How to find some extra space in your home

How to find some extra space in your home


Are all your closets and drawers already way too occupied? Irrespective of how big your home is, some extra space is always a boon. Most homes overlook spaces that would be ideal for storage. Here’s how you can find that space in your home.

While growing up, weren’t you enticed by stories of secret nooks and hidden compartments in homes and attics mentioned in your favourite mystery books and movies?

These days, however, with living spaces in the city getting smaller, hidden spaces have become a necessity. They take care of the extra stuff and make your home appear clutter-free. Here are a few ways through which you can incorporate some secret storage spaces in your home. The target here is to utilise your visible space for storage without making it look like a storage space.

Raghav Kapur, Region Head – South India, SILA gives us a few hidden storage ideas:

Under the bed and headboard – With rolling bin and drawers, the area under the bed can be utilised for off-season clothes and footwear. The headboard too can be used for multi-storage purposes; above the toilet – Install a traditional medical cabinet or hang a wicker basket to store your towels or toiletries. Hang it right above the toilet seat;

Inside the cabinet doors – Install hooks on the inside of your cabinet doors, which can be used to hang utensils and measuring cups in the kitchens, cleaning supplies in the bathrooms and clothes in the bedroom;

Corner of the walls – The corners of walls are spaces that are usually overlooked. They can be capitalised on by adding a shoe rack, book table, or a cabinet for electronics. This can be done for every room in the house.

Gita Ramanan, Co-founder and Designer of Design Café helps us with the pros and cons of hidden storage spaces


You can hide valuables and important documents; an intelligent way to organise spaces and give the illusion of a clutter-free home; for families with children it helps store their toys and can also be utilised to keep a few things out of their reach.


Hidden spaces have to be customised into your furniture and may not meet the space expectations; they tend to be a bit unwieldy and might not be very handy in an emergency; you may end up cluttering the home in order to store more. Make a design plan and follow it to make your home look organised as well as attractive.

DIY ideas to create storage spaces


Use removable ply or drawers to make storage spaces under each step;

Tuck-into innovations

Use pullouts and pushaway furniture for those units, which don’t have high utility;

Furniture storage

Opt for storage ottomans and closet cradles to turn your functional items into storage spaces. You can also build a drawer under your dining table; this way all your cutlery items would be where you require them. You can also do this under you coffee/ centre-table and use it to store remote controls, magazines, etc;

Floating shelves

Incorporate floating shelves with drawers under them on one of the walls of the room. You can utilise the shelf to display books, artifacts or plants;

Wall cavities

Make sure you have all the permission required to make cavities in your wall. These cavities can be used to store a variety of things. Just add a photo frame over it to cover up the hole in the wall.

Slides next to the kitchen counter

A sliding vertical drawer next to the kitchen counter or kitchen can be used to store spices or utensils. A similar drawer next to the wardrobe can be used to store dupattas, neck ties, socks and much more.

Pooja Mahimkar, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Old is Gold – the bloom of OMR Chennai

Old is gold


Although the rise of OMR began more than a decade back, it seems that the growth of this stretch in the realty space is set to continue for a long time to come.

The IT boom in Chennai brought with it, apart from the numerous job opportunities, the bloom of OMR. In no time, the city had expanded into the outskirts and OMR transformed from a sleepy little stretch to the bustling area we know today.

The area that no one considered worth investing in, has today become the most sought after address in Chennai. With one of the best ecosystems in the city and good infrastructural development, the area has become one of the most sought after areas to invest in. According to Vidhyadharan G, General Manager at a home appliances showroom, the IT corridor has also given other business in the area, an opportunity to thrive. “With the floating population as well as a huge number of people looking to settle down here, businesses have hit the jackpot. Also, the disposable income has been a major factor in the enhancement of the economic development of the area,” says Vidhyadharan G, General Manager at a home appliances showroom.

