Inspired by Sourabh Phadke, we decided to build a mud and stone structure for our residence. We decided to start small and hired a local labour contractor to build a 2 room structure. We used laterite stone from a quarry nearby and local mud, with mangalore tiles on wood for a roof.
With that in place, the logical next step was to experiment with natural alternatives for internal finishes as well as the furniture. The option was to again hire the labour contractor … or start taking baby steps ourselves. We decided to set a date, throw in a few tools, a few friends, and loads of experimentation!
The plan was to build a bed, a cupboard, a table and a window sitout. Basic building blocks … laterite stone blocks, bricks, kadappa slabs and mud mortar. We lost time to delays, plus I had underestimated the building and learning process … we ended up with only a partly built cupboard and a partly built window sitout. But the learning was outstanding!
We learnt how to prepare mud mortar (we truly appreciated the versatility of lateritic soil for building purposes), we learnt masonry basics - plumb, line, role of mortar, etc, we learnt how to cut kadappa with a power tool.
And we had fun :) On the job, as well as off it. Be it splashing mud on each other, going for early morning birding walks, or musical evenings!
And we walked away with the confidence to pull off more of this. Coming up next … more such furniture, mud plastering of internal walls, flooring, outdoor tank.
Anand Manjrekar … Interior Designer, perfectionist, music aficionado.
Kalpana Dumale … Ex banker, kids’ favorite, birding enthusiast
Milind Ghadigaonkar … maverick biker, musician (Ukulele), Jazz singer, generally happy soul.
Dev (9yrs) and Vaidehi (8yrs) … revelling in the generous attention of the participants and generally having a good time
Shubhra … administrator par excellence, Miss-reality-check
Mangesh … our tribal farmhand and ‘expert’ adviser
Shreesh Ponkshe (Yours truly) … the ever ready student.