Thursday, 18 September 2014

Making it happen: A Contemporary Kitchen made in lime mortar!


Designing a house for a marwari joint family, one of the biggest challenges was the need for incorporating a large kitchen and wash, a kitchen that was to be used by the ladies of the house as well as their helpers. It had to be modern, contemporary state of the art, like most of their relatives living  in the posh south Delhi colonies was the brief given to us.

There were two adjacent rooms, one was now being used as a store and office, while the inner room was almost cordoned off as it was in a severe state of structural distress with a large crack and risen floor as well as several cracks on the walls. We set out on the task of joining up these rooms to make the kitchen and wash area, there was a lot of work required beginning with firstly structurally strengthening the structure, relaying the lime concrete flooring, repairing the cracks and then retrofitting it with modern amenities. The most difficult part was agreeing on the design, which changed at least 7 times as the owner and his wife didnt seem to agree on how they wanted the kitchen to function, finally we put our foot down and decided it for them.
October 2010, Room No 1 was used as a store cum office
October 2010 Room No 2 was ridden with structural problems like risen floors, rising damp and distress


October 2010 Distress in jack arches and walls was evident

October 2010 Rising damp upto 4 feet was common across both the rooms

October 2013 Cement Plaster was carefully pealed back to reveal the original masonry


October 2013 The variations and previous repairs in the masonry were now recorded on the drawings
Nov 2013, The Distressed Lime Concrete Floor was carefully taken down, the sub floor was completely damp

Nov 2013 The ground was cleared and levelled and compacted and the masonry was consolidated
Dec 2013 The floor compacted with old bricks, old lime plaster and thoroughly compacted 
Dec 2013 Almost 5 inches of lime concrete was required to be laid
Dec 2013 Coarse Aggregate and Lime Mortar is mixed with hand into a smooth consistency

Dec 2013 Finally a smooth layer of the floor was laid
Dec 2013 Slowly the floor begins to dry simultaneously the electrical conduits have been put in
January 2014 The Lime Concrete Floor begins to gain strength over 3 weeks of curing 

February 2014 Room No 1: The first coat  of lime plaster on the kitchen walls
February 2014 Room No 2: The first coat of lime plaster on kitchen walls 

May 2014 After the second coat of plaster, the kitchen begins to take shape after the counter and partitions are erected. All the work in this kitchen has been undertaken in lime mortar
July 2014 Especially hand crafted replicas of historic tiles were made locally at Khurja to complement the vocabulary of the classical kitchen in a historic building. All tiles have been fixed with "home made" lime mortar and the use of cement has been completely avoided.
July 2014 Merging the contemporary needs of modular kitchens with the historic ambience was challenging, the choice of material was hugely critical
July 2014 A closer look at our hand made tiles sourced locally
August 2014: Work in progress, lime as a material requires a lot of patience so we need for it to dry and gain its strength while the modular kitchen guy is manufacturing the stainless steel trolleys

September 2014 the woodwork in the kitchen taking shape

September 2014 The marble flooring is now laid as per the design and ready to be polished
Oct 2014 The Kitchen taking shape, the modular kitchen emerges with modern fittings and woodwork


Oct 2014 Built in ovens incorporated within the design of the kicthen
October 2014 Contemporary switches which are compatible with the historic ambience of the kitchen
November 2014 The woodwork is slowly taking shape
November 2014 The floor is now ready and polishing begins
December 2014 Another colossal task of polishing the wood begins
December 2014 Its a mess as all the pull out drawers and shutters are stacked to dry in the damp weather

December 2014 we choose from an array of options what should be our perfect handle
January 2015 We inch closer to completion, the handles are fixed, shutters polished
January 2015 We are almost there, the glass is fixed
January 2015 Locally made textured glass adorns the windows
January 2015 The lights are up, the kitchen is now ready to be officially inaugurated on an auspicious day
May 2015: 5 years later we have a fully functional modern kitchen in a Grade II listed building

May 2015: The spatial relationships enhanced by the choice of finished

May 2015: Finally in use!

May 2015: Finally in use!

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