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  • Writer's pictureArcht. Ilmi Dissanayake

Are You Tight on a Budget for Your House Design? How to Construct in Phases and Save the Hassle


If you are tight on the budget for your house design project and thinking of constructing half of it, and maybe completing the rest of the house later on, when you have money, this article shows a case study on how you can construct in phases.


Constructing in phases will allow you to build and finish one part of the house as your budget allows, occupy it and then construct the rest of the house at a later stage, when you’re comfortable spending for it.


The Hidden House


In this article, we are looking at The Hidden House. The site is located in Kandy, Sri Lanka with a plot size of 13.7 perches and the client had his existing house at site.


The Client had a limited budget to undertake the project. Therefore, he intended to demolish the existing building and complete only half of the project. His idea was to build the other half of the project in future when he has adequate financing.


We have seen lots of projects where only the ground floor is partially built, and the first floor is not completed due to lack of funds. Looking at a house every day, that’s not completed will increase the stress of the owner. Due to these reasons, it is always advisable to complete the project within the budget.



So that, we suggested the client to undertake the project in two phases by segregating his brief into two parts. This will enable to complete and finish everything, including furniture and fixtures, belonging to the Phase 1. So that the client could also occupy the house without having to complete Phase 2. This would give a sense of completeness to the project at the end of each Phase and the client will have a sense of accomplishment.



The client agreed to proceed the project with two phases.


Phase 1

In phase one, we keep the existing building and construct 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a connecting bridge. So both buildings can function separately and the construction would not disrupt daily life.



Phase 2

In phase two, the existing building will be demolished and a living, dining, pantry, kitchen and a family living area will be introduced.



We developed the schematic design for the entire project and detailed the design according to the phases.


Since the site is located in Kandy area, it had its own issues created by the hilly topography of Kandy.


This land takes the form of a narrow strip of 9 meter width in the front which gets further narrowed when you move to the rear side.



The access road is at front and then the terrain of the land has a steep drop and then gradually drops further down where it meets a beautiful paddy field.



When designing in this land, the challenge was making use of the narrow view at the rear end of the site, while responding to the existing terrain.



The house was located by setting back 8 meters from the front road to keep road reservation, parking space, and a front garden.



When approaching the house, you would view it as a single-story house. The single height is more welcoming and friendly to the visitor.



You would know that it's a double story house and that it extends further, only when you're inside the living room. Therefore, we named it 'The Hidden House".



The open plan form and the double height of the interior visually connects the two living rooms at each floor and the dining with the front yard, the garden at the side and the paddy field at the rear end.



So the people in the living area can get a dynamic experience when living in this house.



The bedrooms are opening to narrow garden spaces with their own isolated views along with natural light and ventilation.





A unique view corridor looking at the paddy field at each floor, connects the living area with the bedrooms.



A retaining wall is done in rubble and the same rubble wall repeats at the same floor to match with the design.




We have further used exposed brick to add to the signature rustic aesthetics. Exposing material also helps in reducing construction cost. The minimal use of other materials has created a calm interior in the house.



If you would like to watch a walkthrough video of The Hidden House, click on the video below!




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