After serving the country for years, Retired Commodore Rajeev Sreedharan was in search of a cozy house for his family. He was fond of the traditional heritage homes (Tharavadu) of Kerala. One such investigation led him to a 200-year-old heritage home in Paravur, Kerala.
Though he was dissuaded by many from buying the antiquated home, Rajeev went ahead with his plans. He knew his dream would eventually take shape when Vinod Kumar, an architect with experience in preserving and renovating many traditional houses, saw the building and agreed to take on the task of renovating it.
The most challenging part was the renovation of the roof which was weak due to the rotting of the rafters. Similarly, the pipes were broken and there was leaking in many places. So the roof had to be completely removed. After that, the decayed parts were replaced one by one, strengthened, and reattached. It took a lot of time and effort.
One shortcoming of the house was the small bedrooms that didn’t allow much light or air inside. There were also no attached bathrooms. Most of the attention in the renovation was to furnish the bedrooms with contemporary amenities. This problem was solved by adding a new 'bedroom block' to the existing ground floor without much demolition. They added two bedrooms each on the ground floor and upstairs. Attached bathrooms were also provided.
The new building was built to blend in with the old Tharavadu. Even the elevation aligned with the old house. So at first glance, it doesn’t look like a new part has been attached. Along with adding new spaces to the palace, the decay in the interior of the palace was also restored. The moldy floor was waxed and polished and the crumbling walls were plastered with lime and restored to their former glory.
The ground floor has a long porch, living room, dining room, kitchen, and one bedroom. The upper floor was renovated and retained as a multipurpose space.
The house was filled with a lot of wooden furniture with a nice antique finish. After repairing the damage, and polishing, they were sparkling. A new set of antique finish furniture was purchased for the newly added block. The new block is prepared with an oxide coating to retain the touch of the old Tharavadu. At certain places, they have spread Athangudi tiles to add to the charm.
The sprawling paddocks are home to mango trees and coconut trees. The biggest highlight was their spacious pool, which was thoroughly cleaned. When they added stairs, it was turned into one of those glorified tharavadus you see in movies.
To cut a long story short, Rajeev Sreedharan got his dream home.