Continuing with our series where we are reaching out to those who are in the process of building their Holiday Home, I felt another article was needed on the things to keep in mind when designing the floor plan or layout of the home.
Firstly I assume that the reason you are reading this blog is that you are not just interested in a holiday home which is a white elephant or an indulgence. You are a smart person and are interested in building a property that will appreciate and will start generating money for at least its upkeep and if possible in later stages for you to get a steady income stream. If so, here are some things I would like to recommend keeping in mind:-
1. FSI: Before you start, find out about FSI or Floor Space Index. This is the ratio of the built-up area to the total plot size. An FSI of 1 means you can construct 10000 sq. feet of built up area if your plot is of 10,000sq. feet. It is at your discretion to construct a single floor of 10,000 sq. feet or else 2 floors of 5000 sq. feet and leave the remaining area for a nice lawn. FSI varies by district and zone and so before you decide to plan out your floor plan it is important for you to know the maximum built up area of the property.
2. Holiday Home Floor Plan to differ from City Home Floor Plans – Abandon city living thoughts and floor plans. While it is good to take inspiration from the floor plans of an Oberoi, DLF, Lokhandwala, Prestige etc. remember that they cater to a single family living in an apartment. You are not building just a place for your own family to live but a place that you can generate money from by renting it out to other holiday makers.
3. Equal size bedrooms and attached bathrooms: Ensure that all bedrooms are equally sized and have attached bathrooms. This is very important. You will come across many instances where multiple couples are traveling together and you don’t want to have to charge different rates from different people or else for them to have to decide who gets to keep the bigger room.
4. Main Area of house and Rear Area: Ensure you have segregated the house in your mind into a living area and a ‘back of the house’ area – This is where I would put the following things – quarters big enough for a caretaker to live, adequate kitchen space for him to cook for himself as well as guests (food is the most important part of holidays in India) and ample storage for all the linen, cutlery, vegetables, provisions etc.
5. Kitchenette in Main Area: As your primary kitchen is in the back of the house, you can cut down the size of the kitchen within the main house. My recommendation is to keep just a kitchenette and if required merge it with a dining area. It should be adequate for a small fridge, toaster, coffee machine, kettle and for the food to be laid out for the guests.
6. Outdoor Seating: Think about how you can cut down the size of your living room and utilize your topography to blend it with your lawn and with outdoor seating. This way you are not utilizing your FSI while at the same time giving city folk the pleasure of outdoor seating which is something rare and beautiful.
7. Plan your Swimming Pool: If you intend to have a swimming pool, then ensure that you have planned it out well from both the privacy, cleanliness and the overall greenery and landscaping surrounding the pool. I have seen an interesting trend of pools on the terrace (the slab needs to be laid keeping this in mind so it can take the weight) – this makes it quite private and protects a portion from the hot sun.
8. Space for Driveway: If you have a large property, strike a balance between building the home away from the main road and the amount of space you will lose by building a long driveway. Remember, it is ideal to keep amenities like the pool, lawn, vegetable patch etc. at the back yard and so if you keep a very long driveway, you are reducing the back yard space.
9. Budget for hard-scaping (paving) and landscaping: These two things really add to the beauty of the property and if done well, are very cheap. It is surprising how few people pay attention to these areas.
10. Bathrooms: There is no need for a common hand wash area or a powder room as each bedroom has its own attached bathroom. Within the bathroom, do not put the shower in between the Toilet and the Wash basin. Doing this will mean you will not be able to segregate the wet area and the dry area and will mean that the toilets are always dirty and will require frequent cleaning.
11. Staircases: When building multiple story houses, keep the stairs friendly and not very steep. Remember, the guests will not be used to them and you don’t want anyone to fall and injure themselves on the holiday.
12. Reduce fragile elements: Reduce the use of Glass shelves and anything that can be easily broken by kids or boisterous crowds.
13. Terrace and rooftop: Plan your water tank and terrace area carefully so that you can use it as a rooftop sitting area and guests can enjoy their drink or else do a Bar B Q there. Surprisingly, I have seen multiple terraces which are beautiful but where utility pipes, slabs and unnecessary walls have made the space unusable.
14. Retain plot’s natural setting: Plan the floor plan keeping in mind the topography, weather and setting of the plot. If you have a plot that is uniquely shaped or has natural ups and downs, borders a river, use the same to your benefit. Ensure that the front of the house has the best views.
All the best and do share your own tips if you feel I have missed something.