Sreejith and Siji, who have settled abroad, are thrilled to show around their brand new house, named ‘Parthavam’, in their hometown in Onamthuruth in Kottayam, Kerala. The family had clear ideas about the budget and began researching various sustainable construction styles, as soon as they purchased the plot around three years ago. Noted architect Shantilal, who is also a family friend, had advised them to entrust the designing of their dream home, to the talented team of architects at Costford, Kottayam.
The owner wanted an eco-friendly house that has the rustic charm of the laterite stone walls and cool interiors. They decided to completely ignore the traditional building methods and weren’t interested in chasing after unnecessary trends either. The double-storey structure ensures that there is enough space in the front yard. Designed in 1790 sqft, this house has three bedrooms, a multi utility room, a kitchen and a living area too.
The outer walls built using Kannur laterite stones have been left unplastered to grant the house a rustic look. The laterite stones that were specially brought from Kannur have been neatly arranged, painted and polished to ensure that the house looks fabulous. The house was designed by engineer Biju John of Costford. Interestingly, the construction of this amazing abode was completed in just under fourteen months.
The designing team had decided to adopt unique ways of construction that could efficiently tackle the rising temperatures. Traditional Mangalore tiles have been used instead of ceramic ones.
As the air between the tile-paved roof and the concrete ceiling heats up, the concrete homes often become hot ovens. In order to solve this problem, the owner, who works as an engineer in Gulf decided to stick thermal control bubble sheets between the plastering and the roof. The family says that the interiors are extremely cool even during the noon time when the sun is harsh.
Mud plastering has been done on the walls to reduce the heat inside the house. A unique mixture of locally sourced mud, lime, jaggery and ink nut is used for this. However, cement plastering and a coat of waterproofing too have been done on the kitchen and bathroom walls in order to prevent moisture.
Interestingly, the family decided to avoid gypsum ceiling, which is a modern trend that is seen in most houses. Instead, the ceiling has been done in the filler slab technology using old mud tiles and clay. Old bottles are used to create charming artists designs and patterns.
A special window that brings in lots of natural sunshine to all parts of the house is the highlight here. So, there is no need to switch on the light during the day. As wooden planks have been paved on GI frame to build the simple staircase, the family was able to save the cost of tiles and cement.
Wooden bay windows in the bedrooms is an interesting feature. Meanwhile, an ironing table cum storage area beneath the staircase helps save space.
The family were delighted to see the completed house, around fourteen months after it was conceived.
The owner says that lots of people approach him enquiring about the construction methods and the materials that have been used. Some of them even ask for the plan in order to copy the features. However, Sreejith says that such a house cannot be emulated just by having a similar plan. It requires dedication and an open mind to experiment with unique materials. Meanwhile, he promises to help anyone who is genuinely interested in building an eco-friendly house like this.
Location – Onamthuruth, Ettumanoor
Area – 1790 SFT
Owners – Sreejith and Cigi
Builder – Costford, Kottayam