Moreover, terracotta tiles help maintain room temperature and hence it is good for arthritis. Jungle wood is not that expensive, so these materials are used in abundance in the project, he added.Also, the basic quality of the materials like bricks and stones used in construction, has been retained. As we understand, the beauty of the materials should be enhanced with minimum interference. The primary quality, natural colour, texture and form of the material should not be concocted, he underlined.“Our house is oriented to a private rear courtyard, facing northeast, walled with a mosaic of rubble and mud plaster, with the tree as the focus. The walled courtyard was a response to the need for a courtyard, which is easier to maintain as compared to an internal courtyard. We kept the bedrooms basic, indulging in an attic in the children’s room and a closet in our room. Our bathroom faced one of the trees, so we planned to have a walled terrace, so that we could enjoy the tree from the bath, which eventually evolved into a built – in bathtub,” said Natasha. “We should build around nature and develop the philosophy of working with nature. If you can go along with nature, you can go a long way,” said Jeeth.
The land upon which we build the house, should dictate the mode and the kind of materials to be used for construction. One should look at the land and grow along with it and not try to build on a clean slate of land, by making the land bereft of its natural resources be it rocks, trees, natural ponds etc he explained.“We started building with a basic plan, and a clear understanding of the language we were going to use – exposed bricks and ‘chappadi’ stones. There was also some clarity on a minimalist look – no ornamental brick work,” she emphasised. However, a lot of the details evolved on the site, in collaboration with the masons and their skill, contributing immensely to the work. The woodwork, in the roof too was worked out with the carpenters. Their expression of the vernacular often contradicted our “controlled ornamentation,” she underlined.Finally, the house was completed in one and a half years’ time.
However, the finishes were the most debated upon, in terms of practicality versus ‘look and feel.’ Slate and sandstone in the bathrooms took precedence over ceramic and granite. Bathroom walls were painted with polyurethane paint, as opposed to tiles. The kitchen uses granite top and terracotta mural tiles on the walls except for the cooking area, which is clad with a slab of teak stone, yellow oxide with slate inlays in the verandah and blue oxide in the bathtub,” she recounts.“A home is not just a place where you eat, sleep and work, it is a place where you live. So one should add real value to their home, as one lives there for the rest of their life.Expensive marble floors cannot bring one happiness, but a good night’s sleep and the chirping of the birds that greets you when you wake up in the wee hours of the morning, is what can bring about true joy into your life. These were some of the aspects that we wanted to incorporate in our living and we have been able to accomplish this in our project as well,” concludes Jeeth Iype.
By R S Ranjeetha Urs