So, what's your plan?

So, what's your plan?

With rising cost of construction, a home owner should pay more attention to detail and ensure that every space in the house is planned at the design and construction stages, writes D B N Murthy.

Urban space is shrinking and housing site sizes have started to become smaller and smaller. For example, a small 30x40-ft site is sometimes divided into two equal sites.

That means the building could go up vertically only. In such cases, there is a need to optimise interior space for a reasonably good living space. That is true for any construction activity where there is need to optimise living space, which could be productively utilised by the householder.

There are interior decorators who could advise a prospective house owner even at the design stage about how an interior space could be optimised, with various fittings and fixtures in mind. That could turn into a harmonious blend of architecture and interior design that helps the householder to maximise his/her investment in a building.

The concept that space should be utilised optimally is not new. However, with rising costs of construction, a house owner has to pay more attention in order that investment is cost-effective and serves the needs of the family better. Each and every facility in any room has to be well thought of, so as to make use of the space better.

A place for everything

The kitchen is a place where a person spends at least a few hours each day. That person needs uncluttered space to move about and cook without any hindrance. The position of the kitchen worktable, the place for the gas/electric stove, exhaust chimney, cupboards for keeping materials and cutlery and plates, need to be well thought of.

The kitchen worktable should be appropriately placed to have easy access. It should also be ergonomic. Easy access to cupboards where daily provisions and items for use are kept is a matter of importance. The refrigerator and microwave oven have to be located within easy reach and one should be able to operate them safely with access to switches.

Grinders and blenders should be accessible, either outside or placed inside a cupboard. Even the position of the garbage bin, mostly under the sink, should have easy access for depositing waste as well as for removal and cleaning. That applies to the position of the sink and the drain board.

Each and every item in the kitchen needs to be given importance and its location planned at the earliest stages of design and construction so that the life of the person who spends long hours in the kitchen is a pleasant experience. That means the position of kitchen platform, cutting board, built-in dining platform, position of electrical sockets and switches, exhaust, location of LPG cylinder and other items should be given serious consideration.

Do your homework

Much could be done to utilise the available space better by early planning, discussion with interior decorators, visiting other well-designed homes and speaking to people in the know. Bedrooms should be designed not to clutter the space but should have adequate facility to store items neatly in cupboards. The dressing table should be placed so that one could reach it without crossing over a hurdle.

Cots with space to store blankets and sheets would be welcome where space is a premium. Lofts should be at a convenient height. Gadgets like TV, DVD, and speakers could be placed on stands fixed to the wall to save space for movement. Detailed planning is needed for utilisation of space in a sitting room, toilet and the balcony. Safety should be given top priority in the choice of floor tiles in the bathroom. A thought should be given to the location of gadgets like washing machines.

A person who does his/her homework, studies other homes, and interacts with experts is far ahead of anyone who does not plan his/her home in advance. The latter could mean trial-and-error that could prove costly and inconvenient. A smaller space would require items that serve many purposes.

For example, a foldable sofa could double up as a bed when needed. A worktable of the collapsible type could be used as a dining table but stored elsewhere when not in use. Innovative ideas are needed to utilise the available space intelligently and usefully.

Energy-efficient equipment, natural lighting, ventilation, and use of eco-friendly materials and practices should be adopted to save energy and make the home a ‘green’ home that leaves lesser eco-footprint. Innovation is the mantra that eventually pays rich dividends while building a house and living in it.

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