The tale of the construction of this eco-friendly house in Pallipad will remind you of the famous quote from Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist: “When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” The determination and the unrelenting efforts of Biju, the owner of this house is so inspiring that we would be prompted to think that the universe has definitely conspired to fulfill his dream home.
Biju’s dream home ‘Thacheril house’ is located at Pallipad near Haripad in Aleppey district. Biju himself drew the plan of the house and led the construction from the front. He handpicked a few laborers to assist him. Having traveled through many foreign countries and have lived at various exotic places, Biju had decided that his dream home would surely be an eco-friendly one.
Biju, who has passed the fitter trade from the ITI, used all his skills in the construction of the house. It took only five and a half months to complete the construction of the house. The owner had purchased most of the equipments required for the construction of this dream home. When the construction was done, he put to sale all the equipments that weren’t needed any more. He had even bought a planer machine to smoothen the surface of wooden work.
The plan of this house is surprisingly simple! The spacious sit out is extended into the L-shaped verandah. When you enter through the main door, you are in the living room. The long dining space is a continuation of the living room. Among the three bedrooms, only one has a bathroom attached it. An open kitchen is another prominent feature. There is also a work area adjoining the kitchen.
Cross ventilation principles are followed in the designing and construction of the rooms. To facilitate ventilation, a few gaps were made in every bedroom - one to the outside and other to the living-dining area. These gaps were created by reverse fixing of broken hourdi block pieces. The cross ventilation and hollow hourdi blocks maintain a cool atmosphere inside the house, rebuffing the heat outside.
The land at Pallipad, as commonly found in the Kuttanad area, was not firm enough to build the foundation. This was one of the major challenges Biju faced. It is due to this reason that he had set up 13 small pillars. Biju purchased a large number of coconut shells and put them upside down into the pits that were dug to set the pillars. A footing was placed over them, and the pillars were set. Coconuts shells were again strewn in the similar way when the foundation was built. The light weight hourdi blocks helped to overcome the frailty of the foundation.
Neither the walls inside nor outside were plastered with cement; this helped us to save time and money. The two French windows in the front portion of the house are fixed in a sliding manner. Although these windows have no grills, protection is guaranteed by weaving square metallic wires outside.
Colored ceramic tiles were used to do the flooring of the entire house so as to match the colors on the walls. Space saving furniture has been used inside the house. Hourdi blocks are used for roofing. A truss roof is set over it, which is overlaid with roof tiles. The space between the roof and the truss is brilliantly converted into an innovative utility area. There is a stair case, made of square tube and wood, to reach this place from the dining area.
Cots made of mature coconut tree wood are set in the bedrooms. The same wood has been used for paneling the floor. Iron and square pipes are used in more numbers in this house compared to the regular houses. Likewise, a few experiments are applied to enhance the beauty of the exterior. One instance is a brush-wide paint coating applied on the roof tiles. This innovation adds a new charm to the house in a cost effective manner.
Area: 1800 sq.ft.
Estimate: 32 lakhs
Owner and Designer: Biju T Samuel