Outhouses have returned back to home exterior

Some time back in the 1980s and 1990s, inclinations or small houses made outside the main home was quite common. It was called outhouse, or ‘Chayppu’ in Malayalam. When construction cost and land cost mounted too much, people started avoiding these external attachments to save both money and space. But during Covid season, many people started reminiscing about their outhouses (‘Chayppu’) which was once a part of Kerala household.

Re-entry of outhouses (Chayppu) in Kerala household

A small building, near to main house within the compound with a bathroom attached bedroom would have made things easy for quarantine period, where many people would have been benefitted. It’s also a nice option for reading, gathering with friends or family members or a space where one can stay in isolation if he wants. Now many people add an outhouse to their home construction plan. Thus, outhouse which was ‘out’ of home plans is ‘in’ in new plans, with the aim to provide space for guests or family members in quarantine, in case needed.

Points to be noted while constructing outhouses (Chayppu)

1. When you draw the plan outhouse, the entry point /door should never be from inside of main home. It should never affect the privacy of members of the home.

2. As it’s an isolated place, it’s better to provide outhouse as a separate entity within the compound. You can construct the outhouse near to garden, well or car porch.

3. If you want to construct an outhouse in terrace, provide separate entry point to it, and separate stairs.

4. Use cost-effective materials for its construction. If you are building a new home, you can also use materials like bricks, windows, doors etc from old home. You can also make use of old furniture, beds and curtains too.

5. If you plan it perfect, outhouses can provide you good storage spaces too. A space for ironing, reading, storage space for old books and less used home equipment, gardening tools, garage tools etc can be provided. But never make it a garbage space. Cleaning the space gives headache too. Instead closed spaces for storage is the better option.

6. You can use this space for your creativity purposes like stitching, tailoring, writing, painting, embroidery etc.

7. If your home is near to any tourist spot, you can use this space for providing home stay to tourists. For that, you should keep this space neat and beautify your interior.

8. You can also modify this space to workspace too, in future if needed. It can also used for the homestay of maids and workers.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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