The real estate industry has benefitted most from recent developments. The demand has been quite high in the past five years and has been led mainly by tech corporates, media, infrastructure, real estate, logistics and BFSI firms. “The 45km long Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) stretch, also known as the IT corridor, is witnessing heightened real estate activity in the Rs 40-80 lakh price bracket due to the establishment of various IT business parks and dedicated SEZs in this region. OMR continues to thrive among home buyer’s attention with around 35,000 units launched over the past 5 years. The average capital values of OMR are between Rs 3,500-5,900/sft,” says Santhosh Kumar, Vice-Chairman for a well-known property consulting firm.

It is not just the demand for buying property that has seen a major boom, there is also a huge demand for residential spaces on rent. Bachelors choose to rent apartments with friends and colleagues instead of buying an apartment. “I relocated to OMR about a year back when a friend needed a flatmate and asked me to move into his house. Not only did it cut down the travelling time by half, I also get more space and more amenities for the same amount I was paying in R A Puram and there are so many people like me who moved to OMR for the cost benefits,” says Karthik Kumar, an IT professional. And it goes without saying that there is no dearth of residential spaces put up for rent in the area. “For many home owners, buying a second home here was an investment and they choose to give it out on rent to people working in the area. And plus, the rent is not as high as other areas, so it is a win-win,” says Sundar Kumar, an HR consultant.

The growing population in the area has led to whopping investments in residential projects in the area and a steady infrastructural development of the area. IT parks, arterial roads, schools, hospitals, parks, shopping malls, movie theatres, play grounds, hotels, restaurants, resorts, recreational facilities and a bus terminus have brought about a slew of residential facilities that can boast of being the best in the city. With all amenities available at an arm’s length, social infrastructure has come a long way from what it was a few years back. Even within gated communities, most developers offer amenities like health clubs, sports facilities, supermarkets etc, so that residents don’t need to travel far for basic needs. OMR has grown into a well-planned suburb sought after by everyone.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Feng Shui prosperity vibes

Feng Shui prosperity vibes


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

Points to consider before investing in a villa

Points to consider before investing in a villa

An independent house was what K Sathya Anand was looking for, and hence the villa at Thalambur was his best option.

There are many points to be considered before investing in a house. There is no rulebook dictating these guidelines since it will vary according to the personal choices of a person. For example, a person who loves the company of neighbours and prefers the amenities, which are provided within various apartment complexes, would choose to buy a flat that is located in a building, among other houses.

But for some, like K Sathya Anand, the Vice-President of a global financial technology company, it is essential to have some space around the house. He was not too comfortable with living in an apartment, in a building. So he opted to buy an independent home in Navalur.

He purchased a villa in Thalambur, in December 2017. “We wanted to live in a place that was not too cramped. And we wanted a good amount of space around it, and that’s why this villa perfectly fit the bill. Both, my children and parents now have enough space. Kids have the space to play. The house is well ventilated and well-lit. All these were driving factors behind the investment,” he says.

He wanted to buy a house in a place where there was no water logging. He also ensured that the roads in the particular area were wide. “Besides, this place is a serene spot. There is so much of green cover in the neighbourhood,” he adds.

The 4-BHK house costs approximately Rs 4,000 per sqft. He believes that the decision to buy a home should be well-thought and people should not rush to purchase a property. He advises, “Check and assess your finances, only then purchase a house. Have some savings left in the bank and do not put all your money in one place.”

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

The property gamble: Making it yield good returns

K Sathya Anand bought his first house in Perumbakkam because he strongly felt that investing there would always yield good returns.

Homes have always been a great form of investment. Rarely does it depreciate or fail to yield good returns. It was this aspect of homebuying that appealed to K Sathya Anand. Nearly a decade ago, at the age of 41, he purchased his first house and had expected a good return on his investment.

“Conventional forms of saving do not yield good returns. Take fixed deposits – it doesn’t provide enough returns that would help sustain you, especially in an age where the cost of living keeps increasing. The returns increase in proportion to the inflation. If the cost of living increases, so will the rental income,” says Anand, the Vice-President of a global financial technology company.

