A quiet spot at home

A quiet spot at home


A quiet spot at home

Cliched as it may sound; everyone will have to agree that there is no place like home. And in every home, there is that one nook or corner that remains special. You may retreat to your bedroom, the corner of your kitchen or even your balcony for that tiny bit of peace and quiet.

It may also end up being the space where you get some work done or choose to lose yourself for a little while. For many, places like the kitchen, bedroom and sometimes even the bathrooms are equivalent to riot zones and so one turns to the oft neglected balcony.

The balcony is quite often the most ignored spot in a home compared to other sections. Of course that in no way undermines its importance when one builds a house or is searching for one to take on rent.

Says Srinivas, a real estate agent, “When people come to me searching for apartments or even an individual home, one of the main demands is that of a balcony being present. That too, a balcony has to be along with the master bedroom and if possible adjoining the main hall”. 

Another reason why people often ask for balconies, says Bhaskar another real estate agent is that it gives the house an extended area space and makes the house look bigger. And in any given space in house will be well utilised. 

The multi-faceted balcony

A balcony can serve as an ideal chatting spot, especially if it overlooks the neighbours’ home, but more practically speaking, a balcony can have several uses.
Take Carol and Colin who own a penthouse in Shanthinagar overlooking the hockey stadium.

Their balcony runs along the length of the house. By this, one means to say that their hall opens out into the balcony and you can walk right around the house passing by their kitchen, children’s bedroom and ending at the master bedroom.
Each segment of the balcony has been used in a different way. Carol explains saying that the glass doors leading into the balcony from the hall open into a bonsai garden. For the kitchen part of the balcony, we store our washing machine (which has a water outlet that leads back into the house) and a huge garbage can, saving a lot of space in the house. The children’s room has a washing line on the outside as well as a small swing for them to relax on. We have enclosed the portion outside the master bedroom with toughened glass and made it a small computer room where my husband does all his work.

Balcony becomes lounge

Another example of balcony usage would be the home of Edwin and Jane Dsouza. They own a two floor villa with two bedrooms on the first floor. While the master bedroom had a decent sized balcony that served as a sit-out and a miniature garden, the second bedroom’s balcony turned out to be almost as big as a room.
Moreover, the balcony opened out right under a tamarind tree that constantly shed leaves leaving a mess in its wake. 

Edwin decided to convert the balcony to a unique kind of a lounge area. He had it totally enclosed with glass sliding windows.

Now come rain or sunshine, the family hosts their parties there, the children’s sleepovers and so much more. Ventilation is not a problem as the windows can be slid open and closed at any time.

Says Sudhakar Prabhu, an interior designer, “A balcony can made attached to the ground floor. Your parapet (railing along the side) in that case would be smaller.
Closer to three feet, since that is all you would require. As you go higher, the height of the railing should increase right up to 1200mm or four ft. Here you need to have a more solid parapet like that made of concrete.

Adding character

To give your balcony more character, steel and iron can be used. As you go higher up, your balconies can get more open and transparent. In fact, you can even use fibre glass or toughened glass on the mid-part of the railings.

Flooring on a balcony generally should be an anti-skid material like terracotta, vitrified tiles, cobblestones etc. Another tip; it would be advisable to have a planter box as an extension to your parapet. Not only does it make your balcony look pretty, if you happen to drop something over the railway, at least it won’t go crashing down.

For a big balcony, one on which you plan to entertain or even have a small sit-out, plan a sun-roof or a canopy to block out the sun or rain.” 

Seema R, an architect also advises that for the door leading to balcony, always have a four to six inch threshold. This prevents water or dirt from entering your homes.

Also if you have glass doors leading to the balcony, make sure you have another mesh door on the inside or at least a wooden frame to the glass door so that it can be locked securely from within.  Keeping the balcony child-safe is also an important aspect. Here are some ways in which you could do that:

*If the openings between the railings are broad, add additional spindles to narrow them down.

*If your balcony has an external door which leads downstairs, put in a child safety lock

*Keep all your balcony furniture away from the railings to make sure that the little ones don’t climb over.

*Besides this, here are some points you may want to keep in mind to prevent leaking or rotting of parts of your balcony

*Always ensure there is a step-down from your door threshold.

*Always make sure that the balcony floor has a slight inclination as well a water outlet built into an extreme corner. No water-logging hassles.

*There should be a fair-sized gap between the balcony and the wall claddings.

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