• Ariya Antony


Lush green compound covered with foliage that getting a view of the house from the outside is close to nil. But the little bits and pieces which are visible gives a hint of the awaiting surprise. As we parked along the wooden rustic looking gate, I could feel that I was in for an out of the world experience. Walking through the stone path way ending at the porch, Sneha and I were greeted by Mr. Ranjeet Jacob and Waffle (his Labrador). We could feel the change in ambience as we moved into the building, in temperature and aesthetics. Exposed earth blocks work, intricately knitted sloped tile roofs, large fenestrations and the harmony between the built form and nature; a classic BK touch.

A long corridor leading to the main door and then to the foyer. I expected to walk into the living room but we went right to the rear part of the house, the large back porch veranda which overlooks the lily pond and the large, green, back garden, giving a feeling of being at the backwaters.Due to such a large, semi open space the transition from the outdoors to the indoor is gradual. We sat there for quite some time while Mr. and Mrs. Jacob explained the experience and efforts which had gone into the making of the house. From brick laying techniques to digging of a swimming pool and turning it into a pond. You could see the pride in their eyes.

Soon we toured around the house. Sipping our iced lime drinks we started our exploration from the kitchen, in English style décor. It is pure white in colour with warm yellow lighting along with separate work spaces and wet areas. Moving into the dinning space, which is the junction point from most parts of the house. It opens out to the veranda on one side and the front foyer, and the staircase landing on the other.At this point one realises the importance the occupants have given to the details to their interior decoration. Each piece of furniture, antique piece and art,has a story behind it. Next we went into the living room. It is not a very large space but once the connecting door to the veranda opens,the whole dimension changes. They say the living room is only used during the harsh summer as they need to use the AC and during the visiting hours of mosquitoes. Last stop at the ground floor level was the guest bedroom attached with a toilet. On the way out we stopped to listen to music played on an antique gramophone which gave a different mood to the whole house tour. One of the striking features of the staircase is the Spanish tiles,with unique patterns and design, which are clad on the risers.

A small passage way links three bedrooms and an audio visual room. Moving on, the Master Bedroom is a very simple space, with minimal furnishing,while the walk in wardrobe is a contrast with bright colours and bold patterns. Both the children’s bedroom interiors have been personalized according to their tastes. The toilets in this house have a peculiar feature –large windows are used instead of small vents on top. That not onlybrings in alot of light and ventilation, but is also easy to clean.

The whole structure is made of stabilized mud blocks with inter locking techniques due to which a large amount of cement was saved. The timber work done for the rafters, doors and windows are made from Malaysian Sal and Pyinkado. None of the timber used was kiln dried; instead the natural process of sun drying was used which brings out the strength of the material to the fullest.

All though I was unhappy that I had to return from this beautiful place, I had a smile on my face from start to finish. It was a day well spent.

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© Benny Kuriakose & Associates 2021

Architectural Designers & Conservation Consultants

Flat F, Third Floor, Springwood Apartments, No.6, Ranjith Road Kotturpuram, Chennai 600085.

Tel: 044-24474794