Sunday, August 30, 2009

House Construction -funds squeezing

One interesting aspect I noticed while moving from one client to another designing and building house for them is that no two clients are the same.By now I have directly built more than 200 houses in the state of Kerala with my first out of state work now progressing at Jackanarai near Ootty.
Each of the person I interact for the house construction is different with differing family ties and family equations.In most of the places it is the woman of the house putting more control on the matters.Man even though talk and act as if he is the boss,eventually bows down to the woman for practically every decision related to the house construction.So naturally I have to keep the lady of the house happy to keep the work moving smoothly.

It does not mean that there are no cases where the man calls the shots.In some of the cases lady of the house keep silent,submissive and practically has no voice.But such cases are very rare.
Some people keep trying to put a tight watch on funds by refusing to pay us in time or delaying payments.Such cases eventually turn out to be more costly constructions as delays and indecisions tend to prevent smooth conduct of work.In the process of such tightening of funds the client oftnen loose his cool and start firing at me or my workers thinking that such firing will save him money.In fact it causes the opposite effect as me and my team develop a sort of hatred to the arrogant owner of the house and will not guide him to have a lesser costly better options.

Of all the clients I have met my NRI client at Nilambur and Ootty client are simply not worried much about the cost aspect.They are more bothered about better quality work and I naturally tend to act to reduce costs wherever possible while maintaining the quality expected by the client
I have attached pictures of me with my client at Ootty along with her relatives and few of my workers and views during concreting of flat roof at Ootty

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trip to High ranges of Kerala

Kerala is one of the most beautiful places of the earth.It has very long beaches in one side with arabian sea,lots of rivers and lakes flowing down from eastern high ranges to arabian sea and greenery all around.
I have travelled several times earlier to high ranges of Kerala with almost breathtaking beauty of nature all around when I built a house at Nedumgandom near Munnar, a hill station in Kerala.I could not take pictures at that time.That was about five years back when I designed and built a house for a planter Mr.Samuel George at Nedumgandom.At that time I used to take up only Cochin based construction projects.One of the reason for agreeing to take up construction at Nedumgandom was the opportunity to see and experience nature and life at high ranges of Kerala .
Mr.George had about ten acres of plantation with crops of cardomom,pepper and coffee.Seeing cardomom trees growing up ,being nurtured with water,manure and pesticides was quite amusing.Amount of venomous pesticides they were using for cardomom must be making the entire area unhealthy as they simply spray pesticides into the air when trying to kill pesticides partly they are also poisoning inhabitants of the land.
Obviously Mr.George will not even taste cardomom he planted.Once when he came to our Cochin office,we gave him tea with cardomom in it.After taking a gulp of the tea his face showed irritation.He simply freed his mouth from every bit of that tea laced with cardomom and asked for tea without cardomom.At that time price of cardomom was not attractive and he used to lament about it all the time and pray for rains during summer as cardomom trees need wetness all the time.Now price of cardomom has gone up to attractive levels
This time I have gone to see proposed site for construction of house for Mr.Antony at Kattappana in Idukky district.This entire area is famous for cultivation of spices like cardomom,coffee,tea and pepper.You can enjoy the beauty of hilly terrain with thick greenery all around and see plantations of all these spices tucked in the forest area,thickly populated with adventurous people of Kerala.
I have taken several pictures of the nature in this area along with pictures of Idukki Hydro electric project dam and penstock tunnels of another such project.Obviously being an architect I have taken pictures of few good looking houses also.You can see those pictures here.I have purchased few ripe long bananas typically of Kerala called Ethakkai from a place near Kattappana where the best variety is planted
The roads are going by the sides of big hills and hence naturally the driver of the vehicle will have to be very careful while negotiating the way up from the plain land from where I started my journey.Unlike Ootty,these roads are not well kept and maintained thanks to typical lazy nature of Keralites.Public transport buses are driven in a careless rash manner by the drivers.In Ootty,they go through the hilly terrain with much lower speed and with lot more care

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Villa for sale in Ootty

During my recent trip to Ootty for monitoring of work at my work site, I happen to see Simhavalan Kurang (Ape with tale similar to Lion). It is bigger in size compared to normal ape and has two patches of black on either side of face. This is supposed to be endangered species seen only in our silent valley area. Pictures show these apes seen on side of road to Ootty. Pictures of Mara Annan (squirrel hanging on trees) can also be seen. Pictures of cabbage, carrot, Colly flower being cultivated and general scenery also shown.
Apart from site work I had gone this time to see a Villa owned by an NRI at a prime location in Ootty along with Jomon who assists us in real estate matters. When you take a turn from main junction of Ootty after 2 KM, you reach a Villa project area with security and all facilities normally associated with a Villa Project.
This house is a two storey house with three attached bed rooms and all usual common spaces. Interior wood work is done beautifully by Kerala interior wood workers. One Keralite lady stays there as a care taker. Pictures show details of this Villa for sale at Ootty. It is quite a good place in a secure Villa project with good neighbors and common facilities. This Villa of about 2800 sft with 7.5 cents of land available for an attractive cheaper price of Rs.60 lakhs (negotiable).As the present owner is located in USA; he is planning to sell it, as he has very little use for the Villa. During season each bed room can easily fetch about Rs.3000/- per day as rent. Villa has got all facilities like Kitchen, Living area etc.Any one interested in purchase of this Villa may write to me at
We will provide all professional assistance for the purchase including legal technical evaluation, documentation etc
A much bigger Villa nearby with much better facilities and a large beautiful garden around is said to be for sale. I have to check up about sale possibility before loading its pictures here. But the price is expected to be around Rs.3 crores

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Irinjalakuda house revisited

I visited Irinjalakuda house designed and built by me about two years back with my client for whom I am building house at Kuruppampady, Perumbavoor today
Only the old parents of my client is staying in the five bed room 4000 sft house. They are using only one bed room now. Rests of the rooms are simply kept locked. House is kept neat and tidy.
I have noticed the advantage of practically an open area comprising of foyer (where you enter the house through main door), Living, dining, stair way and Lounge where you reach after climbing stair. On two sides of stair which has a larger landing space in the middle as big as an inner balcony, there are two long round columns going full height to roof top of the house giving added elegance to the house.Foyer,Living and dining are separated only by open passages with decorative round pillars on both sides. On one side of the Family living space comprising dining area, you have common toilet and bed rooms on both sides. On the other side you have spacious kitchen connected with Utility area. Pictures show this area and stair
As the two old persons are practically having no activity there, I thought why they cannot use the large house with typical Kerala Architecture features and modern facilities to be used as a Home stay for foreign tourists. This will bring in regular income and will make the two of them staying there busy interacting with tourists and talking to them on Kerala and making them feel and experience Kerala Life, food and habits