Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Planning the dream home: factors to consider, combination & types of house

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No two houses are alike as there are many factors that play a role in the design. Is your family a large one or a small one? Are you planning to build more floors in the future? Do you want a garden? These are just some of the pertinent questions that you will have to ponder over before you set off to build your home.

Factors to consider

Lifestyle and culture play a key role in determining the kind of home you end up building. Architect and interior designer Kavya Thimmaiah says that culture plays a very important role. "For instance, there are some people who wish to have the dining area separate from the kitchen, while others opt for the open kitchen plan. Certain orthodox families prefer having two living rooms - one for the men and one where women can interact freely," she explains. Some people frown on footwear being worn in the home, thus provision has to be made for this too.

There are also other aspects like having a bar or entertainment room, puja room etc., which are determined by factors like lifestyle and age of the residents. "Young people go in for a bar area and entertainment room. They want to have space to expand, as their family grows larger in the future. They might go in for an entertainment room that can be converted into a bedroom in the future for a baby," says Kavya. Many young couples, in fact, specifically wish to have an entertainment area, as people tend to entertain heavily nowadays. Anu and her husband Sridhar are looking to build a house and since they party quite a bit, wish to have a separate room that will house a bar and their entertainment unit. And they are also keen on having a puja room in accordance with their religious preferences. In case one has elderly people living in the home then their needs become vital too. If they can't climb stairs then a bedroom may be needed on the ground floor.

The right combination

An ideal home should have at least three bedrooms, a family room or entertainment room, a formal living room, dining room, a terrace and balconies, and at least three bathrooms. If you have more space, you can throw in a garden too. "Nowadays, there are provisions being made for servants like toilets and residential quarters. You can have these as either a part of the house or provide a separate entrance, keeping in mind that one can't encroach on setbacks. Or else you can also construct them over the garage and put that space to good use," adds Kavya.

Is your house going to be on a quiet road or is it on a busy street? If it's on a busy street then it's best to have your garden located towards the rear of the house to ensure your privacy. Another idea is to build a u-shaped house much like a courtyard so that your garden is in the middle that still ensures you of privacy. This would also give a good view from your rooms. And how many cars do you have? In the age of two-car families, it's essential to have adequate garage space to park your vehicles. So make sure you don't neglect that in your equation.

Types of houses

There are several types of houses that you can build depending on the amount of space available. Most people tend to go in for a two-story plan - there's a living room, dining room, kitchen, puja room, bathroom and perhaps even an entertainment room on the ground floor while the first floor houses the bedrooms. It's a good idea to have the bedrooms on the first floor as it gives more privacy and will be much quieter.

A multi-level home has floors at varying levels and the floor plan here is smaller and more compact. This is apt for plots that are small. Duplex houses are also ideal in this case. In case more than one family will be staying on a plot then you can think of building town houses or apartments. Town or row houses are separate units adjoining one another and they are architecturally very aesthetic too.

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