Space for festive cheer

Space for festive cheer

Chennai

On occasions, have you ever felt like you are being held back by something and do not have the energy to succeed in what you wish to pursue? There could be many reasons for such a feeling to exist in a home, but from the Feng Shui point of view, the primary cause could be clutter. Clutter is stagnant and confusing energy that drains you out. The area where the clutter exists in your home is said to have a negative influence and blocks the flow of events pertaining to specific areas in your life.

Most people hate to accept that they have accumulated clutter, while some avoid clearing it up because it calls for effort and time. But the real reason is that clearing clutter is an emotional process and requires a lot of emotional stamina too;

The benefits of clearing clutter, both, of the living space and mental clutter by adapting Feng Shui ensures that you don’t get burdened in the long-run;

Most often, the areas which are prone to stagnation and clutter are the main door or entrance area, kitchen and bedroom;

The entrance of your house gets most of the energy nourishment, and in Feng Shui, it is called the mouth of Chi (energy). Hence, provide a visual relief to your main entry. Discard or move any objects such as the recycle bins from full view, old, unused or broken pots, dust bins, etc;

In the kitchen, clear out the refrigerator, clean the stove and all the pots and pans. Clean out all the drawers and wipe the light fixtures clean. In Feng Shui, the state of your kitchen is the state of your health, especially the liver. So do your health a favour and clean up that kitchen;

Next look at your bedroom; clear the clutter under the bed. Thoroughly clear and clean your closets. Let go of as many items as possible that you have not used in a long time and give away to charity;

Once you have been able to identify and de-clutter your space, you can bring in a spot of freshness and a breath of life by adding lush green plants or a water feature in the east sector of your living room or entrance. Alternatively, if you cannot have plants or a water feature in your space, bring the energy of the certain Feng Shui elements with the colour green or brown or with artwork depicting either a body of water or lush greenery;

Remember, no amount of wind chimes, good Feng Shui colours, water features or Feng Shui plants will negate the depressing energy of clutter in a home. So, focus on decluttering and you will surely see positive changes soon.

SBS Surendran, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Studio apartments: Easy on pocket, low on maintenance

Studio apartments: Easy on pocket, low on maintenance

Chennai

Changing tastes and preferences have led to a demand for studio apartments over the years in many parts of the city.

In the last decades, the demography of Chennai has changed drastically. There has been a steady inflow of population into the city from different parts of the country. Many of these new generation professionals are looking forward to buying their own home within the first few years of their first job. This has led to a demand for studio apartments, which comprise all the elements of a home in a single room.

Right from low cost to low maintenance, the advantages of a studio apartment are many and are preferred by bachelors and travelling executives alike. Ravi, a city based realty expert says that these studio apartments are also being used as service apartments by the corporates. “Primarily, it catered to the needs of travelling executives posted in different cities. The professionals who have offsite assignments always tend to invest in studio apartments if they are offered by the developers, which gives them flexibility to travel during a shortterm assignment.”

Often termed as one room-kitchen apartment, these apartments have an attached bathroom and have an area range of 200 to 450 sqft. A studio apartment, also known as a studio flat or self-contained apartment, efficiency apartment or bachelor apartment, is a small apartment which combines living room, bedroom, and kitchenette into a single room. It is apt for a small family area ranging around 200 to maximum up to 450 square feet. Studio apartments are the entry level in the housing spectrum and are priced between ’25 to ’30 lakh.

Prices do play an important role; if the pricing is high then the buyer would opt for a compact two-BHK apartment instead of a studio apartment. Chennai being a conservative market, the design is slightly tweaked to accommodate a separate bedroom.

Arun Nair, a marketing representative, who moved into a studio apartment two years back maintains that price was the deciding factor. He says, “The cost played a key role and getting the best deal in the heart of the city is tough. I wanted a studio apartment as it provides you a compact space which is easy to maintain and clean. Also, studio apartments are always a good option for bachelors because of the low maintenance and cost factor.”

The demand for studio apartments is big among business executives. Ravi adds, “The demand for studio apartments has been growing consistently over the last few years and this demand is here to stay. With large companies setting up their units in Chennai and emergence of IT-space, we are looking at serious numbers required in the coming years.”

