door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

Kerala Home Design – Traditional touch to modern homes

Kerala home design is well known for its unique wooden construction with intricately carved designs, gabled roofs and extended open verandahs. Southern India is famous for its traditional homes and temple architecture, especially Kerala. However, all wood constructions are now impractical as wood is very expensive. Lifestyle changes have further encouraged modern architects to intelligently synchronize traditional wooden architecture with the present day construction techniques. This unique blend of styles has metamorphosed into some stunningly beautiful homes in Kerala.

Kerala home design

A modern home incorporating old style Kerala architecture

Modern homes in Kerala are made from a mix of concrete, bricks and wood. The main building is made of concrete with some parts of the house showcasing intricate wooden designs and structures. These constructions have still not parted ways with the ancient principles of Vaastu.

Lawrence Baker, the late English architect was fascinated by Kerala architecture and settled down in Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. These are his own words “The various styles of architecture are all the result of thousands of years of ordinary people trying to make buildings that keep out the rain, wind and sun by using locally available materials. So I see what principles have developed over centuries and then apply these principles to what I want to do for my client. Sometimes, the local architecture is so beautiful and so apt that I feel it would be foolish and an affront to try and design in any other way.” (Source: http://lauriebaker.net)

Kerala Home Design – Traditional features

Padippura

Every traditional home in Kerala had a small door called ‘Padippura’ with a tiled roof, forming part of the compound wall surrounding the house. In modern homes, ‘Padippura’ has given way to a wider gate system facilitating the entry of cars. However, some gates still have an arch or padippura like framework in wood, towering above the gates.

Poomukham, Chuttu Verandah and Charupady

poomukham-kerala home designPoomukham

Poomukham is the main entrance to the house, characterized by an open area with a sloping roof supported by pillars, leading into the house. Old style poomukhams were wooden pillars with carved designs. The same effect is achieved now using concrete pillars and POP designs.

Chuttu Verandah is an open verandah joining the poomukham on both sides, supported by pillars, thru which you can walk around the house. Many modern homes still feature an open verandah surrounding the house. The wooden pillars and wooden floors have given way to round, concrete pillars and modern flooring like marble, granite etc.

charupady - kerala home design

Charupady

 charupady design - kerala home design

Charupaddy – carved design on wood

Charupady is a resting area, adjoining the poomukham and the chuttu verandah,  characterized by wooden seats with carved wooden back rests. This traditional feature is still preserved in modern homes. The seats are usually granite or marble with back rests made of carved wooden pieces.

Nadumuttom

Nadumuttam-Kerala home design

Nadumuttom – Photo credits: Unnikrishnan2011

Nadumuttom is a traditional open courtyard right in the middle of  a traditional home.  Being square shaped, this leads to the house interiors on all the four sides. This ‘open to the sky’ feature lets in ample amount of sunlight and fresh air into the house. These houses are called ‘Naalu kettu’ meaning a structure with four sided distribution. In modern Kerala homes, due to security reasons, this open courtyard is covered with a sloping roof higher than the roofs over the other parts of the house in such a way that proper ventilation is still achieved in spite of not being open to the sky. Pergola, Stained glass or safety grills may also be used for as roofing over the open courtyard. Wooden or concrete pillars made to look like wood, are used to border this courtyard.

Kerala Home Design – Wooden Staircase

wooden staircase design - kerala home design

Modern staircase with carved wooden railings and glass balusters.

 ‘All wood’ staircases have been replaced by marble, stone or granite stairs with wooden railings. Some stairs have veneer or  laminate coverings on a concrete base. The intricately carved teak wood railings and balusters of old style Kerala architecture have been retained in modern homes.

Carved Wooden Doors and windows

door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

traditional door kerala architecture south indian home

Main door - traditional home-Kerala architecture

Beautifully carved and polished teak or rosewood doors and windows are still a part of every Kerala home. Often, the designs have gold colored enameling, etching or beading work done. This is one feature that has not been done away with. The door handles and fixtures also have intricately carved designs in shades of gold.

In addition to the above, North east placed Pooja rooms with wooden paneling and mural paintings are still seen in modern houses of Kerala. The traditional pond or ‘Ambala Kulam’ is seen on large properties.

With a few design changes, features of traditional Kerala architecture can still be made a part of modern homes.

Ganesha idol - clay modelling for kids

Clay modelling for kids – Sleeping Ganesha Idol

This is a beautiful clay model of Ganesha, made by a std.II kid particpating in a clay modelling for kids competition, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. This idol is very easy to make. Moms can teach their kids to make a  Ganesha idol out of modelling clay.
Ganesha idol - clay modelling for kidsResting Ganesha- Ganpati Bappa Morya.

