Where do top builders live? Not surprisingly, in houses located in prime areas and built to the highest standards. There ends the predictable. To know the rest, you need to step into their houses. A builder's home reflects his unique vision of what makes an ideal living space.

T. Chitty Babu (Chairman and Managing Director, Akshaya Homes)

Eight years ago, Chitty Babu ‘booked' a flat in White House, his own project in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar – because he believes apartment living helps create social bonds. “The apartment complex represents a social unit,” says Chitty. As we enter his flat, distinguished by three wooden dolls at the doorstep, a neighbour greets him with a warm smile.

Together with the Kerala woodwork at the entrance, these dolls betray Chitty's fascination for wood.

As expected, wood is the primary design driver within the 2,500 sq.ft. flat. The flooring is all wooden, but without being monotonous. The texture and design change from section to section.

The floor in the dining area is made of wood carved from different trees and seamlessly united. The ceiling is modern and is studded with woodwork. Chitty's love for intricate Kerala wooden carving is nowhere as evident as in the puja room. Glass has also been prudently employed to enhance the charm of this modern, upscale and well-appointed apartment.

It is a smart home that is totally wired. There are sensors to warn of dangers, from gas leaks to intruders. The design of the breakfast counter shows how much Chitty Babu values time with the family.

It makes possible comfortable conservations over food. The Korean countertop, with its smooth curves and lack of unseemly joints, adds to the appeal of the meticulously planned kitchen and dining area.

This third-floor flat opens onto a sit-out overlooking profuse greenery. The sylvan surroundings and the sculpted image of a renaissance lady emerging out of a single-piece of marble in the sit-out bay provide the setting for a quiet evening.

Sandeep Mehta (Managing Director, Jain Housing)

While designing his 5,000 sq.ft., first-floor house in the Boat Club area, Sandeep Mehta had two goals in mind. His family had to find it ultra-comfortable and his friends, the right place to party. Therefore, when the KGEYES project was at the structural stage, Sandeep took over the design of his portion.

The door opens to welcome visitors to a huge formal hall with travertine stone cladding on two of its walls. This formal hall separates the two sections of the house, one of which — consisting of a spacious hall and three bedrooms with attached bathrooms — is strictly for the family.

The other has a lounge, a guest bedroom with attached bathroom, a home theatre, a terrace garden (with an imported artificial grass that feels like real grass), communal dining area and a family dining hall attached to the kitchen and service bay.

Two sliding, sensor-driven toughened glass doors, one for each section, ensure that the family is not disturbed when a party is on.

Glass is the major component of design here. All the glass windows open to greenery. Sandeep has avoided installing grilles because the glass windows are hard to the extent that even hammers can't break them. “When someone tries to do that, sensors will send a message to my mobile.” The house is secured by Schneider home automation. The entire electrification of the house can be monitored on a touch screen placed on a wall in the formal hall. Sandeep can also switch off lights around the house with his mobile.

Except for the bedrooms, cameras connected to the Internet are fitted all over and Sandeep can watch over his house from anywhere.

Sandeep has designed the entertainment zone with great attention to detail. His home theatre is acoustically treated. One side has two double-glazed windows, with blackout and glazed curtains.

The rest have acoustic panels. Access to the theatre is controlled by a thick, sliding wooden door, yet another feature aimed at acoustic efficiency. No wonder the calling bell in this house is always ringing.

Pratish Devadoss (Managing Director, VGN Developers)

His father's house in Anna Nagar is enviably pretty, but Pratish stays in a rented house in Poes Garden.

“I will be here until I find space in the Boat Club area to build my own,” says the 28-year-old builder, for whom location matters. Vastu-compliance, good finish, ventilation, light and quiet are the other essentials. In 2009, when he got married and was looking for a house for his new family, he was extremely choosy.

He rejected 15 of them before settling on this 3,000 sq.ft first-floor house.

“It combines taste with functionality,” says Pratish. The white paint makes the house look bright. Huge glass windows and the broad doors opening into the balcony allow sunlight and keep the main hall well-illuminated. “Research shows darker rooms induce depression.” Besides the three bathrooms that are attached to bedrooms, there is an independent one that visitors could use.

An extra room in the house has become daughter Mukthaa's play area. Next to the dining area, Pratish has set up a mini gymnasium. Advantage: after a gruelling workout, a peppy bite is just a couple of steps away.

With its neat finish, the house is appealing to the eye. Another factor that makes Pratish happy is the unusual quiet fostered by the area. It provides a welcome contrast to the noise and the bustle of construction sites that Pratish can't avoid during the day.