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

2019

happy-new-year-2019-360

 

Keeping your house Cool

You can adopt many ways to avoid heat transfer from the roof to your living spaces.

The flat roofs of buildings are exposed, for the maximum duration of the day, to the scorching heat of the summer sun. It is but natural that the roof gets badly heated. The rooms below them also become unbearably hot as the heat gets transferred below. How can we avoid or reduce this heat?

Here is the logic of the cause, and the remedy. Concrete is a very dense material. When concrete gets heated, it retains the heat for a very long time. This heat is radiated into the rooms at night when the surroundings are getting cool. Due to the stillness of air below the roof, the air in the room also becomes hot. The ceiling fan revolving below the roof pushes the warm air down. Needless to describe the discomfort.

The remedies are:

Avoid the roof getting heated

Insulate the roof from above

Insulate the roof from below

Avoid the heat transfer from the roof to the room

Cool the roof with some means

Extract the hot air collected below the roof

Extract the heat from the roof before it gets transferred

Shade the roof

If the sun’s heat is unbearable, we stand under a tree or open an umbrella to shade ourselves. We have also experienced that the temperature inside houses shaded by trees are very low and pleasant, in summer also. We park the car under a tree to avoid the car getting heated. Similarly, if the sunlight is heating the roof, shade it with a lightweight roof made of GI Sheet, Mangalore Tiles or canvas. The shadow prevents the roof slab from heating. The shelter can also be used for gatherings.

The roof can also be sheltered by having shading features like pergolas. Creepers can be grown over the pergolas to increase the shade.

High walls or trellises along the perimeter of the roof can also shade the roof. However, it will be a costly affair.

Plants are the best material to shade a roof. Unlike a tin roof, the plants do not get heated. They absorb heat and light. Place potted plants on the roof, shelter the roof and enjoy the vegetables they yield. Make a terrace garden.

The topmost floor of an apartment is the service floor which contains the overhead tank, pressure pumps, lift machine, electric panels, CCTV camera recorders, access monitors, fire safety equipment, water tanks etc. It does not matter if this floor gets heated. It definitely prevents the last habited floor from getting heated.

Top insulation

Terrace gardens will prevent heat absorption. The plants and grass shade the roof. The earth will insulate the roof. Wetness in the mud will certainly cool the roof. However, consult your structural engineer if the roof can carry the garden load and a landscape architect to design a maintenance-easy garden.

Traditionally, “Surkhi”, a mix of brick bat, lime, maravajra (natural adhesive) and Antvalakai (gum fruit) was used as weather proof layer to protect the roof from getting heated. It is not popular nowadays because of lack of skill and know-how. Weather proof clay panels are commonly used for insulation. Each clay panel comes with three tube-like holes.

This void helps to avoid heat transfer. Besides, clay does not absorb and retain heat too much. It is laid over the concrete roof with cement mortar.

Foam concrete panels can be used instead of clay panels mentioned above, in a similar manner. The sponge-like perforation in the lightweight concrete block prevents heat transfer to the roof slab.

A layer of 40 mm gravel (railway jelly) laid on the roof can effectively prevent the roof from getting heated. The gravel shades the roof by day. The polygonal surface of the gravel makes minimal contact with the roof. This prevents heat transfer. At night, the gravel gives out the heat to the cool air. The disadvantage of this remedy is that we cannot walk comfortably on the roof to use the terrace.

In Jodhpur, Rajasthan, roofs are painted white with lime. White lime reflects a great deal of heat that will otherwise be absorbed by the roof. However, the top will have to be painted almost every year.

Many manufacturers use the same technology and offer roof coatings that will last for many years. While some coats are white the others are silver in colour to enhance reflectance. The vendors claim 5 degree reduction of heat.

Bituminous sheets with silver coating on one side are available for top insulation of the roof. They not only reflect heat and insulate but also protect the roof from water leakage.

They are about 8 mm thick and have a silver coating on the exposed side. They are glued to the roof with bitumen liquid. Silver coating reflects the heat and the bitumen insulates.

In-built insulation

In buildings under construction, insulation can be built into the roof. Hollow clay panels and light weight foam concrete panels are available to be used as infills in the roof. Such roofs are called ‘filler slab’ roofs.

The technology has 3 benefits. The concrete consumption is decreased, the load on the structure is reduced, and the heat gain in the roof is controlled.