Elaborating on why he purchased a 3-BHK flat in Perumbakkam, he says, “We wanted to buy a house that was in close proximity to OMR because there would be good returns in terms of rent there. This house fulfilled all the criteria, and it is also close to other important industrial parks and offices. Our house is located within a villa community, which has a serene and calm environment.”

Though he expected good returns, he opines that the price of the apartment has not appreciated much in the last 10 years. “I expected a good return on my investment. However, that does not seem likely. Having bought the house at Rs 3500 per sqft, it has only appreciated to Rs 4,100 per sqft. And if I intend to sell to potential buyers, they would expect a discount. In the process, I wouldn’t get a good return,” says Anand, adding, “This was the only thing that I did not foresee.”

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Making Chennai brave the weather Editor

The flat terrain of Chennai demands that we find efficient ways to tackle the rainy season and the flood it brings with it. The city is not Monsoon ready though.

Come monsoon, and the city of Chennai is seen grappling with various problems – the most glaring one among them being infrastructure that, at times, cannot handle even short spells of rain. The consequences of these issues include stagnant water and flooded houses that lead to other problems like water borne diseases or sanitation issues.

While the city receives rainfall every now and then, the crucial question remains if the city is prepared for the rainfall. Kiran Rajashekariah, an expert in urban policy and planning, explains “This year the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted normal rainfall, which means there will be a little more than average amount of rainfall. The cities, including Chennai, need to prepare for the monsoon. The problem is our arrangements (solutions) are on ad-hoc basis. We come up with temporary solutions to resolve the problems. This should not be the case.”

Nalas to the rescue

The problem lies not in excess rains or for that matter even average rains. The lack of sound drainage system is one of the problems that leads to the flooding of roads. But that is not all. Rajashekariah elaborates: “Chennai is a city that is on a lower elevation, a few feet above sea level. So, the chances of flooding are higher. Restoring natural drains, often referred to as nalas, should be the foremost priority, which will be a long-term solution. Wetlands, in the natural topography, act as a sponge which absorb and store water. Due to rapid urbanisation and the resulting change of land use, they have been encroached upon, and destroyed. Also, roads are designed in such a way that the water will not percolate into the ground. All that needs to change.”

The city on the other hand is trying to cope up with the rainy season by making a few improvements.

He strongly insists that effective maintenance of the four major waterways, 30 canals that run through the city, and the numerous temple ponds, is imperative for the safety of the city.

The ISWD project is one of the ambitious plans of the government but there are reports that indicate it could be delayed by another few months.

According to Shaju Thomas, Director, Office Services (Chennai) at Colliers International India, “This means that the city may not actually be ready to face what the northeast showers could bring about. While a lot of plans are being thought about, including construction of missing storm water drain links, desilting tank beds and the like; one is yet to see action on ground. Apart from the government, there are a lot of things the common man should ensure as well,” he says and adds, “Free flowing drains get choked with garbage that gets dumped irresponsibly. There are many cases of unfinished storm water drains ending up as garbage dumpyards and one that stands out is on the Velachery-Taramani bypass road, where thanks to increased retail activity and disregard for the ecosystem, citizens of the city continue to dump just about anything. The area has always been known to be low-lying, which requires to be treated with extreme care.”

A Shankar, Coo, Strategic Consulting (India And Sri Lanka), JLL India, Says, A detailed project report had been prepared in 2016, for Kosasthalaiyaru, Cooum, Adyar and Kovalam basin for a length of 1069 kilometres at a total cost of Rs 4034.30 crore

This forms part of activities planned under Phase 1 of the Integrated Storm Water Drain (ISWD) project for improvement of the basins.

Improvement activities under this project and projects such as the Chennai Mega City Development Mission, covering other extended areas and the core city must be expedited.

Considering that the city is prone to floods and cyclones attributed to rapid development, it is vital that the initiatives to prevent these calamities, be progressive and planned to keep up with the pace of developmental activities.

source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

PROPERTY RETURN FORM-1-2018 – Property tax self declaration form Chennai Corporation

Property tax self declaration form Chennai 2018 is available

Click here to view the form and download






Property tax in Coimbatore higher than in Chennai


With the revision of property tax in the state, tax payers in Coimbatore corporation will be paying higher tax for their buildings than those in Chennai.

