Noted designer Shinto Varghese, who has designed countless number of homes across Kerala, shares his experience of building his own dream dwelling at Angamaly, Kerala.
“I wondered whether I too would be able to build my own dream home whenever I design house for my clients. I didn’t have the means or other facilities to build a house when I was younger. I lived in the small house that I grew up in. I began thinking about building a house of my own when my family and friends encouraged me. First, I thought about renovating my small house. However, I soon gave up the idea when I realized that it would be difficult to renovate the old house that stood in a small plot. I couldn’t think of living away from the place where I spent my childhood. So, I began looking for a plot somewhere in the vicinity. A few months later, I found a 10 cents plot closer to my ancestral home,” says Shinto.
He wanted his own house to stand apart from the other houses that he had designed. He designed the house considering the layout of the plot that was on the side of a road. He designed each space by learning about the position of the sun, the flow of the wind and the presence of water. Interestingly, one could easily catch a glimpse of the grand elevation from all three sides. Shinto says he chose a dark theme for his house as he thought such a theme would perfectly complement the surrounding greenery. Besides, it wouldn’t get dusty easily. The main slanting structure on top amazingly stands at a height of 32 feet. This feature lends a ‘hefty’ look to the elevation from the front.
The splendid mansion, designed in 4100 sq ft area, has a car porch, sit-out, foyer, formal and family living areas, dining space, kitchen with a work area, five bedrooms, upper living area and a home theater as well.
The entrance door opens to the formal living area that is designed in double height. This makes the interiors look vaster. Besides, the glass window on the west side brings lots of sunshine into the house. A beautiful graphic painting done by a junior architect in Shinto’s office adorns the wall in the living area. The blue upholstery on the cane furniture breaks the monotony of the light coloured interiors. A garden space hasn’t been separated in this house that is built on a small space. Instead, the house itself has been turned into a garden. Most spaces in the house are decorated with indoor plants or opens to the beautiful views of greenery.
Antique pillars that are more than a century old welcome one to the family living area. Exquisite tiles that were imported from Morocco have been paved on the floor here. A wall too is highlighted using imported brick cladding. A yellow coloured couch is the only furniture that adorns this space. Meanwhile, vitrified tiles in 4x 8 are used for flooring in the rest of the house. Shinto says spaces aren’t wasted as there aren’t many joints in the house.
The dining table that has Italian marble top can easily accommodate eight guests. The chairs, meanwhile, are in cane. A swing too has been hung close to the dining space. One can watch TV or enjoy a pleasant conversation sitting on this wooden swing. Shinto says this is his kids’ favourite spot. From the dining area one could get to the yard where a designer water body has been arranged. The fabricated stairway in the naked style is quite eye-catching. The wash area, meanwhile, is arranged beneath the stairway to save space.
There are two courtyards in the house. The backyard has been contoured as a closed area. Laterite stone cladding brought from Kannur is the highlight here. The open ceiling too is an interesting feature of this courtyard.
“It indeed is a special feeling to sit here and enjoy the soft sun rays in the evening. You could even enjoy the light drizzles. Besides, small parties too could be hosted at this space,” explains Shinto.
The spacious hall where the family living area merges with the dining space is the family’s favourite spot as they mostly spent their time here. The amazing views of both courtyards could be enjoyed from this hall. This area is tastefully designed in minimal antique theme.
The bedrooms are designed in unique themes and patterns. The stunning headboard patterns, curtain fittings, false ceiling and the lighting make the bedrooms colourful and lively. The bath-attached bedrooms have wardrobes and separate dressing spaces as well. The master bedroom in the upper storey has lots of storage spaces. A cantilever balcony too has been arranged here.
The kitchen is furnished in multi-wood with laminate finish. The walls, meanwhile, have been paved with white tiles. An adjacent working kitchen and a small breakfast counter complete the kitchen area.
An office-cum-study area is arranged in the upper floor. This space proves useful, especially in the current situation where online classes and work from home have become the norm.
A vertical garden, arranged on an experimental basis, is another interesting feature in this house. “When I approached the professionals who do this, I understood that it was quite expensive. That is when I decided to try it myself. The garden that is 18 feet wide and 14 feet high has more than 1200 plants. Drip irrigation and mist facility have made maintenance easy too. A patio and a deck space are arranged close to this garden. You could calmly read the newspaper sitting here. A sliding glass door with a rolling shutter is installed here for added security,” notes Shinto.
A solar plant has been installed as the family wished for their dream abode to be environment friendly and energy efficient. Inverter with on grid and off grid facilities is used here. The house is run on the electricity that is produced like this. Moreover, the remaining electricity could be sold to the KSEB. Rainwater harvesting and well recharging facilities are also arranged in this house. Though the house has water connection, Shinto says that rainwater has been mostly used for household purposes during the monsoon.
“I and my family could enter the comfort of our brand new house during the time of the pandemic. I am thrilled that now I can show my own house as a reference to my clients who approach me to design their dream home,” Shinto signs off.
Location – Angamaly
Plot – 10 cents
Area – 4100 SFT
Owner and designer – Shinto Varghese
Concept Design Studio, Kadavanthra, Kochi
Ph - +91 4844864633
Year of completion