Anyone who would walk past Vadakumchery house at Manjapra near Angamaly, Kerala, might stop for a moment to catch a better glimpse of the house, to make sure that they haven’t time-travelled back to a century. The old house painted white-gray and built 31 years ago now looks totally different, like a traditional home from ages ago. Surprisingly, the Cinderella-esque metamorphosis happened over a fortnight.
The four-bedroom residence has been the ancestral house of Anoop George, a businessman, for whom the home bears a ‘sentiments factor’. “My father built this home three decades ago. He passed away seven years ago and this home is full of memories. Though it had an outdated look, I was strongly against tearing it down and building a new home,” explains Anoop, who, after consulting his architect friend Shinto Varghese, decided to give the home an exterior facelift.
The 1,800 sq feet house, where Anoop lived with his mother Rani, daughter Aitlin Theresa and sister Ashly, had all amenities and he didn’t want anything else to be changed. Just while the discussions were going on with Shinto, the Covid-19 epidemic struck and everything went awry. It was then Anoop’s wife Limmy Mariat returned from the UK after completing her post-graduation. She was placed under the mandatory 28-day quarantine at a private motel away from home.
That was when an idea struck Anoop – Why not surprise Limmy with a brand-new home when she returns? The plan was to give the home a traditional look that suits an ancestral tharavadu. Everyone fell in love with Shinto’s concept. He purchased architectural salvage, including roof tiles and laterite bricks, from an old traditional style house which was demolished at Kannur.
The laterite brick was cut and converted to cladding stones, which adorned the walls and the roof was built upon GI tubular truss and the old tiles, retaining the antique look. The portico lights were replaced with antique lamps and the front door was changed into a stylish wooden door that reflects the old-world charm. The existing charupadi (Kerala-style seater railing) was repainted for a wooden finish, and voila! It was a brand-new home!
All this took just 14 working days. “We wanted to finish the work before my wife arrived home. We had the manpower and everything went as planned while ensuring social distancing and safety standards to fight Covid-19,” says Anoop, adding, “Both Limmy and I being green-lovers, there were plants all over the house, especially at the entrance. Along with exterior renovation, we decided to build a vertical garden on the left side of the courtyard.” He laughs recalling his wife's gasp when she came home after her quarantine.
The overall facelift cost Anoop just close to Rs 2.10 lakh. The budget came within the limits. Happiness is limitless, indeed.
Location: Manjapra, Angamaly
Area: 1,800 sq ft
Owner info: Anoop George
Design: Shinto Varghese, Concepts
Year of completion: July 2020