done on just this part and roof tiles laid over that. Sunlight is let into the kitchen because of this and it keeps the area cool enough.
The staircase comes in between the pantry and the nadumuttom verandah. The highlighting factor in the stair area are the paintings done by Sabu’s daughter Theresa. She is currently practicing with her father after completing B.Arch. On the top floor, there are two bedrooms, a home theatre and a balcony. All the bedrooms have a wooden feel false ceiling.
This looks pleasing and at the same time helps in cooling the rooms. Everything here is done using wood. The wood bought from merchants selling the wood of old houses were used for these purposes. Even the wall cladding was done using such wood. Including the beds and dining table, all the furniture in the house are of wood and antique style designs. Furniture from their ancestral home were retouched and the new ones were modelled in old styles.
Even the home theatre has been given a traditional look with floor tiles that have a wood like finish, and a false ceiling made with wooden beams like in old houses.