Clay modelling ideas for kids – Sleeping Ganesha

Here is what you need:

1. Modelling clay – any color – preferably brown
2. Decorative materials like pearls or small sequins
3. Ice cream sticks for the mat
4. Acrylic colors
5. 2 toothpicks

For the mat

Take a few ice cream sticks. Paste them together with glue in a criss-cross fashion or in a chequered pattern. Let it dry. Paint the mat using acrylic colors.

For the clay Ganesha idol

Make balls out of clay. A small sized one for Ganesha’s head, a medium sized one for the torso, two for the legs, four small balls for the hands and one for the trunk. Fix the head to the torso with the toothpick. Keep this aside.

Make cylindrical pieces of the clay balls meant for the legs. Make the left leg rest on the ice cream stick mat. Curve the right leg at the knee and make it touch the left leg at the foot. Attach the torso to the legs. Make sure the stomach has a paunch and the legs are quite fat.

Make a crown out of some clay. Attach the crown to the head. Make cylindrical  pieces of clay  for hands and a curved piece for Ganesha’s trunk. Attach these hands to the body. Fix  the trunk to the face. Use tiny pieces of modelling clay for the tusks, modak and a shankh(conch shell) to be placed in any two of the four hands. Note that sleeping Ganesha must rest on one hand as in the picture above.

Use a toothpick to carve three horizontal lines and a trishul on Ganesha’s forehead. Carve eyes and a few folds on the trunk. Paint these carved lines using dark colors.

Paint Ganesha’s dhoti with bright acrylic colors. Paint the folds in the dhoti with a darker color. For the jewellery, use tiny pearls or plain pulses like yellow tuar dal (split pigeon pea). Paint the crown in metallic gold or silver acrylic colors. I had metallic bronze color. On adding yellow, we got a neat golden yellow shade.

Allow your kids Ganesha idol to dry under the ceiling fan for a day or so.

Wishing you all a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

 

Start your own preschool - Ranjani Subramanian

Start your own preschool- Ranjani Subramanian

Every woman faces a dilemma in the middle of her career. Whether to take up a  new profession or just stay put. She may feel trapped in the wrong job or want some better prospects. She may be plain bored with the same old board meetings, deadlines or corporate responsibilities. Or the prospect of handling family, kids, social responsibilities along with a regular 9-5 job may be taking a heavy toll on her. Often, many women long for doing independent work or to start their own enterprise; something which gives them quality time to spend with family and kids, besides offering  immense satisfaction and happiness. It is very encouraging to note that many women are now taking the plunge,  changing their career path after  careful self assessment.

Check out this exclusive interview of Ranjani Subramanian who decided to follow her heart and make a career of what she loved doing the most – Teaching!

Start your own preschool - Ranjani Subramanian

Ranjani Subramanian is the founder and owner of Little Feet Kindergarten, Calicut – Visit the facebook page here – Little Feet Kindergarten. Enterprising and intelligent, she has put in a lot research, patience and hard work into this preschool. Little Feet Kindergarten was founded and launched in the year 2008, with an initial strength of 30 preschool children.  The strength has now gone up to a soaring 200 students.

Basically a TamBrahm(short for Tamil Brahmin), Ranjani Subramaniam was born in Mumbai and brought up in Bangalore. She graduated from Jyoti Nivas college, Bangalore with a degree in Science(B.Sc Electronics). Ranjani wanted to be a vet, but her grandmother disapproved the idea of her having to stay in a hostel for further studies. So B.Sc electronics was the choice! Then came marriage, and she found her soul mate in Mr. Subramaniam, a lawyer by profession. They settled in Bhopal and she began her duties as a homemaker. Soon she took up a law course to pass her time. Later when she had a daughter, Krutika, the owner of a playschool nearby approached her for being a teacher. Initially apprehensive for having to handle small kids, later on she felt at ease, with little Krutika tagging alongside.

Three years later, her career took a turn when her husband got a job transfer to Chennai.
There she started afresh, working as a law officer with Globe Detective Agency. Just four months into the job, she quit, as Krutika did not like being left in the care of a maid for long hours, back home. That is when Ranjani took up a Montessori teachers course in early childhood education, completed it and went back to her first love – teaching. She then joined a reputed school in Chennai.

But still, something was missing. Ranjani states that “The idea of my own preschool cropped up when I realized that I could not implement all that I wanted, as it had to be approved by the school management first. They were mainly interested in carrying on stereotype and not wanting to risk a deviation from the normal. Then as fate would have it, my father in law expired. We did not want to uproot my mother in law from Kerala, so both my husband and I resigned from our respective jobs and shifted to Kerala. He started his law practice and I was offered the position of head mistress in a local school. I worked there for 6 years and then finally started my own venture, my preschool – Little Feet Kindergarten.”