Source The Hindu

Side by side: Coworking spaces bring in new work culture in Chennai

Side by side: Coworking spaces bring in new work culture in Chennai

Chennai

The south has been at the forefront of the IT boom and today, south Chennai also is seeing several coworking spaces cater to a new kind of work culture that is on the rise.

Almost two decades back, south Chennai saw a new revival thanks to the mushrooming of job opportunities along the IT highway. IT parks were the new norm and hordes of citizens shifted their homes to southern parts of the city. But in the years that have passed, work cultures have undergone a drastic change and today, we are at the cusp of yet another transformation.

In the last few years, co-working spaces have become hugely popular and a preferred option among young professionals. “Buoyed by the central government’s efforts to create a viable eco-system for young entrepreneurs, India is witnessing the mushrooming of multiple start-ups and SMEs across the country. Such businesses are increasingly focusing on coworking spaces,” says Anuj Puri, a realty expert.

Chennai too has had several such spaces come up in the last few years and South Chennai has been abound with coworking spaces. Ashwin Shankar and his brother Shravan started a coworking space in Perungudi in 2014, when the culture was still nascent in the city. Today, their offices are spread across the OMR, Nungambakkam, Alwarpet, Nungambakkam, Guindy, Kilpauk and Anna Nagar.

“We started many of these office spaces close to residential areas as we realised that in our business, location is king. For people who use our premises for part-time work or for specific projects, these neighbourhoods seem to be the right choice. Also, all these offices cater to a different crowd. Our co-working space in Perungudi is largely IT-centric and the one in Nungambakkam caters more to people working in sales and business development. On the other hand, the one in Alwarpet is used for largely creative purposes,” says Ashwin, whose Perungudi and Alwarpet spaces have seen maximum footprint for his network of offices.

A year back Jinal Patel started a co-working space specifically for women in Adyar. She chose Adyar as there was a demand for such an idea in the neighbourhood and connectivity to other parts of the city was also good. “Being a residential area, there isn’t much noise around and it is well connected too. We realised that women are increasingly taking up the path of entrepreneurship (especially post maternity) and are looking for viable space options to work from. Besides, many college students also utilise this space for their work,” she says.

Anuj feels that while many players are jumping on the bandwagon and venturing into co-working space, what bears watching is how they keep pace with the increasing demand for such options from the millennials without really impacting their profit margins. “As long as they are able to sustain a sound business model and earn decent returns on their investments, coworking spaces will continue to thrive,” he says.

Arjun Narayanan, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Google gets ‘Neighbourly’, to add more cities in India including Chennai

Bengaluru, Delhi top waitlist; Chennai, Hyderabad on cards

Google has announced the national roll-out of a new app from its ‘Next Billion Users’ team called ‘Neighbourly,’ which helps people source local information from their neighbours.

With more than 1.5 million downloads and half-a-million people on the waitlist, Google is rolling out ‘Neighbourly’ starting with Bengaluru and Delhi, which topped the waitlist.

Over the next few weeks, more cities will be added every day, including Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Some other cities include Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Indore.

The ‘Neighbourly’ app has already made inroads in popular neighbourhoods in Mumbai first, followed by cities like Jaipur, Mysore, Vizag, Kochi and Coimbatore.

Ben Fohner, senior product manager on Google’s Next Billion Users team, said humans are the core part of the app as the information that users get from ‘Neighbourly’ comes from people based on their ‘experiences’ and not from a website.

Mr. Fohner said the process of creating ‘Neighbourly’ starting from research, testing, to the launch and expansion of the product was all focused on India. “But looking beyond [India] obviously this need exists everywhere and our hope is that we can take what we’ve learned from building ‘Neighbourly’ here and expand that to other countries as well. [But] it is not something we are doing immediately,” said Mr. Fohner. However, he did not share insights about how Google was planning to monetise this product.

‘From gas to jumbos’

Google said people are integrating ‘Neighbourly’ into their routines, asking just about anything from finding the source of an LPG odour to knowing “why there are elephants on the street outside?”

Each city’s distinct personality came out in the types of questions people are asking and answering. For example, Mumbai saw questions about flooded areas during the heavy rains, finding the nearest ‘Dahi Handi’ celebration and the time when a ‘vada pav’ seller comes to a particular locality.

