What is it with water that many take up residence by its side? Sample this home with K.A. MARTIN.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not with water. Live by the edge of lake or sea and you can never be absent from its lovely moods, fickle and fabulous as they are.

Ashok Koshy knows as much. Or he will not have left Aymenem, his village in Pala, and taken up residence on the banks of Vembanad Lake.

“If you live in Kerala, you must live by its waters,” the award-winning photographer, flautist and Kalaripayattu exponent says.

Naksatramana, his 4,000-sq.ft wood-and-tile house at Poothotta, near Kochi, has easy access to all the major waterways in Kerala. Mr. Koshy’s idea of a convenient location for his house is just that. It defies conventional wisdom, which is about easy access to conveniences, such as markets and public transport.

He loves the waters so much that the house has been built into the lake gently. The clay-tile roof and coconut-wood rafters come to view first. The exposed rafters and mouldy tiles lend charm, with waters on three sides and ducks floating in abandon.

He designed and built the house purely with the idea of being close to nature. His son, Aastik, and he do not want to miss any of its beauty, Mr. Koshy says.

“We must get back to our roots,” he explains why he decided to settle in Kerala after touring the world as a photographer and explorer. The sun-dappled house, which catches every shade of the sky as the clouds shift, makes it all self-explanatory.

Locally available materials have gone into the structure. The floor where the house faces the lagoon is laid with processed rubber wood to withstand the salty wind that sweeps into the house. Other areas have cement floor without ornamentation, the fading black colour giving the house an aged look.

Breeze in the face

Sit in the kitchen and the dining area enjoying the breeze, and a floating feeling leaves you light. From the cooking space, look straight down to the bubbly backwaters. On a rainy day, you can feel the wet air pats down your face as you move about the kitchen, which has large openings for conventional windows.

More important, the kitchen makes do without fancy flooring or equipment. The rustic table on which the stove rests, wooden spoons and ladles and bronze antiques play tricks with time.

Mr. Koshy says he has built his house in such a way that its shape can change from inside to suit his or his son’s requirements as a sound engineer. Its adaptability gives it a personality of its own, reflective of the long explorative journeys of Mr. Koshy. And as the sun comes up from the east, the house looks heavenly from the lagoon.

If you live in Kerala, you must live by its waters.


Only locally available materials are used in building.

Play of elements

Wind, water and sunlight get free passage into the house.


Easy access to waterways makes it convenient.