When Tradition Comes Back To Life
As a lover of tradition and due to its emotional attachment, Rajesh decided to renovate the 70-year-old ancestral house with his own ideas, as well as inputs from his wife.
When NRI Rajesh Puthusseri acquired his wife’s paternal house named Keezhuveetu valappil (Sai Sadan) in Amettikara, a village town located in Palakkad, Kerala, the 70-year old house was in a decrepit condition. As a lover of tradition and due to its emotional attachment, Rajesh decided to renovate the house
The 5200 sq. feet house built in an area of 40 cents (8 grounds) with three floors has been brought to life with minor modifications. The couple took intense care in terms of retaining the old charm of the house despite all the modern additions that were esthetically fitted into the traditional house. Keezhuveetu valappil (Sai Sadan) was built in an ancient architectural style known as tachu saastram and in kol kanaku, a type of measurement. The ground floor had an L-shaped verandah in the ground that led into the dining room through a foyer. On one side of the foyer, two bedrooms and puja rooms are located and the kitchen, store room and work area are located next to the dining room. A row of cylindrical pillars surround the verandah. On the first floor, the verandah leads us into three bedrooms on one side and a smaller bedroom on the other side. On the third floor, there were two spacious halls. These were the luxuries of the ancient house.
Post-renovation, the verandah surrounding the house, the rows of pillars and the tiled room were retained in traditional style. The pillars have been given a modern touch with squared pillars and the front area of the house has been laid with baby metal. The main entrance now leads us to the drawing room which is interconnected to the puja room and the living room. The foyer has been removed by creating a partition, thereby increasing the size of the two bedrooms. The ceiling in the drawing room has been furnished with wooden panels and the main door, windows and other doors have been brought to life after polishing.
The furniture in the living room and the teapoy has been made from the old wood in the house. The wall adjoining the TV unit space has got a cladding tiles highlight with a wooden carving of Krishna. A mural painting by Rajesh also adorns the wall adjoining the TV unit. A space has been created inside the wall to place the house deity and curioes been strategically placed in a similar style in the wall adjoining the sofa. Soft yellow lights add a vintage feel to the curioes.
An opening has been made through the verandah in the first floor and a slit in the roof ensures that sunlight reaches the living room. The shape of the dining room has been altered, complete with concrete roofing. The old system of drawing water from a well has been retained. The thudi, a wooden bar used in the mechanism of drawing water stands is one of the highlights of the house. While the old house had 3 bedrooms in the first floor, it has been modified to create two bedrooms with polished wooden ceilings, enough ventilation and bath area. The wooden ladder, which earlier linked the foyer to the first floor, has now been replaced with stairs that start from the dining room. Granite and tiles have now replaced the red oxide flooring while the wiring and plumbing have been done from scratch. The highlight of the renovated house lies in the fact that the tachu saastram style of construction has been retained, and the use of traditional materials. The renovation cost alone amounted to Rs 1.1 crore, and according to Rajesh, “we have invested enough time and effort that was needed to build a new house”. The distinctness of the house lies in the preservation of ancient charm that has been brought to life with a modern touch, without compromising on the traditional aspects.