Her husband has been her strongest source of support. Her mother and daughter helped her with the initial search for kids toys, furniture, books etc.

Starting a new preschool of course involved immense hard work. Ranjani did a lot of research and visited schools in Bangalore, Coimbatore and Calicut to get a proper know – how on all the aspects that go into running a school successfully. She did what she wanted to – implementing her own school syllabus and curriculum, after careful planning and research.

She has written several preschool books for the children of playschool, nursery, Jr.Kg and Sr.Kg, published by Sura Books, Chennai.

She has not stopped at that. Ranjani completed her B.Ed three years back and has recently achieved a Masters degree in Psychology. She actively pursues her hobbies – reading, embroidery, music and gardening besides being a wonderful mom to her daughter Krutika and a great teacher to the little ones at Little Feet.

I would call Ranjani a bundle of  energy who always inspires others. Little Feet Kindergarten is a fun loving place for kids, combining play and study, with so many activities. Check out the snaps below.

Start your own preschool Little Champs at Little Feet Kindergarten

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut School Day Celebrations

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut - fancy dress Radha Krishna dance for the School Day celebrations

Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut - Onam Onam festivities with kids

Onam Feast - Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut Kids enjoying Onam Sadhya(feast)

school picnic - Little Feet Kindergarten - Calicut School picnic

Ranjani Subramanian is a true role model for many women who want to start an enterprise of their own beginning with an inspiration, close to their heart.

Get to know career options for homemakers – Read Careers for Homemakers

 

Japanese Vase - collectibles

Vases – collectibles & centerpieces for home decor

Some History first!
You can trace the origin of vases back to several centuries B.C. Initially meant for holding cut flowers, they went on to be a part of  home decor in the homes of both, the affluent as well as the middle class. Vases have been used as collectibles and centerpieces in ancient China, India, Greece, Egypt, England and across many other cultures.  Artists have used vases  to depict various scenes from ancient mythology. In fact,  in ancient Greece, they were often decorated using the red and black figure technique, depicting Gods and mythological heroes. In ancient Egypt, they were made of clay – usually silt from the river Nile and were often symbolic, adorned with figures of animals, birds, Egyptians and sometimes with hieroglyphs inscribed on them. Ancient Indian vases were royally crafted from precious metals like Gold, Silver and embellished with precious stones. Intricately carved, these ones had designs of deer, horses, swans, beautiful women, Maharajahs and their courtesans, flowers, royal gardens etc.

Choose the right vase for the right place

porcelain vase-wrought iron stand

Make your living room corner lively with a simple porcelain vase arrangement on a designer stand made of wrought iron. Put in a few long stemmed fresh flowers or artificial ones, with colors complementing your wall and furnishings. If the vase is light colored, place it against a dark background and vice versa.

Types of Vases

 

cermaic vases Photo Credits: dinnerseries

ceramicvase

Photo Credits: bulldogpottery

ceramic  vase Photo Credits: bulldogpottery

Stunning ceramic vases like the ones above are available in different shapes and colors. Pick one that best suits your wall or room decor.

Japanese Vase - collectibles

                    scandinavian wooden vase Photo CreditsPlanetutopia

If your home decor is mostly traditional and Asian, go for intricately carved traditional vases, like Japanese, Indian or Chinese – designer wooden vases, you also get Chinese ones with lacquer finish.

  metal vases   Photo CreditsFlyskyhome

metal vase  Photo Credits MattGibson

japanese vases,glass vases Photo Creditsgeishaboy500

glass vase Photo Credits – ficusdesk

tree vase Photo Credits: Mararie

In modern living rooms, most often, a neutral color scheme is implemented with colors like off white, grey,beige etc. In such cases, use stylish glass and metal  vases with modern designs and abstract shapes, with colorful flowers or fillers like colorful beads, jelly balls (in case of glass vases) to stand out against the plain background.

DIY Vases

diy vases from old bottles Photo Creditstinytall

diy vases,milk bottle vase Photo Creditsjdickert

Check out the reused milk bottle vase above.

recycled vases,diy vases Photo Creditscuttlefish

This vase is made of a reused rum bottle.

multicolored diy vase Photo CreditsKoekiehaas

Check out a thrift store nearby for some pretty containers or antiquities that double up as flower vases,  to adorn your living room corner. Make good use of old wine bottles, glass pen stands, painted tin cans, paper mache containers, rum and milk bottles. Decorate them with 3d outliners, acrylic colors, colorful fabric etc. to make your very own DIY vases.

A vase is a must have accessory in every home. You can make the dullest of all interiors come alive with this simple accessory. Vases let you experiment with their contents – You can put in dry stems, colorful flowers, paper mache flowers, reeds, pebbles and what not. And most important – it does not burn a hole in your pocket.

 

 

 

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