Families and housewives in Coimbatore sought advice on shopping for festivals. Jaipur’s student community, which is active on the app, asked questions relevant to their studies such as finding information about “good accounting coaching.” Recent shifters in Mysore use ‘Neighbourly’ to help them find information about their new routines such as “getting a water purifier service,” according to the company.

The Hindu

For a home makeover – 360 Property Mgmt

For a home makeover

Teja Lele Desai gives us eleven tips for a quick and easy home re-do

If you groom and style yourself as the season turns, doesn’t your home, your haven, deserve a styling session too? We let you in on 11 décor secrets that every stylist worth his or her salt knows but won’t tell you.

#1 The statement piece

There’s no need for a multitude of things in every room. It only results in the eye going all over and finding no focus. Just one statement-making piece does the trick.

#2 Scale with height

Use artefacts and accessories of varying heights to create a sense of scale and proportion. A statuesque floor lamp, a vase with overhanging branches or a small sculpture on a table can create a new look.

#3 Get some trays

Every table or counter has things that seem to run away from you —cosmetics in the bathroom, remotes on the coffee table and odds and ends in the entryway. Keep things together by putting them all in a stylish tray.

#4 Tea towel tales

Apart from drying-up duties, a tea towel may be used for various odd jobs in the kitchen — to spread over cooked food, cover a tea tray or mop up a mess. Pick up good looking ones and use them to add style to the kitchen.

#5 Mixed throw pillows

The throw pillows on your couch should never be the same size. Mix them up when it comes to shapes, sizes and textures to add colour and depth to your sofa styling. Odd numbers tend to look better than even.

#6 The Rule of 3

There’s a reason why the third rule is the adhered to by designers across the world. When things come in threes — be it photo frames, candles or nesting tables — they tend to look better as a group.

#7 Kitchen counter

Sure you scrub and keep it as clean as you can. But we’re referring to keeping the counter top free. So tuck away as many appliances as you can into the cabinets or wall-mount them. A cleaner counter top gives you the illusion or an airy kitchen.

#8 Put out white towels

They may be a pain to keep clean — yes, we feel it too — but there’s nothing like fresh and fluffy white towels to inject a spa-like feel into your bathroom. But make sure you keep these white babies white.

#9 Not too many

Instead of a riot of colours that seems to take you all over the place, do as the stylists do: Select a monochromatic scheme and add pops of colour. This gives you a cleaner look, one that can be changed more often.

#10 Add little touches

Simple additions and touches can add more style than big-ticket pieces. A fresh flower in a group of vases, a pretty plant in a brass planter, a comfortable throw placed on the back of the couch — small touches can elevate your styling.

#11 Less is more

When in doubt, remember that less is always more. If you can’t think of what to do to make your room look better, consider paring it down.

Move to make ‘pattas’ mandatory for property registrations in Tamil Nadu

In a bid to avert scams and make property registrations more secure, the state government is considering making ‘pattas’ mandatory for transactions. At present, properties can be registered in Tamil Nadu by furnishing either the parent document of the land or the ‘patta’.

The parent document is the registration deed by which the previous owner acquired the property, ‘patta’ is a revenue document detailing all the previous owners dating back to a specified date.

According to revenue department sources, the move would provide a double layer of protection during property sale.

“When ‘patta’ is made compulsory there would be engagement of two departments (registration and revenue), enhancing the security cover for property registrations,” a senior revenue department official told TOI.

The revenue department is sending study teams to other states, including Karnataka, that have introduced the system.

“If we decide to launch, it will be on a pilot basis (in selected places) to look at how it works,” the official said. A certifying surveyor would be nominated for scrutiny of land ‘pattas’ ahead of registration of properties, sources added.

Move to make ❝pattas❝ mandatory for property registrations in Tamil Nadu

The number of land documents jumped by 20,000 over 2016-17.

Registration department sources said they were yet to get a formal communication from the revenue department regarding the proposal. “But, it is good development that would benefit the buyers at large,” a registration official added.

However, a few said mandating use of ‘pattas’ would be a challenge in view of the prevalence of forgeries. An official cited instances of ‘poromboku’ land being sold by forging ‘pattas’.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai