Spending unwisely on features in house construction may backfire later

It is always important to be extremely careful while investing in real estate. Photo: hikesterson/iStock

It is a well-known fact that kitchens play a pivotal role in increasing the area as well as the budget of houses in Kerala. When Ashraf and Amina decided to design their brand-new house at Thalassery. the couple had different ideas about the size of the house. However, they insisted that the house should have all the necessary amenities. The wife wanted a big house even if it cost a hefty amount. Here, the husband stood like an ATM that dispenses money without posing any questions.

Ashraf and Amina are parents to three children who are past high school. The couple had always wanted to build a house of their own in their home town when they returned to Kerala after ending their expatriate life. After debating about their particular likes and interests, the family, finally decided to build a spacious house with five bedrooms and at least three kitchens. They finalised the plan of a house that would have an area of more than four thousand square feet including all the facilities. The superfluous size of the house would surprise anyone. Why they needed an additional guest room when they required just four bedrooms, was equally confusing.

The extremely spacious bedrooms, huge bathrooms, and multiple balconies were unnecessary. However, Amina was drawn to chic designs and features including a contemporary and stylish modular kitchen. The family wanted three kitchens in their house. The first one was a modular kitchen just like the one that is displayed in the showrooms. They had no plans to cook in this kitchen. This kitchen alone was designed on a budget of Rs 7 – 8 lakh. It was just a show kitchen that had hobs that were never lighted and had granite slabs paved on particle boards without concrete proofing. Besides, it had designer kitchen boards and other fittings that would never be used. The second kitchen would be the actual working kitchen. Particle boards paved with granite without concrete proofing could be seen here too. Sadly, these materials would begin to wither away soon as we follow a cooking style that involves too much oil, water, and heat.

The third kitchen had a smoke-free stove. They wanted such a stove in their brand-new house. However, the truth is that no one would cook on this stove, other than boiling milk as part of the housewarming ritual. Then comes the spacious work area; but this area too isn’t used much. But, Amina wasn’t ready to give up her idea of the kitchen that covered a 750 – 800 sqft area. The fact is, the idea of building such a house was unreasonable.

Years later, Ashraf had changed a lot. He sounded sad and dejected when he said that the family lost everything after they built the house. They spent around 70% of what they had earned from the Gulf on the house. Moreover, they had to sell the plots of land around the house for the children’s education and marriage. Now, they are buried neck-deep in debt.

They have not been able to paint or do the maintenance of the house due to financial constraints. Ashraf and Amina who are past middle age are the only people living in that huge house. Their children are settled elsewhere. All the bedrooms on the upper floor are completely ignored. Amina’s health doesn’t allow her to clean even the ground floor. There are many people, who approach architects and house designers with similar demands.

Children would leave the house for education or settle far away concerning their jobs or marriage. They would eventually become mere guests who visit their old parents occasionally. There are countless houses of 4000 – 5000 sqft area, in Kerala that await to host guests who never come. These houses would eventually lose their charm and many of their additional features may turn out redundant. 

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