It is often said that a house becomes a home only when it has a soul. Dr.Ajoy Thambi and his family wanted their brand new abode to stand out not just for the unique designs but for being a space of comfort and warmth too. The house is aptly named ‘Bella Rooh’ as it has a soul of its own that inspires the family members with positive vibes. Moreover, each and every corner of this beautiful house creates a curiosity that excites and overwhelms you.
This mesmerising house that has an area of 2700 sqft stands on a 9 cents plot at Parempadam near Kunnamkulam in Thrissur, Kerala. Interestingly, the owner and his wife are the ‘chief’ architects of this house. Dr. Ajoy is an English teacher at Peringamukku high school while his wife Dr. Divya is the head of the department of English at Pazhanji MD College. It was Ajoy, Divya and their friend who had designed the house. The colonial-style abode has been built in perfect harmony with nature.
“I have always been interested in collecting vintage items. I own a pretty decent collection of vintage cars. When I was planning to build a brand new house, close to my ancestral home, I wanted it to have a vintage feel. I wished for a simple yet beautiful house that ensure an ample supply of fresh air and natural light. I made sure to include vintage features while arranging modern amenities in the house. I, my wife Divya and our friend architect Deepak had prepared the design. So, we could include our likes and preferences in our dream abode,” says Ajoy.
Construction workers from the locality were hired for the works. Ajoy says that there wasn’t a separate engineer to oversee the construction as they were there all the time. The classy Athamkudi or Chettinad tiles have been used for flooring. These hand made tiles are made at the village of Athamkudi near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Ajoy travelled to Athamkudi a couple of times to speak to the artisans and ensure the quality of the tiles. He says that these unique tiles are mostly made using eco-friendly materials. Besides, the flooring done using these fabulous tiles grant a classy elegance to the interiors. Ajoy adds that Athamkudi tiles are like ageing wine; they glow in elegance as the years pass. The sheen and beauty of the Athamkudi tiles increase when people step and walk on them. Moreover, they are cooler and help in reducing the heat inside the house.
The chequered glass designs are mostly seen in colonial palaces like the iconic Thripunithura Hill Palace. The base of it is usually prepared in timber. However, here, aluminium has been used for it. Similarly, coloured glass called Belgian glass is really expensive. Instead of Belgian glass, stickers and paints have been artistically used to achieve the same effect.
The structure is designed to invite lots of natural sunshine from all sides. So, there is no need to switch on the light during the day. There are two pergolas in the upper storey and two tall windows on both sides. The four bath-attached bedrooms are amazingly furnished. The ceiling of the bedroom in the upper storey has been left open to face the mud tiled roof. Meanwhile, the rest of the floor has been left as a terrace space. The doors are made in sturdy teak wood. Ajoy says that he has been collecting unique décor items for his house for years. Many old items and furnishing materials were given a makeover so that they could be reused. He confesses that he had researched a lot in order to lay his hands on many rare items.
“More than the physical beauty, we wanted the house to allure people with its love and grace. It should represent some of the colourful memories from our lives too. We even considered the likes of our daughters Ameya and Ashi. Most kids like to sleep on a raised platform. So, their beds have been built like the sleeper berths in trains. Besides, their rooms are painted in their favourite hues. Furnishing items made in GI pipes have been used at many places in the house. Besides, the antique lights are really classy. We had to search a lot for such lights. Moreover, we custom made a chandelier that looks like a vintage piece,” notes Dr. Ajoy.
Old sewing machines have been fitted with glass tops to turn them into stylish dining table. The beautiful furniture pieces too exude an amazing old-world charm. The walls, meanwhile, don attractive paintings and pictures. Even though the house is a concrete structure, the family has tried to make it a green space. Green Life Art Hub owned by the couple’s friend Jebin Joseph in Kottapuram in Thrissur deserves the credit for splendidly curating the indoor plants and other greenery in the house. Unique varieties of plants in various shapes and sizes have been used here.
The construction of the house had begun at the beginning of 2019. However, the works got slowed down due to the pandemic situation. The house warming ritual was celebrated last month and the family was thrilled to move into their brand new house. The construction of the house, including the structure and the furnishing, was completed on a budget of Rs 60 lakh. Ajoy and Divya say that they feel happy and proud when their relatives and friends shower praises on their dream abode. Ajoy, meanwhile, reveals the secret behind the unique name ‘Bella Rooh’. Bella is a French word that means beautiful while Rooh is an Arabic word meaning soul. So, the name means, a beautiful soul. Ajoy vows that they enjoy each moment that they spend in this spectacular abode of beauty and joy.
House name – Bella Rooh
Location – Parempadam, Kunnamkulam, Thrissur
Owners and design – Dr. Ajoy Thambi, Deepak and Dr. Divya Krishna
Area – 2700 sqft
Total cost – Rs 60 lakh
Year of completion – October 2021