Space it out – for space crunch

Intelligent planning, while building, renovation and even while making cosmetic changes to one’s home, is the best way to deal with a space crunch.

When it comes to real estate, space is a luxury. And one that not everybody can afford. Small apartments, although quite popular among buyers as well as builders, seem to be grappling with the issue of space.

Smaller apartments definitely have plenty of takers. Whether it is the increase in the floating population of Chennai, or the space crunch that is the bane of every big city; whether you picked a small house because it is your first real estate investment or simply because a small apartment fits your requirements, the bottom line is that a little more space is always welcome.

According to Vijay Rajan, an architect, making the most of the space available to all comes down to intelligent planning. Even the smallest of houses can be more spacious than they look, if planned intelligently. “Small homes are mostly part of apartment buildings where the home owner does not have much say in the basic frame of the house. But that should not deter one from making the best of the space available to them,” he says. For small houses, functionality of space is paramount and hence special attention needs to be given to various aspects of building to ensure this. Even when the overall area is not as much as one would like, there are quite a few ways the space crunch can be addressed at the time of construction itself. “For smaller houses, one needs to ensure that the flow of the house is compact and efficient. There can be absolutely no unutilised spaces in the house. One way to do this is to give functionality to all the odd spaces in the house. Also, thinner walls inside the house can add a precious few inches to the overall area,” he adds. The basic layout, the design, the reusability of space, use of lighter colours and maximising natural light, are some of the basic things to keep in mind.

Although the best way to go about increasing space efficiency is to work with the idea right from the planning stage, it might not always be possible. Today, the real estate sector is giving abundant thought to space efficiency. However, residential units constructed in the past continue to struggle with the minimal space they started out with. “In most existing homes, renovating can increase usable space to a great extent. Simple things like breaking down half the wall between the kitchen and dining area not only increases the open area but also brings into play an extra platform that can provide functional usage to both the segments,” says Nivetha B, principal architect. For a long time, the idea of renovating consisted mostly of covering up the balcony space so that it became part of the room, thereby increasing internal space. Although this does make sense, there are better ways to do it. “When you decide to cover up a balcony or verandah, you are reducing the outdoor space of the house which in turn actually reduces the feeling of space rather than increasing it. What one could do instead, is to take in the balcony but instead of c overing it up completely, install wall-to-wall windows. This ensures enough natural light and exposure to the outdoors in such a way that you don’t feel boxed in,” she adds.

Use of multi-purpose furniture is also a sure shot way to make your home accommodate more than it could. “Dual usage is a great idea for smaller homes since any space can be tweaked according to personal needs and requirements. There is a lot of variety in terms of space-saving furniture that is available these days. Intelligent use of such furniture can help the hall double up as a second bedroom and the bedroom could be used as a study or office during the day, increasing usable space,” says Arun Nagappan S, a senior designer.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Feng Shui prosperity vibes

Feng Shui prosperity vibes

Chennai

Prosperity and abundance circulate through the universe and through all our lives. It is a never-ending flow of giving and receiving. Many associate prosperity with financial wealth but true riches are of many kinds. Along with material wealth, there is also love, friendship, family, health, knowledge and spirituality, which are essential in our lives.

Harmonising our inner self and immediate surroundings can open the channels to achieve greater prosperity and abundance in our lives.

It’s no surprise that we would most often be faced with bad energy due to our immediate surrounding and environment around our building. These may give rise to ill-fortune in the form of bad relationships, loss of wealth, legal entanglement or illness.

When Feng Shui principles based on accurate compass readings and a variety of specific calculations are applied, they can indeed activate your ‘human’ and ‘earth luck’ and help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Feng Shui teaches us that our surroundings affect us and that we, in turn, are reflections of our surroundings.

Oriental texts say that abundance has a particular vibration, a signature energy field; hence, when the building resonates in harmony, it leads to both, more flow and energy between occupants and their desires.

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

GST relief for low-cost homes, First-time buyers

GST relief for low-cost homes, 1st-time buyers

 Now, a first-house buyer with a household income of up to Rs 18 lakh per annum can avail a benefit of up to Rs 2.7 lakh.
  • The tax benefit will also be extended to an affordable housing project, which has been given infrastructure status.

NEW DELHI: The GST rate has been reduced to 8% from the existing 12% on purchase of houses availing of the credit-linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, and of those houses that are constructed in a project that has got infrastructure status.
Under the CLSS scheme, a first-house buyer with a household income of up to Rs 18 lakh per annum can avail a benefit of up to Rs 2.7 lakh while buying a house or apartment of up to 150 square metres (1,615 sq ft) carpet area.

Those who do not qualify for credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) will continue to pay GST at 12% for the same house. The tax benefit will also be extended to an affordable housing project, which has been given infrastructure status, in case the maximum unit size in the project is a carpet area of 646sq ft. The first-house condition on the buyer will not be applied in this case. Whether or not the buyer gets the CLSS benefit under PM Awas Yojna, GST will be levied at 8%.

“The decision will give a push to the real estatesector, particularly affordable housing, as prices will fall by up to 4%,” said Getamber Anand, chairman of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai).

