Skip to content

Kerala House Made from Recycled Wooden & Soil is Paradise Amid Forest


    Having as soon as served because the summer season residence for the kings of Travancore, the Peermedu Hills of Kerala haven’t misplaced their royalty quotient. The hill station within the Idukki district seems virtually as if a real-life postcard, providing many vacationers a panoramic view that spans miles.

    For anybody standing perched on high of one of many hills right here, there’d be an excellent sight in entrance of them — money crop plantations together with tea, cardamom, and pepper; together with fauna in shut quarters. So as to add to this cinematic expertise, there’s the gush of the waterfalls, which have an virtually musical symphony to them.

    One morning in 2017, George Manu, an training skilled who relies in Dubai, stood right here. The second by no means left his thoughts, and he determined he would construct his dream residence proper right here, nestled in these hills.

    The Ledge Home: Perched atop the Peermedu Hills

    The Ledge House in Peermedu Hills of Kerala is perched on a hill
    The Ledge Home in Peermedu Hills of Kerala, Image credit: George Manu

    Right now, George’s residence has a distinguished view of the encircling tea plantations. Generally known as ‘The Ledge Home’ resulting from its strategic location, the house is nothing in need of a dream — with its regal framework, full-panel glass home windows, and to not overlook, the truth that it’s burrowed into the mountain.

    About why he selected the Peermedu Hills, he says, “It’s near my hometown, the altitude is nice, and the local weather lovely. What’s to not like?”

    The house, he says, was meant to be a retirement home. “In Dubai, the summers are sweltering and so I envisioned the house as my respite.”

    As George reached out to Vinu Daniel and his group for the design and building of the home, he was clear in his intent. “I didn’t need one thing very large, however on the identical time, wished the home to be spacious. I didn’t need nature round to be disturbed in any manner. I discovered the hills lovely as they had been and wished this to be retained.”

    The group was greater than excited on the prospect of this challenge. Nonetheless, as Vinu Daniel says, having a house constructed on a mountaintop shouldn’t be as storylike because it sounds. 

    Dining area at The Ledge House has walls made of casuarina
    Eating space at The Ledge Home has partitions made from casuarina, Image credit: George Manu

    “Persons are sceptical. Everybody needs the view. And so, somebody might need the perfect view right this moment, however within the subsequent 10 years, with extra houses developing on that very mountain high, the view modifications.”

    Thus, they determined to observe a unique strategy when it got here to The Ledge Home — “To maintain the view, we constructed the house in a manner that it stands on the sting of the cliff however can be burrowed into the mountain.”

    The development work started in 2018, and the 1900 sq ft residence, comprising 4 rooms, was prepared in 2019.

    Constructed with recycled wooden and no ACs

    George says that the partitions of the house are infused with the rocks within the hill, which means there’s a temperature stability, as the warmth radiation is monitored.

    “In summer season, when one steps into the house from the skin warmth, it virtually appears like entering into an air-conditioned suite. In winter, it’s vice versa. I don’t use any air conditioners or followers within the residence.”

    The Ledge House is a sustainable home in the Peermedu Hills of Kerala
    The Ledge Home is a sustainable residence within the Peermedu Hills of Kerala, Image credit: George Manu

    Vinu Daniel, the architect behind this regal challenge, says that temperature management was simply one of many options of this residence. The selection of supplies used to construct the house is much more fascinating.

    “The roof and wall are made from casuarina (an evergreen tree with a pine-like look).” He provides that like bamboo, the plant shouldn’t be a typical selection for building, however standard in scaffolding.

    “We handled the plant after which used the wooden within the partitions. Together with this, we additionally used recycled wooden that was leftover from numerous building tasks and mills. We modelled the items and pieced the waste wooden collectively to make the ground,” he provides.

    The partitions of the house have 5 per cent cement, and are primarily based on a mannequin known as the ‘shutter particles wall’. “These partitions are load bearing and made with soil particles, such because the stones produced throughout excavation and building. It’s then stabilised with cement,” Daniel provides.

    Whereas ‘ferrocement’ — a type of concrete that makes use of much less reinforcement — slabs have been used within the building, no timber have been reduce for finishing The Ledge Home.

    “The concept was by no means to damage nature within the technique of constructing my dream,” says George, who says this concept took root in his childhood.

    Summer time holidays amid cardamom plantations

    George Manu, homeowner of The Ledge House in Peermedu Hills of Kerala
    George Manu together with his household, Image credit: George Manu

    Recounting the inspiration behind eager to have a residence of this kind, George says, he was at all times a nature fanatic.

    “Since my rising up years, I’ve at all times cherished the outside. Being introduced up in Alleppey, Kerala, meant hours spent within the backwaters and days spent within the fields. This deepened the bond that I had with nature,” he tells The Higher India.

    So as to add to this, George’s holidays meant spending time at his grandfather’s cardamom plantations — 560 acres of land full of spices of various varieties.

    The weeks would fly by in a blur as George would spend what he calls “essentially the most pleasurable time of his life” within the fields. However whereas he cherished the openness that farming gave him, he made up his thoughts that when the time got here, as an alternative of going the standard route of money crops, he’d do it in a different way.

    “I didn’t need to generate income from farming,” was his notion.

    So, whereas George pursued his company ambitions in Dubai, he was at all times looking out to create an area of his personal in his hometown Kerala. One that may be a haven the place nature might bloom. And an area that he might return to for the vacations and when he’d lastly retire from his work.

    Avacado flowering in the food forest that George Manu has created
    Avacado flowering within the meals forest, Image credit: George Manu

    A sustainable challenge deep within the hills

    Tracing again to his preliminary promise of not making a living out of farming, George determined to spend money on a meals forest.

    “There may be an abundance of money crops in and across the property, however commercialising farming was by no means my intent. As an alternative, I made a decision to plant fruit timber that may in time care for themselves and be sustainable,” he explains.

    The very 12 months that George determined to construct his dream residence was when he planted the seeds of 120 completely different species of timber. Right now, he says, the bio-diverse land is blooming with the fruits of mango, papaya and guava, together with 40 different fruits.

    Rollina is one of the fruits that flowers in the food forest at The Ledge House
    Rollina is likely one of the fruits that flowers within the meals forest at The Ledge Home, Image credit: George Manu

    “Along with this, I’ve just a few crops that I develop for residence use. These embody cardamom and 160 pepper vegetation, 250 plantains, and in a two-acre space I’ve planted cattle grass.”

    All of the farming is completed utilizing cow dung that’s procured from the 2 male cows that George has within the cow shed. 

    Lemon trees, suppota and others are abundant in the food forest
    Lemon timber, suppota and others are plentiful within the meals forest, Image credit: George Manu

    On the land, there’s a setup for aquaponics. “The water from the tank, which has 400-odd fish, circulates and is used for irrigation. This has boosted the expansion of the timber and different crops right here.”

    Ask George if he typically needs he had commercialised the enterprise by promoting the produce in close by markets and he says, “Then I’d be simply one other man on the market. I wished to be completely different.”

    Because the solar units over Peermedu and the hills are bathed in an orange glow, The Ledge Home stands perched excessive and tall, a world in itself.

    George sits again and gazes on the realisation of the dream he had 5 years in the past and says, “Life is sweet.”

    Edited by Pranita Bhat