Just one look at the Lukose Family House at Elamakkara in Kochi is all it takes to teleport you to America. The exteriors of this house named ‘Little Lantern’, which is perched in a capacious space by a pocket road, is truly a sight to behold.
The stately building was designed as a vacation home for Dr Biju Lukose and family, who are settled in the United States.
The deep front garden lends the bungalow a particularly impressive frame, and although you might be tempted to linger down here, it’s the gorgeous verandah above that really sets the scene.
The splendid colonial style home bears an eerie resemblance to Chitoor Palace. Apparently, the lady of the house wanted colonial style architecture, which has heavily borrowed from Dutch and Portuguese style, just like in the case of Chitoor Palace.
The long veranda given on both the levels is in fact a New England touch. It was architect Sebastian Jose of Thevara, Shilpi Architects, who drew the plan for ‘Little Lantern’. Interior designer Akbar Anoop designed the American style interiors just like the family wanted.
Made in USA
Though set in India, once the house was decked up with American furniture, the result was pretty much like the beautiful frames that you might come across in the glossy pages of a foreign decor magazine. The theme of the walls in the interiors is light grey and white. The little unique detailing added on the walls makes it appear a lot different from the houses seen in Kerala.
A common sight in English homes, a glass table and two chairs find a place in the foyer near to the main door. When you open the large main door in the middle, the first view is of the glass railing spiral staircase. This is the central courtyard area. A green patch here is in the form of an artificial lawn mat.
Regal looking brown leather sofas decorate the formal living room. This is a usual fixture seen in the Hollywood movies. The teapoy and the side tables are fashioned out of oak wood.
In the dining area, there is a foldable oval dining table. The snow-white chairs have printed upholstery on it. Most of the furniture in the house has been sourced from antique furniture stores in the US.
With other houses set so close by, privacy is often a luxury but certain design touches solve this issue. From the dining room, you can get out onto a small patio. A glass wall with blinds opens to this space. An artificial lawn, a small garden area and an enchanting water feature makes this place quite pleasant. A wooden bench etched with the Lukose family name is a lovely addition here.
Unlike the usual white wash basins, ‘Little Lantern’ has gone for an attractive brass finish basin and bowl with antique tap fixtures, overhead mirror and light fittings.
The colonial charm of the dining space is accentuated by the white shelves of the adjacent kitchen. The shelves have been given in two levels as per the family’s requirement. Laminated flooring that go hand in hand with the colonial style interiors can be seen across the rooms. Centralized air conditioning makes the interiors quite breezy and comfortable.
Each bedroom in this house has different tales to tell. There are three bedrooms on the ground floor. Let’s start with the light blue theme for the master bedroom. To get the exact color that he had in mind, Dr Biju himself donned the painter’s overalls and went about the job.
Box spring mattresses for a good night’s sleep find a place in every bedroom. Due to this, the beds appear very high. There are three other bedrooms on the top floor as well. Custom-made ornate boxes like those reminiscent of fairy tales with the children’s names etched form a major decor element in the kids’ bedroom. There is also a spacious consultation room and a music room with jazz, guitar, mridangam and keyboard. The bedrooms on the top floor could be used for rental purposes too.
The anti-climax no doubt lies in the attic space under the truss roof. Almost a+s spacious as the house itself, this is the quintessential party area for gatherings and celebrations. Very soon, this area would be air conditioned too. So, shall we say Little Lantern is a true-blue foreigner in every sense!