Magical transformation of 200-year-old ancestral home retaining its quaint charm

The ancestral house that has stood the test of time bears the memories of multiple generations of the family. Photo: Ajith

Smitha couldn’t hide her happiness as she showed her guests around her dream abode in the picturesque countryside of Karichal in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The grand old tharavad (ancestral home) that is more than two centuries old has recently got a modern makeover. Moreover, the house stands as an example of the timeless beauty and craftsmanship of traditional architecture.

The ancestral house that has stood the test of time bears the memories of multiple generations of the family. Smitha says that she was born and brought up in the old thatched house. The house had lots of designer carvings and a granary too. Interestingly, the old house was built on a single rafter frame. A single trunk of wood is what supports the entire house. Concrete isn’t used on the new house as in the old one.

The central courtyard is the highlight of the house. The courtyard of the old house was retained and had been given a facelift. Meanwhile, the entrance door opens to a quaint room which then leads to the central courtyard. There is a small pond and a sandalwood tree in the courtyard.

The ceiling of the old house wasn’t too high. Interestingly, the wooden walls of the house remained fit to be used, even centuries after it was built. The changing climatic conditions in Kerala haven’t taken a toll on the sturdiness and impeccable finish of these walls. Storage cum sitting spaces is arranged in the sit out and veranda that surrounds the structure.

The house, interestingly, has two sit outs. The one in the old structure has been renovated by retaining the windows that open to the interiors of the old house. Two bedrooms, bathrooms, dining and kitchen have been newly added to the structure. Mud interlocking bricks have been used to build the newly added parts. Meanwhile, the open kitchen boasts of all the modern amenities. A quaint breakfast counter too has been arranged as part of the kitchen.

The part of the structure that has been newly added has a sturdy entrance door built in teakwood. Meanwhile, the well is designed artistically in order to draw attention. The outer walls of the house too don interesting art works that elevate the elegant look of the house.

Smitha says that many had tried to dissuade them from renovating their old house saying that it would be waste of time and money. However, the family wanted to preserve the countless memories that are part of the ancestral house. They feel proud that their decision to give a makeover to their old ancestral house had been right. 

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