Bangalore’s Greenest Homes: made lovingly by hand

From the rustic earthy flooring and stone sculptures to sunlit skylights and green, artist Sandhya’s home combines fine design aesthetic with smart resource saving.

You know you have entered the home of someone who crafts with her hand when everything – from the rustic earthy flooring and furniture to the stone sculptures – evoke a sense of familiar native warmth combined with a fine sense of design aesthetic.

“I wanted to give a traditional and rustic touch to the house. I wanted it to have this feeling of calm and serenity,” says Sandhya Subbaramaiah. A terracotta artist by profession, she constructed this house nine years back and has been falling in love with it everyday and it isn’t hard to imagine why.

From handmade tiles to recycled wood, Sandhya Subbramaiah has made sure her house is “green”

Grounded in natural material

“The idea was to save energy, not only terms of electricity but also in general like labour, transport, etc.,” she says.

The 2800 square feet house which is built in a 50×80 site makes sure that it is not only sustainable but also looks good. Use of unpolished Chapadi stones to cover the walls, handmade Aathangudi tiles from Chettinad for the floor, Terracota filler blocks, skylights and angular architecture for better ventilation are some of the features of the house which not only add to its rustic and traditional look but also make the house “eco-friendly.” The outside walls of the house are left unplastered. The roof is porous and well insulated both in summers and winters. 

The house has signs of saving materials everywhere – recycled wood for the staircases, steel rods for windows, cane furniture for seating and bamboo slats in place of curtains, all adding to the ethnic look of the house.

“We are trying to achieve a traditional look along with saving on plastic and concrete. We have sourced everything locally to reduce the cost of transportation,” says Subbaramaiah.

For an eco-friendly lifestyle

Subbaramaiah who lives with her mother uses solar power for water heating. They segregate their waste into dry and wet, with dry waste being disposed off to BBMP every Friday and wet waste used to prepare compost at home. From food to soaps, the family tries to use organic as much as possible.

“We use CFLs. Our house is well ventilated, so we don’t use fans or ACs and our BESCOM bill is very less,” she says. The rat-trap design also helps to keep the house cool.

The house that took a year and a half to finish cost them around Rs. 70,000 to 80,000  per square feet when it was built. “At that time, the only problem we faced was sourcing tiles and getting skilled labour. We also had a tough time figuring out angles in the house for the most optimal design,” Subbaramaiah says.

Being a student of arts, Subbramaiah blends craft, art and traditions perfectly into the house. “I wanted to give work to local artisans, and that’s why we have not included any machine based or mass produced item in the house. Everything you see is handmade,” she says.

The house has a substantial green expanse which is completely covered by low maintenance plants.  “If given a chance to change anything, I would like to have more green space in my house,” she says. “I feel serene, there is nothing that hurts your house, nothing is too shiny and fancy.”

Green to me

Green to me means living a non-toxic lifestyle, both tangible and intangible. Right from the things we use to the thoughts we have and actions we take. We should inculcate the sustainable lifestyle in our daily routine so we don’t have to make an extra effort to go green.

Sandhya Subbaramaiah’s house is located at 3rd cross, phase 4, Dollor Colony, JP Nagar

Contact Sandhya at-

Bangalore’s greenest homes is a series on beautiful homes that have been built on strong sustainability principles – from natural building materials to efficient light and space design, water harvesting, off-the-grid energy energy, eco-friendly decor and furniture. And a lifestyle for the residents where less has meant a lot more. 

This series on Bangalore’s greenest homes has been done with the support of ZED Habitats – the largest green  residential developer in India today, and a leader in pioneering building technologies and management systems



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Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more


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Shreya Pareek is a development journalist who is passionate about grassroot change and sustainable living. Follow her on twitter @shreya08 more

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