During his 14-year-long career as an architect, Joseph Mathew from Pathanamthitta in Kerala accumulated many ideas for his dream home.

Most people would focus on how aesthetically pleasing the house must be, but Joseph wanted his dream home to be sustainable and cost-effective.

In 2015, Joseph started to work on his dream project and it took him five years to bring his ideas to reality. “I took my own sweet time and finished it step by step,” says the 51-year-old.

In 2020, his home ‘Vettethethu House’, sprawling across 4,500 sq ft of area in Pathanamthitta, was ready to move in.

To make his home cost-effective, he used upcycled wood, roof tiles, and even stones sourced from two old demolished schools.

“Almost 8,000 roof tiles have been sourced from both schools along with the wood, and around 45 loads of stones from there have been used to build walls in the house,” he informs.

About 95 percent of the house is made from upcycled materials including the doors, windows, and even pieces of furniture.

The two-storeyed house has two bedrooms, a living room, a dining space, a kitchen, and a store room on the ground floor.

The big windows installed throughout the house, the courtyard, and also the truss work ceiling helps the interior to remain cool always. “We haven’t installed ACs as we don’t feel the heat even in summer,” he says.

He has also set up a rainwater harvesting system with a capacity of 35,000 litres.

The cost of building the house including the interiors was Rs 80 lakh. “I think constructing a conventional concrete house of this size would cost a minimum of around Rs 1.2 crore,” says Joseph.