There couldn’t be another home like this one. This house has perhaps rewritten every rule of the contemporary architectural style handbook. The only requirement put forth by the owner to the architects Lijo & Reny was that the house should scream ‘new’ and should be like no other. The house located at Kunathurmedu in Palakkad belongs to doctor couple Praveen & Sona and is aptly called the ‘Skewed House’.
In the first look this house doesn’t look like a house at all! Something completely different from the ordinary. The meaning of the word ‘Skewed’ itself is what the house reflects. The house does not have any concrete shape as such with walls that are at slanting or oblique angles. Aluminium screens takes the place of exterior windows and this adds to the uniqueness in structure.
The house set on an uneven shaped 13 cent plot is situated towards the corner of a street. But the structure of the house commands attention in every aspect. One of the inspiration for this structure was the view of the Palakkad ranges visible at a distance. The very design is indeed a bold statement.
There is nothing intense or loud about the interiors of this house. Serene and beautiful, the experience once inside the home is one of calmness. Plenty of open spaces ensures ample flow of air and light too. All the walls are white and the flooring is done using mint green Kota stone.
“Instead of using a single material like wood, glass or stone as a highlight design element; this style uses the ‘space element as a star. Space is the focal point of this ‘Skewed House’”, says the designers Lijo & Reny.
Though there are many open areas in the house, there is no intrusion of privacy. The 4568 sq. ft. house does not have a separate sit out. The guests are directly welcomed into the formal living space. The layout of all the rooms are as such that there is no compromise of the privacy factor.
Garden inside the house!
Even before the owners came in to stay, a family of sparrows set up their nest on the bamboo in one corner of the courtyard. In between the master bedroom and family living, there is a double height courtyard and an interior garden as an extension of this. This adds to the calm and relaxed feel of the house. The top-open courtyard lets in fresh air and the rains too.
Though Palakkad is generally warm, the family wanted to reduce the usage of air conditioners. That's where the idea of an interior garden and an open courtyard came from. The house is located beside a busy road and hence the possibility of the family sitting out in the evenings is quite low. As the garden is inside the house, it is a lot easier to manage and maintain.
No wood in sight
The owners were particular about not having any wood inside the house, not even furniture of wood. The bed is made of white shaded Korean stone. The doors were painted white and given a different look with a veneer of a stainless steel finish. The staircase is of glass and stainless steel. The steps are only as thick as 3 mm and does not look bulky at all.
As far as lighting was concerned, they were not keen on a false ceiling with recessed lighting. You won't find a single light holder or hanging light in the house. Customized LED strip lights that are concealed within the ceiling has been used in all the rooms. Except for a family portrait, all the walls are left bare, and there aren't any showpiece niches or a curio shelf either. The windows are not barred by curtains too. The minimalism is refreshing indeed! The walls are about 11 feet high, especially to counter the heat.
It has been 3 months since Praveen & Sona moved into their new home. Apart from the fact that you need to take extra care to maintain the white interiors, they find the experience blissful. A home that goes beyond ordinary architectural conventions. Almost like a beautiful piece of art that is timeless.
As creators of this home, how best would you describe it?
A home should ideally reflect the attitude of those living in it. It should not shy away from showing what it stands for, should speak for itself. The design oozes of class & positive energy. It is an attempt to rewrite the rules of what is being blindly paraded as 'Contemporary'.
About building a house like this in Palakkad?
Our life & lifestyles have changed, the clothes we wear, the gadgets that we use, the food and what not. It is nothing like it used to be, be it for somebody from Kochi or from Bangalore. Why can't it be so for homes? Where is the rule that we ought to follow traditional norms when it comes to building houses?
How will this house go down in the annals of history?
What is the first picture that comes to our minds when we think of traditional homes? The slanting roof and the brick roof tiles perhaps. This must have been introduced only about 100 years ago or so. How were the houses before this? The buildings and structures that arise today reflects the thinking and lifestyles of the present generation. The 'Skewed House' mirrors the attitudes and thought process of today. I would say let time decide what to make of this house!
Architect:Lijo Jose & Reny Lijo, Lijo-Reny Architects, Thrissur, email@example.com