The cap on the size of housing unit to avail of the benefit under CLSS has been kept at 1,615sqft carpet area, which is equivalent to around 2,200sq ft built-up area. This would cover most three-bedroom apartments and houses in the country and particularly in metro cities, said Anand. The Rs 18 lakh cap on household income is also sufficiently large to cover most first-time house buyers. But those buying their second house, or more, would not be able to avail this benefit. NAREDCO vicechairman Parveen Jain said the decision would prove a boon for the masses and fuel rapid growth and development of the real estate sector, furthering the cause of ‘housing for all by 2022’. Developers pay GST on inputs used for the construction of a project. Under GST, taxes paid on the inputs are taken back as credit from the GST paid by the buyer. Input taxes on construction amount to around Rs 400 to Rs 500 per sq ft.

New projects across budgets coming up in Egmore

Chennai

One of the older localities of Chennai, with a glorious past, Egmore is seeing many new projects across categories.

Who doesn’t want to a buy home of their own especially when you are a first time home buyer?

Vijayaragavan Shantharam from Chennai approached the Magicbricks real estate Forum asking, “I have been living in Dubai from the past three years and now I intend to come back to my mother land. Being born and brought up in Egmore, Chennai, I would definitely like to invest here preferably in a 3BHK apartment. Though my father has a 2BHK apartment in the same locality and I have no plans to shift to Chennai anytime soon, I would want to buy a home of my own. Please suggest if Egmore is a worth-investing locality? Help me understand more about the locality in terms of returns on investment and advantages of investing here.”

Why is it profitable to invest in Egmore?

There are a host of reasons to invest in the locality. Some of them are: Egmore, in Chennai, is not only a fully developed residential area but a commercial and retail hub too The Egmore Railway Station connects the locality to other parts of the city.

Several residential and commercial areas such as Chintadripet, Nungambakkam, Purasawalkam, Anna Salai and Chetput surround the locality. The National Highway 114 passes through the locality and ensures its connectivity to other areas. The state-run Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses frequently pass through the locality and connect it within and with other parts of the city via road.

The locality also has a suburban train station on the Chennai Beach Tambaram railway line The Chennai International Airport is situated within 20 km distance and can be reached via the Trichy-Chennai High way and the Chennai-Nagapattinam Highway Trichy-Chennai Highway.

Mahant Rajan, an existing resident of the locality says, “Egmore is centrally located and has proximity to all commercial and retail establishments. The other advantage of the locality is its social infrastructure such as schools, banks, restaurants, markets, vegetable shops, grocery stores and other day-to-day requirements.”

According to Magicbricks, the locality has been rated as 4.7 out of 5 on the basis of buyer’s feedback for offering good environment to live, decent commuting facilities and the social and physical infrastructure.

The locality offers varied types of residential housing such as flats, plots, villas, builder floors and residential houses.

According to Magicbricks data, there are over 60 housing options to choose from. This does not include the upcoming projects. Let’s find the details of residences present in the locality.

Considering factors like availability of varied housing types, proximity to commercial and retail establishments and the affordable budget range, it is safe to say that Egmore is worth investing in.

Pushpa Rawat, Times Property, Magicbricks Bureau/Chennai

Home decor is not just plain old furniture and drab old wall.

 

Home decor is not just plain old furniture and drab old wall. There is so much that can be done, if only there is a change in perspective.

Customization is no longer the prerogative of a select few. It has become the mantra young adults live by. And this seems to have permeated into every aspect of life. Customisation dictates their taste in everything from what they wear to where they go, even where they live and the interiors of that space.

Adding a quirky touch to things makes it easy to bring out one’s personal style while allowing one to experiment with a variety of materials and styles; be it with wall hangings, cushions or even rugs. It breaks the monotony from the usual and plain patterns, adds spice, fun and life to the entire space. “A lot of clients come looking for interesting items with a twist to add a fun element to their homes. Quirky has almost become a fashion statement today and for most curios and décor items, the hype seems to be more around how high the quirk factor is, rather than understand the concept of the piece,” says Darsha, owner, Glamorama Furnishing Studio, a Chennai based design firm that specializes in customised designer soft furnishing solutions.

What makes this concept even more exciting and easy to adapt is the fact that, when it comes to quirky designs, there is no formula or guideline that needs to be followed, nor does it have a set module like classic design concepts. Being almost a reflection of one’s personal self, quirky interiors can call for all sorts of experimentations.

“We recently did an entire space with a fascinating colour scheme of emerald and mustard with a bit of fuchsia and some interesting decor pieces with Ikat and Bandhni prints. As unorthodox as it may sound, the space looked extremely vibrant with an unexpected twist”, she adds.

With this trend becoming popular by the day, a lot of designers have emerged in this segment to cater to the needs of the masses. While designers incorporate their personal style into their work, they also take inspiration from everyday things that the customers can also relate to.

“I’m inspired by India and her quirks, our culture, and simple elements that could go unnoticed. I also love to mix and match things and bring starkly different elements together seamlessly. From a cup of chai to street typography to nouveau art can be my muse”, says designer Nida Mahmood, who is often called the queen of Indian kitsch.

