When NRIs return to their roots after years of living overseas, most of them opt for a traditional home and compensate their nostalgia. However, there are a few who fall in love with the west and its architecture. Bobby Thomas and his wife Rani are among those few. The couple’s new home at Kuravilangadu, Green Villa, which is an eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture stands testimony to their romance with the west. Thomas talks to Onmanorama about Green Villa.
After living in the US for many years, my wife Rani and I had fallen in love with the kind of house we saw there. We had decided upon a house right in front of the plot where my parents Thomas and Chinnamma lived.
My business is based at Ernakulam and architect Sneha Thomas had put up an office right next to mine. So, I didn’t have to search for a designer to do my home. Our basic requirements were simple: we wanted four bedrooms, a multipurpose room, a dining area adjacent to the kitchen and the provision to get into the family living area directly from the car porch. Sneha gave us a very simple plan incorporating everything that we wanted. As we were quite partial to the architecture styles seen abroad, we were sure about going for a Victorian style exterior. A major highlight of the exterior is the sandstone cladding. Although not visible from outside, we did truss work for the roofing and had concrete roof tiles laid.
Our village is called Kappumthala in Kuravilangadu, Kottayam. All our construction workers were locals and smart enough to give us quality work.
A motif for the house
The plan of the house was not drawn with the car porch in front. The houses in the west have a style where the car porch leads to the family living space. We followed that pattern and built the car porch on a side of the house.
We also wanted a unique theme motif for our home. The image of a tree that goes with the name of the house, Green Villa, was hence chosen as the motif. This motif is reflected through a painting in the living room. The prints on the sofa and the curtains are similar to the painting. The print design on the dining table chairs were inspired from a design that I came across on the Internet.
From the living room, you can enter into a hall that has the dining area and family living space. There is a door in the dining room that leads to the kitchen and the multipurpose room. The multipurpose room has been designed as a sound-proof working-space-cum-office where any work can be done in peace. But when there are too many guests staying over, this can double up as a guest bedroom too. The bed here was custom designed so it can be folded away when not required. The parents’ bedroom is on the ground floor itself.
On the top floor, we have three bedrooms and a family living space. There is a balcony for the master bedroom. The other two rooms are for the kids. There, we have given two flower beds adjacent to the windows so that the sunlight won’t directly stream into the room. For the sit-out and patio adjacent the dining space, we have used La Potra finish granite flooring. Rustic tiles have been used in the kitchen. For the living room, we used imported clay tiles. These tiles that have a look and feel similar to those in the dining space were purchased at Rs 130 per sq ft. All the cupboards are a combination of veneer and plywood. All such works were given on a contract basis. We procured the teak wood for the windows and doors from the timber depot.
I had wanted the landscaping to very much be a part of this 3,500 sq ft home. The paving tiles, Gazebo, stone seating for the garden and all were brought in from Bengaluru. When a dream home is built according to our hopes and wishes, there ought to be reasons for the kids to be joyful. A special play area behind the house takes care of all their fun needs!