“The revised property tax might be appropriate for buildings in Chennai corporation, but it definitely is not appropriate for those in Coimbatore,” said K Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Forum.

During 2008, civic bodies other than Chennai corporation revised property tax not extending up to 25% of the existing slab for residential buildings, up to 100% for industrial buildings and up to 150% for commercial buildings, he said, explaining that Chennai corporation last revised property tax during 1998.

Though the land value is higher in Chennai, building owners from other parts of the state are paying higher tax than those in Chennai, he said.

“For instance, if a building owner in Chennai is paying Rs 2,000 as property tax until revision, we have been paying Rs 2,500.” He explained that now the tax amount has been increased to Rs 3,000 for the building owner in Chennai and to Rs 3,750 for people elsewhere.

“Why should we pay a higher amount,” Kathirmathiyon asked.

Former counsellors said that if the local body council had been in place, such a thing would not have happened.

The hike is exorbitant, C Padmanabhan, a former counsellor, said. The civic body, without knowing how to manage funds, has spent lavishly. “How will the civic body have funds if they privatise all projects?” he said.

The state government in general recommends that the civic body hike the tax up to a certain point and during the discussion at the council meet the exact hike percentage per building type would be decided, said S M Samy, former counsellor.

Since there is no council this year, civic body officials had accepted the government recommendations without any discussion, he added.

Source: Economic Times, Chennai

Alwarthirunagar – The residence of serenity


With the best of social infrastructure and amenities, this area is the ideal destination for home-buyers.

Chennai has seen real estate boom that has resulted in the development of many areas. And Alwarthirunagar is one such place.

Located between two busy localities, Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, it is a quieter locality with developed social infrastructure and amenities.

Alwarthirunagar, in close proximity to these areas, too reaped the benefits of the development. It saw a lot of real estate growth in the 1990s.

Located between Valasaravakkam and Virugambakkam, many residents choose the area to escape the dense population of the adjoining areas, while simultaneously having access to good infrastructure.

Residents of Alwarthirunagar have access to all the facilities and developed parts. There are emerging high streets very close to the area with several prominent brands.

Also, it is in close proximity to the IT hub at Porur. With several employees from the place renting out in the area, Alwarthirunagar has proven to be a good investment for home-buyers.

Areas around Alwarthirunagar include Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam, Virugambakkam, Ashok Nagar, KK Nagar and Porur. It is easily connected to the rest of the city.

The neighbourhood has reputed English convent schools, private speciality hospitals and clinics, super market chains among other social infrastructure.

A few years ago, a huge mall opened nearby which has all the big retail brands besides having a huge multiplex and several restaurant joints.

source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Metro rail track-laying in North Chennai by end of year


As the construction of the 9km metro rail corridor in North Chennai is progressing in full swing, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has started preliminary work to lay ballastless tracks required for the operation of metro trains. The 9km Phase 1 extension line between Washermenpet and Wimco Nagar is expected to be ready by March 2020.

“We have floated tenders for both MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and for track work. We are expecting to start track work before the end of this year,” a metro rail official said.

The extension line in North Chennai includes a 2km underground section connected by two stations and a 7km elevated stretch linked through six stations. Once the line is ready, commuters from north Chennai can travel to several localities in the city that are connected by metro rail network.

Work for the extension line in north Chennai was launched in 2016. Towards the end of 2017, construction of two tunnels along a 2km stretch from Washermenpet to Korukkupet was completed. Soon after, work began for construction of the elevated corridor and is still under way.

CMRL is also constructing the elevated maintenance depot at Wimco Nagar. A tender was recently floated to find a company that can supply, install and commission electrical and mechanical systems at the depot. Metro rail is expecting to get these systems in place within a period of 18 months.

Source: The Times of India, Chennai