Traditional Kerala architecture is a famous style from Southern India, which is primarily based on the science of carpentry principles that are known as Thachu Shastra, and the science of architecture & construction known as Vastu Shastra. A central, airy courtyard is essential in a traditional Kerala home, and so a pond edged courtyard design creates the heart of this 2400 square foot residence in Palakkad. Designed by i2a Architects for Mr. Rajeev & family, this house was created with a fundamental 'Idanazhi' concept, which in regional language means corridor. The light-filled corridor establishes an easy flow through each open zone of the home, keeping family members close and connected.
The most distinctive features of Kerala style architecture are monsoon resistant roofs that take on long and steep, plain circular, or square forms, the gable windows, and tall pillars.
Local materials characterise both the exterior and interior of the home with a combination of wood, clay tile, and brick. The local materials achieve a harmonious balance with the surrounding landscape.
The front entrance takes on a traditional Padippura design, which consists of a roofed gateway that leads directly into the main part of the house. This modern version of the Padippura concept also includes a heavy wooden entry gate for extra security and privacy around the front garden.
The Poomukham, or entrance verandah, represents the first interior space of the house. It is situated under a sloping clay-tiled roof that’s supported by cement pillars. Once upon a time, the head of the family would settle on the Poomukham in a reclining chair, equipped with a thuppal kolambi (a spittoon).
Mature plants and lush lawn grow a fresh green border around the red brick house.
Raw grey concrete contrasts coolly with the clay-tiled roofs and red brickwork, which builds an interesting layered effect.
A concrete planter brings a flourish of the front garden’s greenery to the outer entryway of the home, to create a welcoming gateway for guests and extended family. Exterior lights illuminate the pathway to the front door.
Once inside of the traditional Kerala Style architecture, a more modern vibe brings the interior into the realms of contemporary home design. A stylish round coffee table design combines natural wood grain with a trendy matt black finished framework. A linear upholstered sofa and lounge chair set down sharp silhouettes. Crisp white wall paint makes fresh contradiction to interior exposed brickwork feature walls.
Clay muxarabi screens allow natural daylight to filter into the main corridor that characterises the home. Light play changes with the position of the sun.
The essential central courtyard of this traditional Kerala style house is coupled with a smaller courtyard design that emerges from underneath a modern staircase design.
A small tree grows at the centre of the main courtyard, where it flourishes beneath an open skylight. A kitchen window allows appreciation of the courtyard view and the natural light here.
Narrow ponds run along each side of the courtyard design, providing a habitat for water plants to grow and adding to the relaxing ambience.
A wooden deck chair is set up on the tiled floor of the courtyard as a place for the homeowner to come and relax, reflect or converse with family members in the kitchen via the open kitchen window. Another clay muxarabi screen climbs the full height of the dual story courtyard design, where it filters the strong sunlight, offers a cooling through-breeze and forms an intriguing sculptural element.
From the courtyard, we move through the main corridor of the home into the open plan kitchen and dining space.
Exposed red brickwork walls instil a visual warmth into the dining area. The wooden dining table and dining chairs carry a complementary reddish hue. The kitchen is a modern grey, white and wood arrangement, with a sleek peninsula that separates it from the neighbouring dining spot. Decorative bowls and a colourful runner make up a welcoming table centrepiece.
The same red wood finish builds a modern staircase design through the home. Metal balustrades exaggerate the contemporary aesthetic.
Open risers allow a picturesque view of the understairs courtyard to peek through upon the ascent to the upper floor. A clay muxarabi accepts natural light onto the staircase and the indoor plants.
Bespoke cabinetry shapes an entryway table with storage, where colourful decorative bowls and vases are displayed. Next to this, a taller unit serves as a vanity area for the homeowners and their guests to clean up upon entry into the home.
The bedrooms are large and spacious with airy high ceilings. A Moroccan four poster bed and matching desk inject elements of warming wood tone into the plain white decor scheme. Wooden bookshelves stack above the home workspace to provide practical storage. A small piece of bedroom wall decor adds a little colour above a pair of plush grey accent cushions and a matching bed throw.
In the second bedroom, raw grey concrete decor builds a more moody vibe. A wooden deckchair is situated below a high window to form a restful reading nook. Wooden bedside units wing the bed with a cohesive matching tone. Small indoor plants dot the dark bedroom decor scheme with moments of uplifting greenery and soft texture.
Open brickwork around the perimeter wall of the home reveals glimpses of the architecture and garden that lie within, and allow the homeowners to gaze out from the lawn and the downstairs windows.
Check out the home tour video: