Sensual Serenity


“Simplicity at this best”- this perfectly describes the residence of Mr. Suresh Panicker & Meena. You can see a blend of traditionalism as well as modernism in this house designed by Architect Punnen C. Mathew of Design Combine Architects & Designers, Kakkanad, Cochin.

The house is located within the cramped urban limits at Thiruvananthapuram. But when explaining the requirement, the well travelled client’s demand was to create maximum space effect within the limits. Mr.Mathew achieved this by an uncluttered open house with an earthly warmth.

Drawing Room

Stairs and Dining from entry foyer

 Design Concept

The house was designed for a family of 4.  “As any typical Keralite requirement, the spaces must cater to the requirements of accommodating an extended family temporarily or permanently” says Mr. Mathew. The house again is located at the end of a 3m wide road, which made it necessary to treat the front of the house in a way that it looks broader and at the same time with enough privacy. The entrance faces the West, which created the requirement of working on fenestrations to cut off evening sun. This was achieved by maintaining minimum openings towards the west and with judicious use of sun shading louvers and sun breakers.

Although the house is based on a global design language, it is built using conventional building materials, which are cost effective and efficient. Along with maximum space utilisation, a spacious effect was created by having the core of the house -its living spaces connected at various levels as a single space. “This creates an illusion of a large heart to the house”, says Mr. Mathew. “The longitudinal spaces in the living spaces also visually enlarge a space”.


view of informal seating

vertical spine of the house


Interiors and Colour Scheme

The over all design is open. The spaces are left with no clutters and with a classic underlying theme to ensure longevity.

 As per both local and international standards, earthy looks can be created by warm tones. Light tones are also fabulous and it works well with woody tones. Neutral colours always make a room seem costlier and all others colous and accessories will have a stunning accent along with the dominant light interior. These concepts have been applied here.

Also it is a common trend over the years to go back to the past as a reference point. No matter what ever the style you are adapting, a little touch of vintage glamour makes a bold style statement.


Spaces Inside

Formal Living- The formal living is ‘classy’ and enriched with the beauty of plainness. Large French windows with no grills create a sense of openness, and at the same time blinds ensure the required privacy. The living space like all the other spaces is well ventilated too to ensure that ample natural light is coming in. Indirect lighting gives a formal look and blends with the specially designed classy sofas.

The Central Space-The central space that connects the living and dining spaces is the heart of this house. All the living spaces are connected by a compact staircase. The double – two and a half height space here also enhances the feeling of a large house, while bringing in a lot of light and ventilation to the centre.

The central space also justifies the traditional idea of courtyard house, where the sky lit courtyard would form the central light and ventilation source of the house. The connected character of the living spaces as well as the compact open kitchen caters to the new urban living of a working ‘woman of the house’. It reduces the distance between functions and thus increases the efficiency of the living core.

Dining Area -The dining area is a horizontal space with natural light peeping in from the side window as well as the central courtyard. The family living close to dining ensures more interactive spaces for the family members.

Bedrooms-A hard day’s work must be followed by a blissful night of sleep. All bedrooms are cozy and cross ventilated. All the three bedrooms are attached and have a balcony which is opened from a wall cum windows of glass with no rails. The toilets are designed in a way that it has enough light and ventilation with the use of louvers and glazing. This also creates a feeling of ‘bigger’ than they actually are.


Terrace-This is the most envious spot in the entire house.  Enhanced with a terrace garden with buffalo lawns and gathering space with seating, it is a perfect spot party cum hang out space. When converting the terrace to an usable space, a membrane roof shading was created, which doubles up as a roof shading for the main building, thus not only giving rain protection to the terrace, but also keeping the roof protected from direct sun rays, effectively reducing the heat intake of the building.


“Enjoying spaciousness within the urban compactness and a simplicity that’s been inspired by nature”, the architect sums up his pursuit.

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