You would be aware of the saying, “Time spent on Reconnaissance is never wasted”. To arrive at the final design for your house / any other building, one MUST go through guidelines to make a house or do a detailed research on the type of Home or Space you are planning. Whether it is Residence, office or commercial space, the most important Factor is :

Location, Location & Location

When we say location, it varies with the purpose. I would love to have an office in the Connaught Place; but residence, maybe not. Residence should always be at a place where you can get peace of mind, once you are back from work. Even if that entails 15 minutes of extra commute. Similarly, for office too, location is equally important. Nehru Place may be good for IT peripherals, but surely not for Furniture.

Preparatory Work. The search should be two prone-

Internet search. There are numerous sites which give us ideas w.r.t. the building, its various spaces, furniture & furnishing. Printerest is one such site.

Physical search on ground. Keep your mental faculty and eyes programmed to register exteriors and interiors which you like. Keep in mind, the utility & location –viz, office, home, hotel etc, all have different requirements and hence are designed differently.

Obvious outcome of the above should be – Collection & Collation of information, so as to derive valuable inputs / intelligence from the same. Record whatever you find suitable and use them during your interaction with the Architect & Interior Designer.

Detailing Your Requirements

As was elucidated in the previous part, you would have decided on what would be the basic components of your house, viz, Basement, Stilt for Parking, No of bedrooms, dressers, No of toilets, Powder Room, Drawing- Dining- Living room,  Verandahs, Open Area, Balconies, Store / Pooja room and so on. It is advisable to use Vastu Tips while planning the building.

Guidelines to Make a House: Why Vastu

What is Vastu Shastra? It is the “Science of Architecture.” Vastu describes the principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement and spatial geometry of buildings. It is purely scientific and has nothing to do with Religion, faith etc. Most part of non mountainous India have more prolonged summers, ranging from 7-8 months in North to almost 12 months down south. In India, throughout the year, the sun moves from SE to SW direction, as we are in the Northern Hemisphere. Hence, the southern direction is considered more suitable for Master Bedroom, Kitchen, open area to dry clothes etc. Similarly, Northern Area gets less heated up, and hence a visitor while waiting for you after ringing the Bell can get some shade. Also, Prayer / Puja area is to NE so as to have a comfortable weather.

However, please do NOT spoil the looks and comfort just because of Vastu. Vastu is an ingredient to help and NOT to hinder your design.

Financial Planning

The start point is the BUDGET. Like in any other expense, here to, there will be a tendency of Cost overrun. Hence, if you have a budget of 1 Cr, start working at 20% less as your planned Expenditure. Based on the budget, one needs to decide the Location & Plot size.

Plot Selection

Dilemma of Cost vs Location & Size. The starting point of construction is the Plot selection & purchase. It’s common experience that one always likes something which is beyond my planned budget. A 200 yd plot in suburb may be cheaper than a 100 yd plot in the city. Take a call, based on your & your spouse’s office, children education, parents / in laws residence and numerous other factors.

Remember, the house you will make will be mainly used by you. All your relatives would visit you very rarely. However, your friend circle does matter. The overriding factor should be your and your Spouse’s as also your children’s requirements. If these are well taken care of, others are secondary. Even with your Best friend, you don’t call on every third day. You have to go to office / school 5-6 days a week. Even your pets (if any), should be a factor while deciding the residence.

Connectivity. I prefer my office to be close to the main highway, as it helps my clients to visit us easily. Same ain’t true for home. It is better that your house is, a few hundred meters away from the main Highway. Honking and heavy traffic are not enjoyable after all.

Size. It’s a saying- “In a 3000 sq ft house, you live in a 200 sq ft and in the balance, lives your EGO”. Depending on the No of persons likely to inhabit in the house, one could take a decision of the size. Maintaining a big house is costly and time consuming. Housekeeping personnel and Maids are getting costlier and rarer. Apart from the common spaces like Drawing room, kitchen, etc, one should 1 to 2 rooms more than the No of rooms likely to be occupied by permanent residents. If it is a couple only, at the max you should go for a 3 BHK. Beyond that would be more for your Ego and for gossiping in Kitty Parties- you know, the Delhi Show off club?

Dimension & Alignment. An ideal plot should be rectangular, with 90 Degree corners. If you get a cheaper plot in non regular shape, work out the area available on carving out the largest rectangle. The price of that rectangle is the amount you should consider in the deal. A wider frontage gives better options to the architect and vice-versa. Normally, a ratio of  1:1.5:: Width: Length is suitable. Max stretch could be 1:2. However, the frontage of small plots like 50/100 yds should not be less than about 15 ft, or else, your house would give a feel of a Railway Compartment.

Cost. Depending on the location, plot cost may form a formidable part of the cost of your house. The cost of construction varies from say Rs 2000/ for a decent house to Rs 4000 / 5000/- per sft for a very high end construction and interiors. Plan accordingly. How to arrive at the right price? You would have often experienced, when you want to sell a thing, market would be in doldrums and you would be offered rock bottom price. Similarly, when you go to buy, you find that that’s the last piece available and the prices are likely to go up further. Simple way is, if you want to buy, ask the Brokers / check on the Net rates for selling. Once you get both the rates, ie, seller’s & buyer’s, average it out and that would be the near correct price. Again, location would matter and 2 adjoining plots’ rates could vary a lot, in case on is a Corner plot.

Hope you have gone through guidelines to make a house. To prevent boredom setting in, would call it a day here.

How to select the Architect, layout, material to be used, earmarking areas for not so often thought of chores like washing area, etc, would be discussed in the Parts to come ahead. We would also cover specifics of Bedroom, Kitchen, Dresser, Living Area, Drawing Room, Dining area, Toilet, Verandah and more, in days to come.

For now, You can go through Part I to know more.

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