“There are a few trends to look out for at the moment a quirky printed wall covering can go well with simple under stated furniture. And if one loves to mix and match then mix different prints together. It’s fun to work with geometrics mixed with florals, like using a chevron bold wall paper that can be offset with beautiful botanical printed chairs”, she adds.

Another unique object that can be added to a room is a pouf a movable cushion that can act as a stool or a single seater. This piece could act as an accent piece in any room or can also be converted to a fun element, by covering them in bright colors, patch work upholstery or in different kinds of prints.

The trick with quirks is to fill the room with something simple and changeable, with pieces that can be easily moved around to work together as well as separates. It gives you multiple elements to play around with and gives the space a new and fresh look every day. All it takes is a new perspective and the right combination.

Veena Balakrishnan, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

A vintage elegance

 

 

The Victorian theme lends a grand look to the interiors of your home. For a sophisticated and classic look, opt for the Victorian theme for your home decor. This theme can be infused in several doses to impart opulence in layers in the various areas of the home.

The Victorian look can, at times, appear heavy because of a profusion of trimmings and fuss, but a contemporary twist can also make it suitable for modern living.

Design elements

You can begin with designing a stunning Victorian living room with arched windows and doorways, and double height French windows with heavy teak wood panelling. Keep the walls uncluttered. Instead of having a number of paintings, opt for a single one along with an antique wall clock, accentuating the look of the polished wood.

Tonal quality

Use rich, jewel-toned colours to accessorise, such as strong blues, deep reds and rich greens. Opt for floral prints for your wallpaper and for sofa upholstery.

Furniture flair

In the Victorian theme, furniture should be of mahogany or teak, with ornate carving and tables with marble tops. Use round or oval backs for your chairs.

Fabric factor

Even standard decorations are done in excess here, be it the fabrics reflecting elaborate patterns, walls covered with intricate and vibrant textures, large flowers in dark colours, or curtains the décor exudes extravagance that typified the era rich, heavy, and opulent.

Accent aura

Some of the characteristic features of this style are marble faux fireplaces, large chandeliers, heavy mirrors, stained glass and chinaware. These can be easily adapted to feature in a modern home.

Picture frames

Victorian picture frames are a great way to make the walls of your room look elegant. They can magically transform any corner. Victorian pictures frames are mostly of brass with varying finishes. Antique finish, copper finish and silver finish are some of the popular finishes for a frame.

Lampshades

Lampshades are elaborate, with brass and etched glass fittings. Glass featured elsewhere too in the form of decorative stained glass used as panels on front doors as well as for windows. Collections of antique dolls impart are very Victorian.

Chandeliers

Light up with Tiffany-style lamps, wrought iron or brass chandeliers and even heavy candelabra.

Living room

The living areas can have large vases with floral arrangements and plant stands with potted palms. Grecian busts and statues also go well with this theme.

Bedroom

For your bedroom, furnish it with huge pieces of furniture and beds with elaborate canopies or huge head and footboards. Opting for chests and almirahs that are large and ornately carved will complete the look.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Demonetisation slows down Chennai real estate sales

This fourth quarter saw a slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.
This fourth quarter saw a slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.
CHENNAI: The fourth quarter of the calendar year is usually the most hectic time when it comes to real estate sales in Chennai. With the festive season, fat Diwali bonuses, the auspicious day of Dhanteras, real estate developers usually see a lot of prospective home buyers queuing up.

This fourth quarter, however, saw a massive slowdown in real estate sales in Chennai with a 55% drop in housing units sold year-over-year.

In Q4 of 2016, only 757 units were sold compared to 1,673 units in the same period the previous year. Number of project launches in the city fell to 58 from 93 in the year ago period.

“Demonetisation has definitely impacted sales in Chennai. The cash crunch along with cyclone Vardah were a downer when it came to people taking decisions on property,” said Sridhar Srinivasan, managing director, Chennai, Cushman & Wakefield.

However, this is part of an overall trend in Chennai real estate market, which got exacerbated with the cash ban. For instance, the fourth quarter of 2013 saw a high of 2,554 units being sold. After which there has been a decline to 1,629 units in 2014 to 1,673 in 2015.

However, Cushman & Wakefield expects the phenomena to be temporary and won’t last beyond the new two quarters.

As to the “cash” or “black money” component of real estate sales, Srinivasan said this has not impacted mid-segment sales. “Middle-level housing units have seen a high impact. The high-end and luxury segment, which use a higher component of cheque vs cash, saw lesser impact. We are expecting this trend to continue for the next two-three quarter,” he said.

Mid-level housing units saw a 21% dip to 662 units in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 840 sold units in the comparable quarter last year. High-end units, however, saw sales nearly double to 91 in Q4, from 49 in the year-ago.
Another reason as to why transactions are being hit is because of stamp duty and registration fee that need to be paid at offices. Given the role of the “cash” component in property deed clearances, demonetisation has definitely thrown a wrench in the works.
For the full-year, the number of projects in 2016 dipped 24% to 57 from 75 last year. The number of housing units also dipped 21% to 6,419 from 8,174.